Thursday, July 30, 2015

July 30th - badger madness!

July 30th 2015
The gentle breeze keeps me cool and combats my manly musk with the sweet smell of sage.  After filling up my water bottles with a brownish water consisting of cow crap and dead cow remains I was greeted by a curious badger that let me snap a couple photos of him. Afterwards he quickly retreated to one of his many hiding places. I walked a little further and found a CDT info board that is currently providing a very welcoming and shady place to eat lunch. I couldn't be happier, except for these God forsaken flies. I hate flies more than I hate mosquitoes, ants and all other bugs combined. They are the most annoying creatures on the whole planet.

First a short story about scorched earth. I'm sure it's an over exaggeration, but today quickly turned hot and drained all living things of life. Water was scarce and the hot hot heat blazed down from all directions. Luckily for me and all other living creatures the sun is only up for so many hours. Unluckily it's almost midnight and I'm sitting here typing this blog on my cell phone. During the day I met some BLM crew mainly consisting of a small arm of conservation corps college kids doing slave labor.  There were erecting a small,  500 ft on each side,  fence to protect a Meadow from erosion caused by those fat useless cows.  The fence will remain for 20 years until the area is restored. Maybe I'll come back and visit in 20 years to see the progress.
A short story about mileage.  Around 6pm I read a couple notes left at a spring. I was very thirsty and spent a lot of time drinking water. Eventually another hiker named First Man rolled up and shared the spring water with me.  The note mentioned that Cookie Monster and Chilly were headed to Sweetwater Creek 15 miles away. First Man told me we were at about 23 for the day.  Super depressing considering it was 6 pm.  I put on my big boy pants and hit the trail. Skipping dinner I boogied on and made it to the aforementioned camping spot around 11pm.  To my surprise no one was camped there. I may have seen headlamps ahead but cant be sure.  The hiking was great because of the full moon and the road was pretty nice. Full moon hiking is great but I'll be happy to get back to my normal schedule.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July 29th - video blog!!!

July 28th 2015
Same Ole stuff again today.  Hiked all day, and swimming in a reservoir, and did some more awesome full moon night hiking. I finally came across another hiker, First Man.  As I was setting up my tent I glimpsed a huge shooting star, or space garbage, but it was sweet!!!

Check out the video.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28th - into the basin... Alone

A July 28th 2015
Rattlesnakes and drama, my life on trail. Another late start and I finally lost my mind. After the free breakfast we headed back to the room to leave.  Well I did,  Viper and Trajik just goofed off.  Trivia was there too but he disclosed to me that he was taking a bus back to San Francisco and ending his thru hike. Around nine I dawned my backpack and told them I would see them in Lander,  the next town. I fully expected them to be right behind me. When I didn't see them on the horizon I sent a text to Trajik, they hadn't left yet because she was trying to convince Trivia to stay. Slightly pissed ,I kept walking - now I would be hiking the next 120 miles through the great divide basin by myself. Lame.

I met a guy named Wrongturn around lunch and passed him again shortly after. For the rest of the day I was kept entertained by cows, birds,  owls,  bugs,  deer and these horned antelope things.  I forget what they are. I did learn an interesting fact, the area around Rawlings had this red ore and it was made into a pretty durable paint back in the day. They called the color "Rawlings Red" and it was the official color for the Brooklyn Bridge. Dupont has since made some less awesome paint that they now use.
Hiking fast and furiously I made it to a funny tasting spring around 8 and made some dinner.  I was harassed by countless doves and this big owl that showed no fear. An hour or so more of night hiking and I was spent. This place is huge and full of interesting stuff. Only 90 more miles to go, hopefully I don't lose my mind.

Monday, July 27, 2015

July 27th - how to be lazy

July 27th 2015
Got out of the hotel today a little late.  We were preparing to hike but never did, oh my.  I woke up rather grumpy because my resupply was expensive and very heavy. We headed to the post office and then the library. ALL of the outfitters were closed so I'm going to probably run out of fuel for my stove.  Really not that big of a deal as I can probably just cold cook.
After dragging ass all day we finally headed to Bucks Grill for lunch,  the food was tasty and the $1 PBRs were pretty good too. Then the magic happened, one by one, thru hikers started showing up.  I met Cookie Monster, Fist Man, and Chilly.  Hedgehog came into town along with Moist,  Nightcrawler, and Trivia.  It was a short fiesta at the grill then we all went our separate ways.  It was nice to know that there are others out there!

