Leaving Aspen was easier since we only had to carry lunch. Our A.T. friends, Raindog and Hitching Post were meeting us that evening to camp with us and bring us the rest of our food. As is becoming our norm for Colorado, the day was overcast with sporadic precipitation. What form the precipitation took depended on elevation: rain, hail, sleet and snow were all present at some point. To make matters more interesting, we had a lot of climbing. Over 7000 feet in the 26 miles we hiked. The views however made up for the difficulty.
We arrived at the road to see Dog and Post waiting. We drove down to a campground and had brauts, burgers and all kinds of snacks. The atmosphere was somewhat dampened by the persistent rain, but it is always good to see old hiking friends. We didn’t get to spend near the amount of time with them we wanted, but hopefully we can fix that at their wedding in two weeks.
It rained all night and was just generally dreary in the morning. I really didn’t want to hike, but we didn’t have any extra days if we wanted to finish Colorado this month. Thankfully the rain stopped and it was just overcast by the time we got back to the trail. It was cool all day, but comfortable to hike in. Periods of rain would blow through, but never lasted more than 15 minutes. We made camp at over 11,000 feet which is higher than normal and were setting up camp while it snowed.
I woke up this morning to partially frozen water bottles and shoestring which couldn’t be untied. It was definitely our coldest night yet. I started out hiking with all my clothes on and felt somewhat like I was bundled up to go sledding. Even with the cold, seeing blue sky for the first morning in a week put a spring in my step and the sunrise was excellent. With only 15 miles to town, we made a relaxing morning of hiking. We eventually climbed back to the divide at over 12,000 feet. Apparently all of our rain had been snow up here and for a couple of miles we were walking in a winter wonderland. Picas, small rodents, constantly chipped at us and I couldn’t help but feel like I was being heckled by the knights who say “NEEP”. We finished the section by hiking across the Monarch Pass Ski Area. I have memories from childhood of being on top of there and seeing the continental divide signs.
We are in town for resupply, but plan on making an early start in the morning. Thankfully the weather outlook looks much better for the next week.