Friday, November 28, 2014

day twelve: Miner's Creek to Copper Mountain, 8/23/14

8 or so miles

got a late start due to rainstorms.  today's hike will take us up and over the Ten Mile Range and down into Copper, and hopefully even further past the resort.

with the rain we considered hiking back down the Peaks Trail and taking the Summit Stage over to Copper, skipping the mountain pass.  as nice as that sounded, our goal is to complete the entire trail and we didn't want to skip this part.

we started the day's hike when the rain stopped for a bit.  the trail up to the top of the Ten Mile Range is steep, definitely the hardest thing we've hiked yet.  it also doesn't help that our backpacks are super full and heavy.

this day was my low point on the trail, I was having a hard time climbing, breathing, and just keeping my shit together emotionally.  the weather was windy and rainy, but without thunder and lightning so we kept trucking, actually C trucked - I cried and moved way too slowly.

as we got to the top of the ridge, the wind picked up and it started to downpour.  I was in a horrible place both mentally and physically, C had to push and yell to get me moving - and it worked.  I shut my head off and hauled across the ridge and down the other side of the mountain.

I was miserable, but thankful for C, and for my new sturdier raincoat.  we made it down to the parking lot at Copper and had a snack and discussed the plans for the day.  we decided to make it to the resort, get lunch and pull it together.

after a few miles of hiking across Copper and next to their golf course we make it to the resort and settle in to eat lunch.  we decide to get a room for the night, there's still more rain, and the temp is almost freezing.  we feel bad about this decision at the time, but in retrospect it was a turning point in our trip.

I wish I had been able to take pics at the top of the range, but this is all I got for the day.

I'm looking forward to hiking from Breckenridge to Copper in the future, with less weight and on a sunny day.  this terrain was amazing and I want to be able to enjoy it and reverse my negative memory of it!

day eleven: Breckenridge to Miner's Creek, 8/22/14

6 miles

had a nice slow and warm morning at the Fireside Inn.  ate breakfast, grabbed sandwiches for lunch, and made all final preparations for departure. 

the weather has started to change and this will be the beginning of a couple weeks of lots of rain.

we dropped off a package to send home to the post office and got on the Summit Stage bus by the gondola.  the trail picks up at Gold Hill.

at this point I'm feeling cold and nervous about the incoming storms and sad to be leaving the comforts of town with a HEAVY backpack.  I might have been fighting back tears the entire hike.

the trail out is pretty miserable, there is lots of beetle kill trees and deforestation, along with giant construction vehicles clearing out the forest.  luckily, C is motivated and is keeping me moving and trying to keep my head up.

our campsite is underneath the Ten Mile Range.  we get to sleep early, due to rain. 

not my pic (if I had taken one it would've been grey and wet and sad)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

day ten: Breckenridge rest day, 8/21/14

0 miles

slept in, ate lots of food, organized our shit, relaxed, had a smoothie, and watched Shangai Noon - which I also didn't like because it made no sense and I guess I'm not into wild west train fights.  very important.

day nine: above Horshoe Gulch to Breckenridge, 8/20/14

6 miles

still feeling rough in the morning, but I was so excited to get to Breckenridge that I could've run this 6 miles with my giant pack.  maybe.  in retrospect, yes.

pretty easy 6, mostly downhill.  really not much to report except shit tons of beetle kill trees.

we caught the Summit Stage bus at Tiger Run and headed into town.  we stayed at the Fireside Inn, which is lovely and adorable and weird.  we showered, took a bath, and sat in a hot tub.  then ate, and ate, and ate.  and then watched A Fish Called Wanda, which I did not like because I found Kevin Kline annoying.  should I turn this into a movie review blog? 

day eight: Georgia Pass to east of Horshoe Gulch, 8/19/14

18 miles

we were super excited to get up and over Georgia Pass, and got an earlier than usual start.  we also wanted to avoid an inevitable thunderstorm at altitude with no tree protection.

the hike up the pass was amazing, meadows with wild flowers, crazy high mountain views, a little snow pack, some insane jeep roads (seriously, how the fuck do you get up here with a jeep?), and beautiful forests.  we were stoked.

Mt. Goyot, aside Georgia Pass

mountain meadows

cresting the pass
trees and mountains and sky all day

we headed down Georgia Pass and met a man that looked like our old neighbor Ralph.  so there's that.  when you see about 3 people a day, that's notable.  after the pass we headed up another giant hill where we had views of Keystone and Breckenridge, once we started to head down the west side.  

as we started to descend I started to bonk pretty hard.  I had a headache, chills, and nausea. this was definitely due to not getting enough calories.  after we set up the tent, C cooked dinner and took care of me while I warmed up and rested.  we know at this point we have 6 miles to Breckenridge where we'll have two nights at the Fireside Inn and able to refuel.

day seven: Johnson Gulch to Georgia Pass, 8/18/14

14 miles

beautiful warm sunny morning on the hill next to Johnson Gulch.  the morning stayed warm while we hiked to Kenosha Pass, where I got super homesick and wanted to catch a ride home to see my dog.

Lamar hiking with us on a yurt trip earlier this summer, best mountain bulldog ever

the great part about Kenosha Pass was that we were able to eat lunch at a picnic table and throw out 5 days worth of trash.  truly exciting.  we filled our water up at the campground on the west side of 285 and carried too much water for the rest of the day.  our water filter at this point has been a hand pumper and it takes too much time to fill up what we need, so we took advantage of the spigot at the campground and suffered the rest of the afternoon.

after Kenosha Pass we hit Miller Creek, which is beautiful and reminiscent of the Kancamangus in NH.  Miller Creek also marks the start of the climb over Georgia Pass, which will be our first time (of a million) up and over the Continental Divide.

we camped about halfway up the pass in an area with quite a few bear prints.  but we yelled and found that we had a neighbor - an older gentleman named Fred who was hiking from Kenosha Pass to Breckenridge, solo.  

went to bed, prepping for a big day tomorrow.

 somewhere east of Kenosha Pass

Monday, October 13, 2014

day six: Brookside-McCurdy to Johnson Gulch, 8/17/14

16 miles

cold cold cold cold morning.  holy cow.  walked around camp wearing my sleeping bag while trying to warm up.

each day we're working up our mileage.  while planning we decided to take the first portion slow.  we hadn't backpacked any major mileage for years, and wanted to ensure that we didn't get injured or destroy ourselves by going out too fast too soon (in the next few days, we'll run into people whose partners had to drop out because they started doing 20 miles a day cold)

the hike up the brook and through the gulch is beautiful, but monotonous and at the kind of incline that kills me: not super steep, but steep enough to hurt for 6-7 miles.  listened to Hannibal Burress' comedy album, which made me crave chicken fingers and french fries. ok.

once we got to the top of the gulch guess what we did? we went down!  down a bunch of dry switchbacks until we entered segment 5 and headed back into Lost Creek Wilderness.

the wilderness alternated between dense forest, meadows, and aspen groves.  it was beautiful, but endless.  we were so excited to get out of it, to finally feel like we made some progress.

we came to a road and saw a group of folks picnicking, they hollered to us and told us they were Colorado Trail volunteers doing some work for the weekend.  they fed us fresh watermelon, gave us homemade energy bars, and a bag of milano cookies - and a CT bandana for C!  this was a huge pick me up and we were so grateful.  

after we left them we had a few miles to our campsite above Johnson Gulch.  climbed up, set up camp fast - due to impending thunderstorm, and chowed on dinner and cookies.