Rawlings Wyoming

Hello all, I'm currently in Rawlings Wyoming and taking off to hike the Great Divide Basin shortly.  There are about 10 posts that will be up shortly soon as they are edited.  To keep you entertained until then here are some pictures. There is quite the shortage of photos on the blog, the internet is usually too slow to upload photos.  After the hike I'll add relevant photos to all of the posts.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

July 26th - Rawlings

July 26th 2015
Oh semi paved roads across our great country, how I love you. I've never really respected our country's county roads and dirt roads that used to connect everything.  It takes countless miles of walking on them through never-ending landscapes of desolation to truly appreciate them. Water was scarce and the sun was hot,  I kept playing the song "horse with no name" over and over.
Walking wasn't so bad,  the miles slowly passed by.  Water was bad and nonexistent so I got some from CDT cyclists and kept going.  Good music and Kevin Smith's audio biography kept me occupied until some guy offered me a ride.  I politely accepted and we headed to Rawlings.  I had hit the asphalt so I was okay taking a ride into town. Walking on asphalt really bangs up the knees so I'm skipping a few miles here and there.
I bought my ride a beer and then went to meet up with Viper and Tragic. We all took care of our typical town stuff and walked across town to Wal-Mart. Rawlings is pretty run down and the only thing keeping it alive is the refinery.  Back to the desert tomorrow.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

July 25 - no more friendzzz

July 25, 2015
I finally got to see the real Wyoming today. There is nothing here, sage brush and yellow grass as far as you can see. It's absolutely lovely and I'm so happy to be in Wyoming... Getting out of town is always tough, after messing around one of our fellow campers offered to give us a ride.  There was a slight umbrella debacle with another thru hiker going southbound. We found and I took an umbrella that was in the hiker box at Lazy Acres campground. This kid Matt rolled in this morning freaking out about an umbrella his buddy Reststop left for him. I got all of this second hand from Hedgehog but in the end decided to give this kid the umbrella. The kid was weird and it's funny how our hiker cliques will pick up on that and make fun of him. It's just the opposite for people we like, lots of positive things and compliments for those hikers are spoken to each other.
Anyway, we got to the trailhead and jumped out. Hedgehog quickly realized he left his hiking poles in the car. I'm not sure what he did or how he got them back. It might have required a hitch back to town or maybe he got lucky and the guy came back... It was 10:00 so I took off and said goodbye to everyone, hiker goodbye that is. It goes kind like this "see you guys later". The later is a very broad time frame ranging from 10 minutes to never.
Hiking along I trudged on and put in some miles. The mountains turned into cross country trail blazing through fields of tall grass and sage. Eventually I was met by a road that I will be on for the next 30 miles, mummmmm road. I found a road construction parking area to set up my tent. I also stole some water out of the back of a pickup truck. It's tough out here and the lack of water has turned me into a common criminal. For dinner I tried one of Nightcrawler's meals, rice, coconut milk and some sort of curry block. Holy moly it was tasty as crap, I'll have to find out where she got everything. All of the writing was in Chinese or something similar. Here's to a non cow-trampled or mice-attacked night.

Friday, July 24, 2015

July 24 -Whatever Music Festival

July 24th 2015
After visits to the post office and getting my 2 days of hiking food in order we headed down to the Bear Trap Cafe for the tastiest lunch of the whole trip. I had a buffalo chicken sandwich with bacon on a pretzel roll and it was sooooooo good. On our way out of the hotel, Hedgehog rolled up and joined us at the cafe. After hours of consideration we decided to stay the night and enjoy the music festival. The campground 50 feet away is only $10 and includes a shower. Things are really getting busy around here I have a feeling it's going to be a fun night.
A quick summary because nothing really happened. I mean it was a super lazy day and nothing happened.  Music played across the street from 2 pm to 2 am. Not sure I could tell but I think the bands were getting better as I fell asleep. I made some new friends with festival goers and thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon and evening.
The worst thing to come of the day was a mileage calculation. We have a little under 1300 miles to go and if I want to finish by mid September I need to do a minimus of 25 miles a day nonstop. No bueno, pronounced the Spanish way, not the Colorado way.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

