104 miles down, 381 miles to go

Last night I officially made it to Breckenridge. Woot! 104 miles complete. My feet have never been so sore and my legs stiffen up if I stop moving too long. Anyways, below are my journal entries from the last four days.

Day One: 11 August 2013
Start: 0 miles 10AM
End: 23 miles 7PM past Raleigh Peak Rd #538 (7687′)
23 miles
Lowest elevation: 5522′
Highest elevation: 7700′

My wonderful friend Galen took me to the trailhead. If trying to take the bus, note that it is a weekday commuter bus only with extremely limited run times in the early AM and late PM. Anyways, the hike begins in Waterton Canyon. The first 6.5 miles are along a wide dirt road that is heavily frequented by cyclists/mtn bikers. Once out of that section it becomes quite beautiful. Though still heavy with mtn bikers. I wandered through a wild raspberry patch before an afternoon shower around 4PM that lasted an hour. No new blisters but taping up old ones. Good day but more rain during the night. Glad I brought a book and EXTREMELY glad Ryan gave me a tent lesson before I left, or I may have been soaked all night…

Day Two: 12 August 2013
Start: 23 miles 8AM
End: 49 miles 7:30PM Brookside McCurdy Trail (10199”)
26 miles
Lowest elevation: 7400′
Highest elevation: 10600′

Met two older gentlemen who I passed the previous evening before setting camp. They are section hiking the CT to Kenosha Pass. Very nice. Again the trail is fairly heavy with mtn bikers. Everyone has been quite friendly though. Crossed paths with several on there way back and numerous told me I was making good time. I have decided that since I hadn’t planned to make so many miles the first day that I will simply flush out my mileage on the whole trip and make each day a bit easier. Heavy rain with hail for about an hour at 1PM. Cold evening. Stove won’t stay lit. I attempted to eat fettuccini that would make al dente seem soggy. 

Day Three: 13 August 2013
Start: 49 miles 7AM 30 degrees
End: 76 miles 6:30PM Deadman Creek (10164′)
27 miles
Lowest elevation: 9500′
Highest elevation: 10900′

Lots of rain last night! I barely slept with lightening cracking all around me. This morning everything was heavy with not quite still frozen rain. Stunning light and fog as the sun slowly crept into the river valley. Unfortunately my shoes and legs were soaking wet for most of the morning as I brushed past the dew laden plant life. Finally crossed more hikers than mountain bikers. But the sporadic afternoon rain storm caused some to hunker down early. I am a bit tired of the 1-2 hour rain breaks each day and decided to just keep moving. My feet were still wet from the morning anyways. Unfortunately they are now resembling pruned feet despite being hours later and quite warm and dry. This may not go away. No new blisters beyond rubbing of tape on the outer toes. I am planning to switch back to toe socks in Breckenridge. Not sure why I thought regular socks would suffice after spending the past year training with VFF shoes, zero drop tail shoes, and toe socks the whole way. Ran into a nice man named Nick Williams. He is a triple crowner, meaning a completer of the AT, PCT, and CDT, respectively in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. He had heaps of interning stories and taught me about the local plants, of which most I have already forgotten. Deciding to finish my day and camp with him solidified my decision to add a day into my planned 20 rather than catch up to my original hiking agenda. I am delighted at the prospects of meeting other hikers over trying to meet some daily quota. There is a simplicity to hiking because you already know what you will de each day. I have also planned my meals, so I additionally know what I am eating. I only have one outfit thus removing the decision of attire. Yet each day brings new challenges, new discoveries, new mind sets, new adventures. I have loads more thinking time than is sometimes healthy for my over-analytical mind, but I am looking forward to the challenges of something that won’t end in a few short weeks (PCT excitement for next summer!). Already raining, off to sleep.

Day Four: 14 August 2013
Start: 76 miles 7AM 35 degrees
End: 104 miles 6:30PM dog park in Breckenridge (9199′)
28 miles
Lowest elevation: 9199′
Highest elevation: 11898′

Today seemed like the longest day yet. I made it into Breckenridge, part of what made it seem long I suppose. Knowing I had a set destination rather than the ability to park wherever was frustrating. Especially so when I made it to town towards evening to find no local camping (walkable distances) and literally every lodging option booked full. I was already aware of the Breck Epic and Epic Enduro mtn biking competitions going on that day as I was trying to make it up my second 11,000′ peak that day I was constantly confronted with speeding mtn bikers on their way down… Anyways, lots of other joys and drama. I washed my clothes at a laundry mat (I wore my puffy down jacket and sleeping bag to be “clothed” while my sole outfit had better smells worked into them), ate a whole pizza, drank a couple beers, and pitched my tent at the edge of a dog park. After enquiring with people at the restaurant, I could have walked to the ski lift and found trees but that was off my map and up to two miles away whereas the dog park was a mere three blocks. I honestly think this was my best sleep yet too. And NO RAIN! This morning I am picking up my resupply from the Post and the I will be off. I have decided to forego my stove and do cookless meals. Not sure why the flame won’t stay lit. I haven’t necessarily been hungry for supper anyways, and I already have added snacks in this first resupply as I was upping my calories. Not sure I want the bulk of the stove anyways.
Alright, that’s it for now. Starting day five and will check back in at Salida a week from now. I have updated my mileage agenda below:
Day 5
Janet’s Cabin at 125 miles (21mi day)
Day 6
Timberline at 153 mi (28mi)
Day 7
Trailhead @ 181.4 (28mi)
Day 8
Three Elk Trail #1445 @206 (25 mi)
Day 9
Raspberry Gulch Rd #273 @236 (30 mi)
Hwy 50/Salida then however far I make it that evening. Up to mile 261 (<25 mi)
Day 11
Join Rd #243 at 265 mi (at least 11i)
Day 12
Baldy Lake @289 (24 mi)
Day 13 
Rd #864 @311 (22 mi)
Day 14
Stewart Creek Trail #470 @337 (26 mi)
Day 15
Spring Creek Pass @357 (20 miles)
Day 16 
Small Lake @386 (29 mi)
Day 17
Molas Pass/Silverton @410.5 (25 mi) and try to stay a night there not in a dog park…
Day 18
Cascade Creek at 425 (15 miles)
Day 19
Big Bend Trail #519 at 449 mi (24 mi)
Day 20 Just before Dry Fork Trail #616 at 476 mi (25)
Day 21
Junction Creek TH; THE END! At 485 (9mi) then hitch hike back to Denver

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