Gold Hill Trail Head – Tennessee Pass – – 38.2 miles
I needed to take my new gear for a shake down, oh but wherever shall I go? How about the CT segments right out the front door! Thus testing my gear AND creating a bit of leeway in a rather rigorous thru-hike itinerary.
This morning, Lotus dropped me off at the Gold Hill trail head, outside of Breck.
I marched off in giddy bravado. After a bit I stopped to eat breakfast and look at the map.
So, hear me out, I’ve been doing a lot of planning lately; and I mean A LOT, because there are many little duckies to get in a row before meandering off for a month. So it’s understandable that I overlooked the trail description in the guide book…
Side note: the CT guide book is not designed for thru-hikers. From it’s weighty paper (oh but they’re water resistant!), to a spine not compliant with being hacked to pieces, to the abundance of fun over-detail, it is a day hiker or leave at home tome. The maps are less than might be hoped for.
…this tome did, however, begin the description with, “This segment of the Colorado Trail climbs 3,600 ft…”
Wait. What? I now inspect my maps and realize I’ve chosen a huge up-and-over for a first foray. I spent the next 8 miles eating my judgment, during which time I decided to be glad I hadn’t prepared further because I would have skipped it for later.
Up the trail went, and so did I. Then up some more, then we meandered down into a wash at the feet of the Ten Mile Range. Then the real up began.
It’s a bit disconcerting how quickly I reverted to trail brain. Feuds with squirrels (they start it!) and that party, always happening just over the ridge. I hear a boom-box and the distinct clink of glasses over murmured chatter. Everyone sounds to be having such fun.
But I am never invited, and can’t seem to find the place.
A frantic little snow flurry attacked just as I achieved the ridge between Peaks 5 & 6. Between the layers of pelting pellets I could see Breckenridge beneath on the ridge to the east, while Copper was spread across the face of the mountain to the west. It felt polygamous to look upon both at once. The clouds parted and I felt better. Then I saw a marmot cleaning himself; so immersed in it he didn’t acknowledge me. So I took a photo:
I then spent 4 miles relinquishing 3,000 of the feet and crossed into Copper, where I was nearly conked by a whizzing golf ball and where, apparently, when people yell about Eagles or Birdies, it does not mean there is a creature of the avian persuasion in the air.
Crossing through Copper Resort grounds, I am on familiar territory because of various trips to Janet’s Cabin and having hiked it to Twin Lakes with Mysterioso Slim last fall.
I camped a few miles below Janet’s, testing the new Pocket Rocket and deciding the current Pot is ABSOLUTELY NOT INVITED on the rest of the trail. The lid is wonky. It would make me crazy.
While journaling that evening, Dirt Monger, a NoBo CDT thru-hiker, passed my camp and gave the run down of what was to come.
I was happily in my bag by 7:15, though disappointed I could not post this at that time.
Sunday was another 19 mile stretch and the blisters were breaking out by mid-morning. I nibbled at a Cliff bar amoung flowers hosting a butterfly soiree. As I stood and burped, I thought of my Father’s benediction to such occurrences and I intoned, “thank you, Brother Cliff.”
I then thought more about my father and grandfathers, each of whom has armed, encouraged, and supported me into becoming the woman I am today. So here’s looking at you, Gentlemen.
Happy Father’s Day.
I may not always remember to send cards but I’m up here doing you proud. I hope.