July 23 - Wyoming, not as cool as I thought

July 23rd 2015
It was nice hiking in a new state for the first couple hours. Nightcrawler got something in her eye that made her whole body have an allergic reaction. I gave here some benadryl and she said it kicked in an hour later. Until then she scratched uncontrollably, it was tough to watch.
The rest of the day was up and down cross country travel from cairn to cairn. There were posts with CDT logos on them but it wasn't much of a trail. We traversed giant swamp meadows and meandered through pine forests. My body hated me, but I trudged on and eventually made it to Battle Pass. Upon arriving I met back up with Viper and Tragic attempting to hitch hike. They caught a ride and shortly after Moist and I caught a ride down to Encampment Wyoming.  We got a burger and beer and enjoyed the rest. We met up with Nightcrawler when she got down and shared a hotel room. Viper and Tragic went to the better restaurant and camped. Their trip to town was unexpected because they both were carrying enough food to make it to Rawlings. I think they were slightly hurt they couldn't stay in the room, it was tiny and the manager wouldn't have had it.
I made a bunch of friends with the hotels residents, there was an English/Spanish language barrier that made it tough to socialize. It was nice to sleep in a bed...again...and get some much needed rest.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

July 22 - Finally in Wyoming

July 22, 2015
I finally made it to Wyoming. As I see it, I'm about 2 weeks late, but who is really keeping track?  I woke up just below Dome peak in a condensation filled bog and made coffee for the first time since hiking with Joe in New Mexico. I got to hiking by 7:30. Moist left his Rain jacket at camp and I rescued it for him. The trail was pretty easy all day and the climbs were minimal. We took a very nice mid morning break at three island lake and shortly after Viper and Tragic caught up. We had passed their camp at an earlier junction, they shouted but I think Viper was sleeping in to let his tent dry out. As a group of six we split up and joined up and split up some more. I spent the afternoon hiking very fast and recaught Viper and Tragic after I took a second lunch break. Eventually, the Wyoming border hit me in the face and I celebrated, hard. Think dance party with sick moves, I also had a small but significant amount of Canadian Mist whiskey... Yuck. A few minutes later Tragic rolled up and joined the dance party. Then Moist rolled in, which was a surprise, and eventually Viper. Whiskey and dancing ensued. After setting up our tents, back in Colorado, Nightcrawler cruised in. Everyone is here and I couldn't be happier. Since high school I've always loved when new friends and old friends come together for a party.  I sat on a log with Moose and cooked dinner. Everyone else ate in their tents, typical CDT dinner style. Tomorrow we have 20 miles to Battle Pass and a tough hitch to Encampment. I will get my package Friday morning when the PO opens and hit the trail again .
Woot woot Wyoming. Next stop the great basin.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

July 21st - ballin on a budget

July 21st 2015
Don't mind the title, I've decided that my mind is lost and can't be found. Today was pretty cool, I hiked with new friends. Waking up earlyish I got my stuff together and headed to the privy! I have a love hate relationship with privies. While they are technically a toilets, they are generally pretty nasty and sometimes the woods are more appealing.
Viper and Tragic took off at exactly 7 am and I knew I would never catch them. Partially because they are fast and mostly because I knew they wouldn't really wait for me. I left at 7:30 with Hedgehog and we just cruised along, eventually Moist and Nightcrawler joined up.
For a while it rained and rained and rained on us. When it got really bad we just hid under trees and waited. Eventually the fog/clouds subsided and we were greeted with some great views of the surrounding area and the Zirkel mountains and wilderness. The photos in the fog were pretty cool too. Around 6:30 Hedgehog dropped off because this was his first day on the trail after a long stint with stomach issues. We hiked until 8:45 and really basked in the amazing sunset. I think I took 50 photos.
It was a nice laid back day and we still put in some good miles, over 30. The most exciting part is that we're only 32 miles from the Wyoming border, thank God. Back to the open desert and some big miles, maybe the rain will leave us alone too.

