|Jack and Sara|
Leaving Silverthorne took a while. Since we were meeting Sara's parents at Grand Lake (just outside Rocky Mountain National Park) there was no benefit to rushing out of there only to get to our next place and wait around. So we decided to hit up the dollar menu on our way out of town. Apparently dollar burgers do not help when trying to climb up out of a town to a
|Above Lake Ann in the Collegiate Peak Wilderness|
pass while carrying fully loaded packs. We felt rather lazy anyway that day, so we managed seven or so miles then opted to camp just beyond Ptarmigan pass.
|Sara's sister sent us wine|
|One of the really scary marmots|
Later that day we climbed James Peak, which was just over 1330', and then had an awesome walk on the CDT again. In case you have not noticed, we enjoy walking on the ridges. We were able to camp somewhat legally(?) at Rollins Pass at the entrance to Indian Peak Wilderness. We had a gorgeous sunset, no wind, and woke up to elk grazing outside the tent at sunrise.
|Push-ups below Hope Pass|
|Hiking a sweet ridge edge|
Our last full day of this stretch we put in some miles. It helped that we dropped down to a measly 9,000' and had flat, well groomed trail, but we still pushed it. Late in the day we hit Monarch Lake, which by dem-bones logic is connected to the Granby Lake, which is connected to the Shadow Mountain lake, which is connected to the Grand Lake. And all of these aquatic appendages are connected to Lake Powell by the Colorado River. We had the great realization that when we urinate it flows down to where our friends get to guide river trips on it. Anyway, all these lakes have more water than Arizona.
|Climbing the trail|
With only 10 miles to go the next morning we slept in before tackling the blow-downs on Knight Ridge. The bark beetle has completely ravaged this area so any wind that comes through creates a nightmare for trail crews, fire fighters and hikers being chased by bears. This section was supposed to be incredibly bad, so I took more weight in the pack since I can steeple chase most fallen logs and this allowed Sara to nimbly pole vault over the worst of them. In many areas there were three or four trees fallen on top of each other, criss-crossed with the next group. We ended up going higher up the ridge off trail and found it to not be quite so bad. Sara had some lovely stomach issues that day so it was good we did not have to go to far.
|Sara outside Indian Peaks Wilderness|
|the Divide from James Peak|
|At the top of Mt. Elbert|
Track and Field