Miles Hiked: 28.1
Total Milage: 1150.4
Location: Bear Lake
This morning I woke up around 5am and relaxed until 5:30. I slowly and quietly packed up my things and was the first person to leave camp around 6am. I love being the first one on the trail in the morning. I absolutely love hiking alone and taking some time to wake up and appreciate the hiking before I start to feel exhausted and sore. I always feel like I have a burst of energy in the morning compared to after 11am. Today was the summer solstice and also hike naked day! I wanted to hike naked before I started running in to tons of people. I ended up passing so many tents first thing in the morning that I didn’t hike naked at all. There have been so many days on this trail that I don’t see anyone except for my hiking partners but of course we were in one of the most popular sections today! I still stopped to take a naked picture when I was confident that no one would be around. I think hike naked day is so goofy and fun to mess around with. I didn’t end up seeing anyone of the 50 hikes I passed going to opposite direction hiking naked. I thought I’d see at least one person participating but maybe everyone else who did hike naked just did it for an hour in the morning! I usually hike in pants and long sleeves and I know I would have been so sun burnt if I was naked for a long time! I was actually holding on to some extra sun screen in case I ended up using it for hike naked day.
Today was one of my favorite days of hiking minute the fact that my body was incredibly sore. I started out the morning by going over Searle Pass and then walking through an exposed valley to Kokomo Pass. After Kokomo Pass I descended to another valley where I walked along a dirt road and then followed a trail to cross the highway. Before the highway I took a lunch break 14 miles in to the day. I cooked some mashed potatoes and put some buffalo hot sauce chips in it. While I was enjoying lunch near a small stream 12 pack caught up to me. It was nice to see one of my hiking partners after some alone time this morning. After I crossed the highway I found out that both Free Fall and Hummingbird passed 12 Pack and I while we were eating lunch. Instead of taking the trail, they continued on the road. When I caught up to Free Fall at Tennessee pass trailhead I took another break. It was 2pm and we only had 10 more miles to go! When we hiked out of Tennessee Pass, I noticed the air getting smoky. Eventually small pieces of ash were raining down from the sky. We ran into a northbound hiker who let us know that the smoke was from a nearby wildfire. When we entered Mount of the Holy Cross wilderness I took another break at the sign. The mosquitos started swarming 12 Pack, Free Fall, and I while we were sitting down. I thought I found a spray bottle of bug spray in the register box so we all sprayed it on ourselves but when it was my turn I realized it was sunscreen and not big spray. I thought it was funny. Right before camp we had a short steep climb. I was really tired after such a long day. Having a climb at the end is hard. The sky looked so eerie with all the smoke. We found a camping spot near bear lake. I made some more potatoes for dinner. I was so happy to be done hiking. I haven’t hiked a long day in a while so I was absolutely exhausted.