Monday, July 20, 2015

July 20 Back to Grand Lake

July 20th 2015
After some sleeping in I hopped on a bus and went to Enterprise to get a rental car. I convinced Viper and Tragic to join me and we were off to Grand Lake to get my most expensive pair of shoes ever, thanks Amazon...
Three hikers one car, it was like a party.
Mission accomplished we dropped off the car and went to a brewery. Of course we went to the post office, got some stuff from Walmart and took care of any important tasks first. But that's boring and who wants to read about that, breweries are soo much cooler. Eventually a Hiker named Lennon came and gave us a ride to the trail. Upon reaching the trail and also the campsite we decided to stay and we met some new hikers!!!!! Moist, a guy from southern California. Nightcrawler, a girl from Washington and Hedgehog, a guy from Salida. It was nice meeting new people and the 6 of us chatted it up for hours. Probably because we camped at 7 pm, who knows, it was nice. Back on the trail, hopefully my vacation town depression will go away. I'm going to work on the clinical definition for vacation town depression and post an update.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

July 19 - Steamboat Springs

July 19th 2015
We were up and extremely motivated to hike today, only 9 miles to the pass and town.  Hiking by 6:30 we stuck together and listened to music on the mini Jambox until the battery died. Shortly after that my cell phone battery died.  Once the music was over Tragic starting hiking fast and left us. I kept stopping to readjust and take my rain gear on and off. Before I knew it I was solo.
I reached the pass by 9:30 and the other two were gone, I guess they already got a ride. I didn't get so lucky and 3 hours later I was in town.
Steamboat is nice but is just another Colorado ski town. Mentally these towns are draining me, I just want to stop hiking and do nothing. Every town I fight the urge to stop hiking for a while, or maybe even for everrrrrrr!!!!!  Wyoming should have some crappy towns and I hopefully won't feel that way anymore.
I walked around trying to find some shoes with no luck. No one had the shoes or size I need. I rode the bus around town, had a good time and eventually got a very discounted room with Viper and Tragic at the Rabbit Ears Motel.
Tomorrow I'll rent a car and head back to Grand Lake to get my shoes.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

July 18 - not alone anymore

.July 18th 2015
It took a few weeks but I finally met up with some other hikers on trail. Last night they were supposed to catch me but never did. This morning I took my time and right round 7 am Trivia walked up. We hiked for a while and at the top of Parkview mountain Viper and Tragic showed up. They actually showed up earlier but there was no way I was letting anyone beat me to the top of the mountain. Parkview mountain was quite the climb but the views at the top were pretty epic.
We hiked togetherish for the rest of the day and even had lunch as a group, it was fabulous. Eventually the weather rolled in and Trivia freaked out. He left us and headed down the mountain, his stomach was pretty upset and eventually I got a text message from him letting us know he was trying to get to town.
Hiking until 9 we made pretty good miles today, a couple over 30 if I had to guess. I'm a little sore, there was quite a bit of climbing and descending. We stuck to the divide all day and had a good mix of trees and grassy balds as we hiked. After Parkview we straddled the divide and meandered through trees and grassy balds along the Rabbit Ears mountain range.
Tomorrow we should be in Steamboat for a well earned resupply and possible zero.

Friday, July 17, 2015

July 17th

July 17th 2015
So yesterday, July 16th, I woke up and hiked an extremely elongated 8 miles to town.  Maybe it was longer... When I arrived in Grand Lake around 11ish I had a super tasty breakfast burrito smothered in sausage gravy and cheese. Afterwards I went to this interesting hotel with bunk room set aside as a hostel.  A bit later my friends, the troublesome trio, arrived in town via car and we met up. Almost immediately someone offered them a place to stay at their house.  We hung out over there for a while and I headed back to the hostel. We made plans to hike out together around 7 am.
Turned out they were kinda lazy and were a no show for the 7 am rendezvous. I told them I'd camp early and I took off. The hiking was easy enough and I even managed to go a mile or two out of route. I listened to a good bit of music and audio books as hiked. I saw a moose and later in the day I spooked a bear. I was too slow to get pictures of either.
Around 7:30 pm I realized I hiked a bunch of miles so I stopped for the day. I thought to myself that would be plenty of time for them to catch up. After a meal, snack, and some phone time with Katie they still didn't show up. I suppose there was no reason to stop that early.  Tomorrow I will start the day off with a huge 3000 ft climb and have a pretty good day planned out. If all goes well I'll only have 20 miles to hike on Sunday to get into Steamboat. Things were calm where I set up but the wind just became rather violent. Good thing I checked for widow makers above my tent, the beetle kill round here is pretty drastic. Fingers crossed for a peaceful night.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

