Day 92 – 98 Middle of Colorado

Day 92

Kinda weird town day. Slow start on account of waking up in a bed and not really wanting to leave. Took a bus to Frisco and met up with Quickdraw in town. And said goodbye, as she’s getting off trail in Monarch pass in 130 ish miles and is going to do some side quest hikes prior to that. So I’m not going to see her on trail again.

The rest of the day was just going to and from Dillon to go to REI. And of course, resupplying. But for the effort, I have new base layers and a working water filter. And new shoes that I sent ahead to Monarch Pass. Which I’m very much looking forward to as my current ones hurt my feet a bit.

In the evening, I got back to Copper Mountain to hike back out…. a mile.

Day 93

Pretty cold night. I was hoping that picking up base layers for hiking and sleeping would provide one toasty warm night before going back to tolerably warm. Part of the issue is probably just needing a midnight snack; I’m usually ok for the first few hours but then end up hungry and somewhat cool around 3 am or so.

Theme for the morning: frozen bridges

Hiked over a couple small passes and back down. Other than last night’s hail and a fair bit of mud it wasn’t especially unusual hiking. Which isn’t unwelcome; after last night I’m more motivated to get south as soon as possible.

New pass, new view!


Not sure what I was expecting when I got to the valley road but it wasn’t this.


Sightseeing at the Camp Hale rifle range

Finished dinner and just barely avoided a small rainstorm as I lay in my tent writing. Always satisfying.

Day 94

Apparently, Brock and Hana had a mouse incident last night and had to patch their tent. Luckily enough for me, my tent was unmolested.

The green tunnel. Now with aspens.

Hiking today was something of green tunnel, ie just seeing trees all day. A small ridge but otherwise many, many trees. It was relatively easy.

DIY signage?



Though at one point I had managed to trip and hurt my thumb. A (hopefully) minor case of skier’s thumb which I’ve gotten previously from bike crashes. Surprisingly annoying injury. It feels significantly better now than earlier in the day so hopefully it’s a non-issue soon.

…now with matching holes and bloodstains?

Day 95

Thumb mostly feels better. Still mildly noticeable but I can use my right hand normally again.

Twin Lakes chief sheriff, Sgt. Manny Quin

Early start to the day around 7 got us into Twin Lakes fairly early, around 9:30. First day hiking where I’ve noticed the leaves on the aspens starting to change. Ran into Kismet and Beekeeper as they headed out of town. It sounds like I’ll see them in Salida as they’re planning on zeroing there.

Watch your step?

Twin lakes itself had a nice little store that had a discount for CDT hikers as well as free tea. They were very nice there and it worked as a resupply stop. There wasn’t much to the town aside from the store, though.

Hope Pass, not shown: the 40 mph headwind.

Long climb out of town up a pass. Very steady climb except for the top which was extremely windy. One of the gusts blew me off the trail; fortunately, not in a technical section.

Landscaping project for the evening.

Day 96

Entered the collegiate mountains today. Had a number of views going over the pass for the day. Anticipating more tomorrow as I’ll be ridge walking for a decent chunk of the day.

Wilderness area #84. Maybe. I do feel like I should be counting, though.

After leaving this morning I didn’t see anyone aside from a few day hikers and weekenders. Took a couple fairly long breaks. One for lunch and another to wait out a family of moose that were snacking near the trail. Eventually, they moved on.



Awkward teen, approaching from behind.


Dad. Also approached from behind. Though I ran away instead of taking a picture.

Kinda jarring encounter. Twice ended up realizing that in addition to the moose(s) in front of me there was first a large calf then a bull moose behind me.

Short days. Dinner by headlamp is the new normal.

Day 97

Cold morning. Probably the norm for the rest of Colorado and probably the entire trail. Something of a slow start, too, though I did end up getting the miles I wanted in, so the lazy start wasn’t an issue. I had camped alone for the first time in awhile and slept in slightly. Also, sleeping in is now considered… 6:45.

The ridge for the day.

The only people I really interacted with all day was a couple mountain bikers who I kept leapfrogging. I’d pass them on the climbs and get caught somewhere on the descent.

Trail type #8 – packed talus and scree.

Decided to try to make it to town tomorrow. I need to get to the pass before the store closes in order to pick up my packages. Shoes, microspikes, medication, and of course, food. If I can’t get there in time I may as well pull up short and hike a short day and go in the following morning. The local camping options don’t seem promising, though.

Probably the loudest, clumsiness, flying bird I’ve ever seen. Several of its brethren surprised the hell out of me with their launch.

Day 98

March into town today.  Starting with a rails to trail path through the valley.  Easy but very cold as I walked along looking longingly at the sun hitting the ridge.

The ‘Alpine Tunnel’ track, I think.

Suddenly I have an urge to play Railway Empire.  Daydreaming of computer games isn’t too unusual but that’s the first time it’s come up while hiking.

Some history placards along the trail. Snowplow tryouts!

Past some more mining relics and warnings.

Between this and Camp Hale ordnance, thru hiking has a higher risk of… explosion… than I initially thought.

And an aid station?  Evidently the nearby lake was being treated to remove invasive species and the water wasn’t safe to drink.

I understand why this was there. Doesn’t stop it from looking really bizarre off in the middle of nowhere though.

Ran into Beekeeper and Kismet at the top of the last climb before Salida and again at Monarch Pass itself.  Their friend who was picking them up had space for me in the car so that was pretty awesome.  The last five or so miles were a bit of a slog across a ski area.  Quite hot, which was a change of pace.

Staying in a hostel tonight and meeting up with the others at an airbnb tomorrow.   Looking forward to the day off.

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