2 weeks ago, in the Collegiate Peaks, the routine of valley dropping and ridge climbing shaped my days. 2000-3000 ft climbs at a rate of 2 or 3 per day were wearing, though glimpses of the peaks and down into the flatlands gave a sense of space.
On the 4th of July i came down past a trailhead and while rolling TP from the forest service bathroom, was surprised to see Laurie, a friend from back home walk up. It turns out a number of my people were out at this random camp ground for the holiday. They charged my phone, took my trash, and fed me eggs and pork tenderloin. Doesn’t get much more American than that!
Accounting for afternoon thunderstorms was just beginning, for who could disregard the roll of such mighty war drums rumbling across the lands. So i quickly bid them adieu and headed up the 800 ft tall moraine to the next ridge.
I met Ethan Allen that afternoon and he shouldered the brunt of my “i haven’t had anyone (human) to talk to in 3 days” yammering.
Together we rolled in to Mount Princeton Hot Springs where i picked up a resupply then soaked in the waters until dark. Sadly, there was no room at the Inn so we hiked on into the night.
As EA’s segment hike ended, i continued onto a now interminably long and stormy ridge, where i came upon Columbine, out for a section hike to honor her father. That evening we came upon Doug, my trail resupply, who has now been permanently added to my “will call” list, as he had brought BACON!
“I thought you would like to mix it with your dinners,” hr explained. Though Columbine and I had closed in on the bag with ferrel tenacity. “No worries, i brought two bags,” he went on, 5 seconds later, when the first bag was emptied.
He also introduced me to “leuko tape”, for which I will be eternally grateful and will never need moleskin again. I mean, this stuff actually sticks! As tested by… the torrential downpour which immediately began. Washington style rain as we ran down the trail.
Dropping camp at 8 pm with the deluge still coming down, Columbine ended up coming over for a sleep-over, as her tent was filling up like a sinking sub.
The next morning, Doug and I left her to dry her stuff and headed down toward highway 114 where the trail passed the road and he’d left his car.
It was on this spot that I relinquished my dented, dirty, and prone to tipping pot from the PCT in exchange for his Jet Boil. I was dubious at first, but upon discovering I can now cook safely under my fly…well, it bad revolutionized my world.
So again and a million times, thank you, Doug. 🙂
Alone again, I set off across the planes, skirting treeline along a wide, open space of grass lands. Then up along Cochetopa Creek, a fly fisherman’s dream, had the pine beetle not beat us all to it.
Up, up, and up. Into the realm of 12,000-13,000 ft. Where trees are a distant memory and the clouds dance about, just above your head.
I got all the way up onto Snow Mesa and was surprised to find Kansas there. Eternal flat grass lands where herd of elk roamed. Only the, “me me,” chirp of picas and noticeably thin air kept the context. Well, that and the everyday threat of being caught in a thunderstorm with nowhere to hide for miles.