July 15th 2015

July 15th 2015
I'd like to dedicate my day of hiking to our good buddy "The Chosen Hiker". Like her, I've embarked in a full day of hiking without doing to much actual hiking. We didn't get up and going until 9am. Then we spent time at Subway; since I was going to hike something different than the other guys we split up. I started walking north from Winter Park and kept walking until I passed the town of Fraser 3 miles later. Eventually a kid that saw me trying to hitch earlier gave me a ride to Granby, well a couple miles short of it. He mentioned that he spends some time in Jupiter Florida, his father lives there. There was a McDonalds near the spot he dropped me off and I went in for a second lunch. Some nice folks started talking to me and come to find out they're from Jupiter too. I mentioned that I got married there and my wife is from Jupiter. Before you know it my plans change and I have a ride to the south end of the lake. With rain looming in every direction I decided to hike the south end of the lake and meet the CDT on the eastern side and hike up to the city of Grand Lake. For the last month I've been day dreaming of watching the storms roll in from the Gulf of Mexico while sitting at this awesome bar in Cedar Key Florida. I think walking alongside Grand Lake with a beer while getting hailed on will be close enough.
After 8 miles of dirt road walking while listening to my mini Jambox (Big Sean and OCMS if you were wondering), I finally reached the southern point of the lake. Wandering around with no agenda I stumbled across Colorado's smallest bar. The Red Dog Saloon at the Arapaho Valley Ranch. I met Lee and we sat and talked for a while. Eventually it was time to hike on. The storms were coming back and this time from all directions, my lackadaisical attitude towards the day suddenly changed and it was time to boogie. I raced the rain and was eventually caught and subsequently drenched, around 8:45 I reached my planned campsite only to find it full of tents. After some internal debate I decided to go check it out. Turns out it was a group of Boy Scouts on a week long canoe trip. This particular night they were all across the bay doing their wilderness survival badge. I set up my tent nearby and sat down by a FIRE with two leaders Jimmy and Owen. We had a good conversation while I cooked my dinner. I think they were happy to hear that I worked for the scouts, am an Eagle scout and am even up to date on my youth protection certificate. After dinner my exhaustion kicked in and I hit the sack. It was an interesting day and I met lots of great people. Meeting people is really half of the reason I hike, you never know who you will meet and how they might impact your day.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

July 14th 2015

July 14 2015
What a day... And night. After sitting in the warming heat for a couple hours I decided to hike in the rain to find a place to set up my tent. Unfortunately I ended up hiking all the way to the top of the cell phone tower mountain, the radiation attracted me.
The morning was sunny and I was off and hiking by 6:30. I decided to take the divide route and really enjoyed the views it offered. Going up and down what felt like 3000 feet at a time sucked but wasn't the end of the world. Eventually I reached a section Ley calls "the cliff" and has very specific instructions for south bounders. So naturally I reversed them and headed off to my left down a super nasty scree and talus slope and spent the next 45 minutes attempting to kill myself. I was not very happy with my decision at all and wondered how others could do this. Eventually I worked my way down to the cliff/saddle and looked back up, if I would have gone up and over the top it would have been a steep grassy descent instead. Super frustrated I pushed on crawling over huge boulders on my hands and knees. With my last bit of energy I climbed up the other side and plopped down on a big rock at the top for a brief rest. Unfortunately, the thunderstorms were starting to surround me, and I had another peak to climb and descend, so I pushed on.
The rest of the day was spent on a trail on the divide hiking in freezing rain and and hours of hail. I dropped off the divide because of the lightning and walked along an old railroad. A car of guys drove by and offered me a ride, hoping the storm would abate I politely declined.  When I reached the divide again they were sitting at the pass getting ready to leave. It was still raining and I had to keep climbing so I took them up on the ride and went back down to Winter Park.
Sitting at the brewery an hour later for happy hour I met by local buddy from the day before and told him what happened. His real name is Michael Jordan... Conveniently my pals Viper, Trivia and Tragic also bailed on the weather and showed up in town. So we got a room with a hot tub and chilled all night. Not the best day but it turned out okay, my only concern is getting back to the trail.
And honestly, I'm still laying in bed at the hotel (in the future) at 9 am. I need to get my act together and boogie. I have a plan to hike the remaining 25 miles to Grand Lakes but I'm quickly losing the ability to hike 25 miles.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Solo Dance Party at 13,000 feet

