Continental Divide Trail – Day 44 (45 miles)
Today just seemed to never click. Nothing was wrong, but nothing went right either. I woke up at 5.30 but struggled to convince myself to get out of bed, and eventually got started around 6.30. I also only had 3 bars to get to Twin Lake to resupply.
The first hour and a half was a pleasant downhill to the bottom of Hope Pass. I was continually trying to look back at the rocky Collegiate mountains behind me. The view up the valley was incredibly impressive!
It was then time for the first and only real climb for the day. And was it a beauty! I think the climb up to Hope Pass is comfortably the toughest climb to date on the CDT. The bottom half was exceedingly steep and the top half was a sustained decent grade.
The climb was fantastic and would have been very rewarding except for the 150+ runners that were coming down for the Leadville training camp. The runners just kept on coming and I found myself stopping every couple of minutes to let another pass.
The common trail etiquette is give way to the person going up hill, but I tend to give way to runners in all situations. I love getting into a rhythm going up hill while hiking, but with so many people heading in the opposite direction that was impossible. I did start to get annoyed with the runners as they just continued to come. The organization maybe should have arranged to spread the runners out over several trials rather than just totally dominate and saturate just one.
Anyway, enough of that…
I was making poor time when I reached the top of the pass but made some of it up when I had a great time running down the other side.
It was then time for the walk into the tiny town of Twin Lakes to resupply. When I got there I discovered it was the most expensive general store I have ever tried to buy food from – it was $4 for a pack of 2 pop tarts, which is usually $1. I was originally planning to go to Breconridge from here, but altered my plans to head to the closer Leadville.
At this time the clouds that had been building all morning broke and it started to rain. I therefore had my second change of plan for the day and decided not to take a side trip to the top of Mt Elbert in these conditions.
I spent well over an hour in town before I hit the trail again.
I spent the rest of the afternoon walking on easy terrain around Elbert through some dense forest. As night fell I was far short of my goal of mid 40 miles. I contemplated what to do and decided to get my headlight out and continue walking.
I ended up walking till just before midnight. I had good phone reception for the first time in Colorado and took this opportunity to have a nice long conversation with my Dad, so time passed very quickly before I crashed in the first half decent camp spot I saw after deciding to stop.