Day 57-60 Breckenridge to Gray’s Peak
Day 57 June 26th Over the Mountain to Breckenridge
One fairly large climb over the mountain from the town of Copper Mountain into the town of Breckenridge. I camped 4 miles from the town, slept in until 5:15, and made my way down into Copper Mountain. I was first in line at Starbucks, though I had to tell some young kids I was there first. Somehow the bathroom didn’t have soap but otherwise decent start to my day.
The climb up towards Breckenridge was pretty straightforward. There weren’t any scrambles so the pace was decent and I felt like I was making good time. Once I get to the top of the mountain it was extremely windy, but the views were incredible. I kept thinking that all my Edina friends pay a good amount of money every winter to ski down this, and here I am hiking up it.
I had to walk along the ridgeline for a while, but there wasn’t anything really sketchy. Once I started heading down there was more snow, but it was either avoidable or the path was well worn enough for the path to be good.
I ended up missing a turn at some point which got me frustrated, but I was still making good time and on target to be in my hostel for check-in.
The free bus in town has a stop a mile from the trail. I jumped on the green bus and was downtown in a few minutes. I grabbed a large salad, large pizza, and a Dr. Pepper at Fatty’s Pizza. I could have eaten it all, but I saved 3 slices for tomorrow.
I started at the Fireside Inn, which is a super nice hostel in Breckenridge. They did my laundry while I did a couple errands and cleaned out emails. I spent the rest of the night chatting with my wife and planning the next week.
I did my resupply via Walmart delivery. It worked out well enough and probably kept me from over-buying extra food. I was dialed in during the last stretch, so we’ll see how this part goes.
Day 58 June 27th Leaving Breckenridge aka Edina West
Breckenridge is a super posh town. It looks like an American’s interpretation of a Bavarian village, with houses no one can afford. For breakfast I finished off the box of Captain Crunch berries I bought the night before and the half gallon milk. An hour later I made my way over to the coffee place the host recommended. Coffee was pretty good, not amazing, and I had some sort of berry toast. So like avocado toast but with berries and a ton of granola. It’s pretty good.
I took the bus out of town back to where I got off the trail. You walk through some low rise condominium-type buildings. That I assume are all vacation rentals of some kind. Then you work your way up a number of switchbacks in and away from town.
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. The route I had planned was pretty short at least shorter than I’ve normally gone. That was because there’s a pretty long ridge walk that doesn’t have water or a good place to camp. So I figured there was no point to going to that if I couldn’t get beyond it.
Then I changed plans at the last minute and actually took a deviation that would leave me around the ridgeline. I’m not sure what the conditions are like up there since none of the FarOut posts are from this year, and this year’s snowfall is much larger than last.
It took me a while to find a good campsite and the one I did find was just so so. Made some ramen and texted the wife that I’d called it a day.
Day 59 June 28th Up and Down Mountains
Today was a tough day. I was planning on 25-mile days over the next 5 days to be able to make Grand Lake. But today I was only able to get 14 or so. The climbs were tough. There were basically no switchbacks, and the descents were hardly any better. They were very steep and or rocky. There was a little bit of snow, but for the most part that wasn’t the problem.
I did end up post-holing for about 50 yards, but that was about it. The terrain was just slow. Then I camped and a pretty high altitude with the plan of summiting two mountains tomorrow, one, Grays is the highest elevation on the CDT.
I don’t think I’ll make any big miles tomorrow either I’ll be happy if I can summon grays and then find a good place to camp afterwards.
The trail will cross Highway 70 in about 30 or so miles so if I need to get more food or want to take a break I should be able to get a ride out of there. Hitching on the highway can be difficult, but I heard there’s an Uber.
I brought enough food for 5 days, and I probably could squeeze it out to 6, but that would be stretching it. I think there’s a couple of resorts on the way and often they sell junk food that can help supplant my food supply.
Day 60 June 29th Half Way
Not going to lie yesterday was not a great day. I beat myself up about the progress I made. I ended up camping in a place that worked out pretty well but left me a little bit nervous. It was high in pretty exposed just flat enough and I did my best to find good protection, but it wasn’t optimal.
Plus I knew today was going to be challenging. The route ran on a ridgeline that, from a distance, looked impossible. So I was freaking myself out before I really started.
I intentionally woke up late. Not like normal person late, but like Jon Carter on the Trail late. So I left camp at about 6:00 and the visibility was about 20 yards maybe less. The good news is I really only see it about 10 ft in front of me and even then I’m happy if I can just see my feet.
Finding the trail on a ridgeline’s pretty easy. You walk up to the park where if you kept walking would fall off, then you walk along that edge either up to the next peak or down to the next Ridgeline. Basically you don’t need a map or compass.
So my morning was spent going up to either 12,500 or 13,000 ft and down to 11,000 along a path that from a distance you wouldn’t believe possible. But up close there was mostly plenty of space.
There was a small stretch that required a good bit of scrambling down the rocks, but even then, it was more slow than dangerous. There was a few spots that still had snow, but I was more comfortable walking in that than in some of the rocks that would slide around.
And the culmination of the days work would be climbing the tallest peak on the CDT, Grays Peak. According to Wikipedia, Grays Peak is the tenth-highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and the U.S. state of Colorado. The prominent 14,278-foot (4352 m) fourteener is the highest summit of the Front Range and the highest point on the Continental Divide and the Continental Divide Trail in North America.
As you know, I’m not here to ‘bag 14ers,’ but I didn’t want to skip this climb. And while the two and a half days leading up to this weren’t my favorite and pushed me to the edge of my hiking experience, eating Cheetos on top of the mountain felt pretty darn good.
There was a very long climb down that ended with an intersection with Interstate 70. I used that opportunity for an Uber ride into Dillon, Colorado. I grabbed a room at the Super 8, a meal at Subway, and some snacks at 7-11.
My Super 8 was more of a mediocre 8, but it’s cheap and decently located.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 2 months but here we are. I think instead of writing a little bit here I’ll do a separate post about my feelings about only having two months left.
Thanks again for reading, It really means a lot. I hope you find this entertaining, and I really hope that encourages you to try something new.
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