July 13th 2015
Turns out I-70 wasn't so noisy after all. I woke up to the rumble of semis cruising up and down the mountains. When I eventually got out of my tent a couple deer unhappily greeted me. After a mile or two of bike path and a really nice bridge made just for the CDT it was time to climb another four or five thousand feet. Who's keeping track, not me, it would just be depressing to know that I climbed over 15,00 feet in the last 24hrs. Today was about the divide, I stayed on the divide all day long. Even when the rain and thunderstorms rolled in I walked on the highest ridge around. Sometime around mid morning I got my malto and caffeine fix on and that's about when the dance party started. Good music and extra energy always leads to a dance party.  The day drug on and on and the miles slowly crept by. Eventually I realized that I needed to make it to town before the post office closed so the chase was on. Getting to Berthound Pass around 4:15 I got lucky and the 2nd car to pass gave me a ride straight to the post office. Across from the post office I indulged in happy hour appetizers and micro brewed beer. There was also an unceremonious tossing of my well traveled hiking shorts, RIP buddy you will be missed.
Saying goodbye to a new friend, I hit the streets to hitch back to the pass. Eventually Kathy, a girl getting off work from a hotel, gave me a ride up to the pass. She neglected to tell me until the top that she could have gotten me a deal on lodging. Slightly intoxicated I decided to hike on. Only after she left did I realize that the trail is completely on the divide and I'm stuck at the pass in the freezing rain for the night. There is this restroom/warming hut with NO CAMPING INSIDE THE BUILDING signs all over the place but I think I'll try my luck. Hopefully the lights on motion sensors that will never go off and the semi constant flow of people coming in to use the restrooms won't bother me too much. On second thought I might set up my tent, we'll give it a little longer.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sunday Funday - Double Fourteener!

July 12 2015
It was absolutely wonderful meeting up with a couple of hikers again. It means I'm not in last place anymore!
After a semi fulfilling continental breakfast with a waffle maker I was out the door and on my way to Target, superstores tend to be empty that early in the day. Loaded up on a pack of new pillow feet inserts and I was ready to go.  I hiked out of town past Keystone ski resort and into the mountains. I forgot how fun road walking is so I used my new luxury item, the Jambox Mini, and blasted my own personal music sphere. The dozens of road cyclists tried their best to ignore my Ace of Base.  There were lots of campers along the road and I even stopped to chat with some squatters, homeless camping people? Their dogs tried to kill me. After hours of this silly road walking I started to gain some elevation. I went up, up some more and then up the wrong way. If you follow this blog you might notice a trend in the wrong way stuff, good thing I already have a trail name.  Before I new it I was climbing on my hands and feet up Grey's peak. Boom Shaka laka! I made it to the top. I got really lucky with the weather, normally you can't summit tall mountains in the afternoon due to lightning danger. Something I'm all too familiar with. A few minutes later and I was on top of Torrey's peak, a much easier climb. Easier.... Near the top my path was blocked my a mountain goat that didn't want to get out of my way. All I need is to be knocked off a mountain by a goat! He got out of the way for a while but was back soon after.
Eventually all of the fun was over and it was time to descend. On the way down I got a couple good pictures of a whole family of mountain goats. I kept hiking and eventually came to a trail head and a dirt road, my favorite. Oddly its the official trail so I picked up my pace and kept going down. There were some nice secluded houses on the road, eventually I reached the bottom and I -70.  It was getting late and the trail turned into a bike path with nowhere to camp. I walked till 9 pm and found a place. Since I'm hiking next to the interstate I made a few phone calls to some fellow hikers and my wife.
Good day, I'm beat again. Winter Park here I come.

