Date- August 29, 2019
Location- side of trail
Elevation- 10,764 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 28.8 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 1,362.4 miles
Weather/Temp- clear, 70s
Injuries- Feet are chewed up!
Pain level- Kinda high…
Spirits/Morale- Gritting it out.
Wildlife encounters- mule deer
Days without shower- 4
Days without laundry- 5
Last night was the first night (since the Wind River Range) that I slept in my hammock. So of course I ended up sleeping late. I didn’t get hiking until almost 8 am. I’m thinking about sending my hammock home when I get to Steamboat. If I regret it, I could always have it sent back… but I really need to be getting up earlier and just can’t do it in the hammock.
My first full day in Colorado was a good one – albeit quite boring and a little painful. The trail was on a lot of forest roads that were either very (or extremely) rocky and gravelly. My feet were complaining to me pretty much all day long.
I didn’t see a single soul on trail until the very end when I saw Jetpack. As it turned out, she’d only camped about a mile ahead of me last night – even though she had a 2 hour head start on hiking this morning. I never caught up to her until she was already camped.
I hate to say it, but today was indescribably boring. Not a single interesting or noteworthy thing happened. I can’t even think of anything mundane that I can stretch into a story or put a fascinating spin on… Nothing.
The terrain was mild. Other than the super rocky trail and gradual 3,000 ft climb at the very end of the day, I didn’t feel taxed at all. Well, my feet did. I don’t know how to describe what’s wrong with them. It’s not blisters or hot spots really. They’re just ridiculously sore and discolored in specific areas. It’s almost like bruising or raw flesh. I don’t know… but it’s killing me to walk through the pain.
I’ve received some anxiety inducing news. I’ve heard from multiple sources that it’s supposed to be an early and exceptionally cold winter this year – especially in Colorado. I’m hoping against hope that this is wrong. In fact, I’m going to make my own bold prediction based on nothing but speculation and prior experience. I think after having such a wet and cold summer out here, it may indeed get very cold – very early. However, I also think it will stay dry and we’ll have an Indian summer, after an initial freeze period in September. My hopes are to be through Colorado and into New Mexico by or before the first week of October. That’s perfectly reasonable timing, if not very hard hiking. It really depends on the weather. If the weather is shit, then I won’t be able to move as fast and frequently as I’d like to between towns. It’s all up to Mother Nature, as usual. I hope she’s feeling merciful this year. I won’t be calling off this hike or redoing this trail again. No matter what the weather does, I will be finishing this trail so long as my legs still work.
Right now I’m cowboy camped beneath a conifer at almost 11,000 feet. There’s no moon yet, and the Milky Way is glowing up above. I look forward to every non-rainy night being like this, once I send my hammock home. I’ll be cowboy camping almost exclusively, unless the weather is bad or slated to get bad. Then, with the extra room and less weight in my pack, I plan to get a new cooking setup in Steamboat. I want to start cooking steak, sausage, spaghetti, bacon, and other fancy meals. I’m ready to go all out with eating on trail, now that it will be getting cold.
I think Jetpack and I will be putting ourselves within striking distance of Steamboat tomorrow, but I might try to talk her into going all the way. I just want to be off my feet and in new shoes as soon as possible. We’ll see…
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