Miles: 21.7
Camp: My CDT mile 991
Elevation at camp: 10060 feet

This morning I woke up from a dream where I had let my mechanic cut my hair. He had done a terrible job and proceeded to argue with me about my $8 refund. He had cut all of it off and it took me years to grow it long, so I was devastated. Even my friend and hairstylist extraordinaire, Phoenix couldn’t do anything to help. I was so relieved that it had been a dream, I nearly cried when I woke up. It actually made me pretty happy.

As I started the hike I was immediately impressed by the peaks around me. Most everything around in this area is between 13,000-14,000 feet, so every mountain is as big as they get in this country. It is so humbling to stand  completely surrounded by such magnificence. It feels so much like the world around me has expanded and I’m just a tiny figure in the landscape. It is just so wonderful.

I passed a man who asked me, “where did you go?”

This baffled me, “what do you mean, ‘where did I go?'” It was the wrong question to ask…where I was going, where I had been, what I have seen…all more appropriate questions.

I could see the confusion on his face so I followed up with, “I’m walking from Mexico to Canada.”

As the light bulb went on over his head, I smiled and moved on before he could ask more questions. I could tell we would be standing there far past my patience level and I was already completely smitten with the day.

I found a beautiful fir tree that had the softest needles under the sun (maybe not softer than Hemlock), what could it be? Is it the subalpine fir? It had orange bark like a Ponderosa, but it had to be a fir. I love it, whatever it identifies as. I brushed its needles with my fingers each time I passed by, often bidding them a good morning. Goodness I am blessed to have these moments.

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Some of those firs, a mountain (the smallest around) and a columbine.

I soon climbed out of the valley I had been traveling and was on my way up Hope Pass. This climb was 2400 feet in 2.4 miles. 1000 feet per mile! It was crazy steep! Easy Strider passed me as I sat down for a quick energy bar and commented, “I haven’t been able to put my heels down for a while.”

He was right, it was a toe climb up and up. The views were as breathtaking as the incline though, and I took my time because I really didn’t have to rush. I would be in Twin Lakes well before the store closed, and I just had to retrieve my package and hike a little bit farther. So, I enjoyed the climb up Hope Pass.

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Halfway up!
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Same view from the top
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Towards Twin Lakes (I'm sleeping on the third mountain out tonight)

After reaching the top it was time to go right back down again. It was pretty steep, but I took it easy. I took a break next to a creek and ate all of my remaining Skittles and Goldfish. I eat my Skittles by color and it was purple/red day…my favorite.

Once in town I bought a microwave burrito, a bag of chips, an ice cream bar and a cranberry juice. I ate them all while pawing through my resupply box and trying on my new shoes. I loved them immediately, I think this extra cushioning is going to be just what the doctor ordered…they look like moon boots but they feel like mattresses for my feet.

When I was done with my resupply and phone calls, Squirrel had shown up and was planning to eat at the nearby inn. It seemed kind of swank, but bacon wrapped chicken florentine in a cream sauce with mashed potatoes virtually begged to be eaten. I’m not the kind of girl to make a good meal beg to be eaten, so I went for it. It was awesome!

I couldn’t upload blogs because there was no wifi, so you’ll see a bunch when I hit Breckenridge this weekend! Miles are just flying by now, I can hardly believe it!

After dinner I decided to hike just far enough to be set up for Mt. Elbert in the morning. It is the highest peak in the Colorado Rockies and I’ll be summiting after breakfast. The climb just 1/4 mile up to camp was super steep, rivaling Hope Pass. I still have 4500 feet to climb in about 4.3 miles. It’s going to be one heck of a way to wake up! It isn’t officially the CDT, but a worthwhile side trip.

Now I will try to rest up after a pretty big day. I did over 20 miles with 5 hours spent in town…and I’m not all that tired. Fingers crossed for good rest tonight!

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Hiking out of Twin Lakes
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