Friday, July 10, 2015

July 10th/11th

July 10th 2015 and June 11th 2015
Just getting in a quick word, I'll finish this tomorrow. Today wasn't particularly difficult, I just made it difficult.  I slept in a little while trying to talk myself out of climbing Mount Massive only to give up and do it.  It was cold and extremely windy, maybe 50+ mph, I could barely stand. I made it up in an hour and fifty minutes and kinda ran back down in a little over an hour. On the way up I raced one of those ultra trail runners, he beat me back down as I'm not a big fan of running down mountains.  The chipmunks stayed away from my stuff and I was packed up and out by 9 or 10, I don't remember.
The trail was well groomed like a walking path in a city park. Well close enough, there were a few mud holes and rocky sections. Trudging through I made it 20 something miles to Tennessee Pass and camped out by the parking lot. I have all these car noises zipping by now. I would have liked to camp further out but I ran out of water and was looking for some. Oh! There was a cooler with trail magic in it. Not for me it was all gone but how cool, you never see that kind of thing out here.
I'm in Breckenridge/Silverthorne now because I woke up at midnight and hiked another 20 something miles. I had to get to the post office in Breckenridge before 1 pm when they close. I don't remember much but I made it. All of the hotels in Breckenridge were booked so I took the free bus to Silverthorne and convinced Viper, Tragic and Trivia to stay another night. They are taking the Ley route and I'm going to do a modified version of the Grey's Torrey's route to bag some more 14ers. Hopefully I'll see them in a couple days at Grand Lakes.
And we're off!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

July 9th

Woot woot.
All done...
Today was a butt kicker. I climbed and descended like a champ. For lunch I made it to Twin Lakes, I had a super tasty pulled pork sandwich and some weird curly fries covered in cheese. I exhibited great self control and packed up after I dried out my tent and charged my phone. Thank god for that last part or I wouldn't be able to type this... Blogging while listening to Mozart on my mini jambox. I also just had a 30 minute phone conversation with Katie while eating dinner. Which I might add was a tasty Mountain House meal some CT hiker left in the hiker box. Silly CT hikers, I crossed paths with about 20 today. I think they are all going the wrong direction, one of them told me he can spot CDT hikers by their tiny packs. I was honored to be included in this group as my pack can grow as I start carrying dumb luxury items.
The weather and my timing didn't work out for an ascent of Mt Elbert. So I'm camped out at the base of Mount Massive, it was a few miles further and should be a good 14er. I'll leave my tent up and hope the chipmunks keep their distance. They will if they know what's good for them. My awful smelling socks should help. As long as it clears up and stops raining I'll try to get up there. I really don't want to as my body is pretty tired but I can't turn down a good challenge. I keep thinking about this saying "do it now as it's the best shape you'll ever be in" and boom, I'm a sucker for side trips.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

July 8th - journaling against time

July 8th 2015
Almost out of battery life. I had a hot date with a new battery recharger but she canceled on me for some reason. Due to the lack of sun I'm on my last 8% of life. I even planned on doing a video journal but I hiked until dark and am currently not carrying my stage lighting setup.
Let's make it quick....
Woke up
Realized it was raining
Slept in until 7
Hiked in frozen clouds with no views
Chose this difficult route for the views
Stayed up high on the divide
Heard voices
Fell and ripped my new pants
Met a couple bus loads of Younglife people
Watched them cut switchbacks
Watched them drink hot cocoa
Had their leader in a bear hat/suit stare me down and not offer cocoa
Kept walking
Now hate Younglife and will say inappropriate things about premarital relationships to the next group I meet
Kept walking
And walking
Ate early lunch in break in rain
Tried to dry out tent
Didnt work
More hiking
Crossed a few rivers
Met some CT hikers
Got service and left nice voice message for Katie
Kept hiking
Got rained on a few more times
Got hailed on
Hid under tree while it rained, hailed and lightninged
Hiked up a mountain
Couldn't take photosphere of sweet pass
Ran down mountain
Hiked more
Setup tent and ate mashed potatoes with beef jerky dumped in
More rain
Twin lakes tomorrow if I'm lucky. I think it's only 8-10 miles away.  I'm really worried I won't be able to climb Elbert, we'll see what the weather does. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

July 7th - back to the trail

July 7th 2015
Getting back on trail is bittersweet, I don't think that I've ever used that word in a sentence before. This morning around 5:30 am I said goodbye to my amazing wife Katie. Over the last few days she was in Colorado visiting me I desperately tried to get her to let me come home with her. She would sternly shoot me down and tell me I couldn't come home until I finished my hike. So here I am still on the flipping trail, by myself, alone, in the freaking mountains, getting rained on in a cloud, and wondering if that noise I just heard is a grizzly bear.  If she was here she would tell me to man up and quit being a wimp. Oh well, only two more months...
Hiking today was, well hiking. The weather is really lousy and is forecasted to be pretty bad for the next couple of days. I got hailed on, rained on and maybe even clouded on.  There were a few times I sat in my own despair shivering and soaking wet under some tree waiting for it to stop raining... It never did. I made camp early and am now just sitting here while a good downpour is tap dancing on my tent and thunder is laying down the beats for the tap dancing rain drops. I'm using new stakes too, hopefully they hold up.
On a non negative positive note my body is doing well and the area I'm hiking in is really pretty dope. I'm willing to bet if it wasn't all clouded there would be some amazing views. I don't know my mileage but I'm about 5 miles of actual divide hiking from Cottonwood pass. I'll have to check the maps to see if I can make it to Twin lakes tomorrow. Just checked, the five miles I wasn't able to do today will keep me 5 miles from Twin Lakes tomorrow, oh well no rush.
Early to bed to dream about sunny skies and rain free forecasts.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

July 2nd

July 2nd 2015

We bailed on Salida, CO after 2 days and nights of city life.  The first night was spent in a hostel paying way too much for a cramped up 3 bunk room. Bigfoot was mad that there wasn't any soap or shampoo to use in the showers. The second night was spent in total luxury at the Hampton Inn. Viper had points from, Shu, now I know why you always buy the room on disc golf trips. So Reststop and I paid the difference, the hotel was still way overpriced. We spent the day with Squral and Laughs (Holly) at various drinking establishments. The night wasn't much different, you would be surprised to know that my backpack isn't much heavier and carries 12 PBRs like a champ.

That leaves us a day and night 3. Viper and I lounged around the room until checkout while Reststop got out of dodge as quickly as possible - he knew if he stayed it would never make it out of town. Eventually we walked to the post office and Viper got his new shoes. I've never seen a grown man so excited. Sitting outside the post office we met a nice lady and told her about our hike. Afterwards we headed to a pizza joint for the lunch special, pizza and a beer for $4.  From there it was off to Safeway so Viper could resupply. Viper convinced me to come up to the pass with him and camp for free instead of paying $25 to stay at the hostel. I agreed and bought a pack of hotdogs for dinner. I knew we were going to be screwed because it was already raining and thundering in all directions.  Eating my pint of ice cream outside, the same lady from the post office ran into us and said hi. A moment later she came back from her car to ask us if we needed a ride, of course we did!  The ride didn't get us to the pass but it got us a couple miles out of town. From there we got another ride to the Monarch Ski Area, we hopped the guard rail on the other side of the road and bushwhacked down to the Monarch Park campground. Much to our surprise, the place was getting logged out and completely empty. There was a logging crew nearby and they eventually spotted us. We just waved and the guy drove by, it is yet to be determined if the cops will show up and tell us to leave. One of the bathrooms is still open and there is even some TP, so we got that going for us.  Oh, and it's raining and thundering all over the place.

I'm sitting here in my awesome new tent super excited! Katie and I spoke before I lost service and she's on her way! I told her to look at my stop and try to find me in the morning. She is planning on making it to Grand Junction tonight, which is 4 hours away. I plan on sitting by the road and waiting for her in the morning, true love.