Miles: 22
Camp: My CDT mile 1013
Elevation at camp: 10100 feet

Man, what a day! The climb up Mt. Elbert was pretty steep, but I paced myself and made pretty good time. The 4.3 mile ascent took about 2.5 hours, which is pretty good considering the elevation gain. I definitely felt the altitude after about 13000 feet, drinking lots of water with electrolytes helped I’m sure. Since we were coming up the less popular south side, it didn’t seem crowded at all. Squirrel was up ahead and there were 2 older couples between us. I eventually closed the gap with my steady progress, never once taking a break to sit and breathe. I actually felt really great! I’m pretty acclimated and am in the absolute best shape of my life…it is the first time I really felt like an athlete. I’m proud of how far I’ve come out here.

After having a snack on the summit it was time to head back to the CDT and see how many miles I could fit in the rest of the day. I have a bit of a schedule for the rest of Colorado, but don’t need to do any big days to meet my goals. 22 miles is a good place, never feels like I’m pushing too far, but I’m getting somewhere.

There were a lot of people climbing up the northern route on our way down. A lot! Adding to a very steep descent were people coming up every few moments, and I had to yield to most (some take the chance for a break), so the descent took quite a while as well. Once back on trail I ran into Cloud and we chatted a bit off and on, mostly hiking alone.

Cloud and Squirrel ended up camping near the river about a mile back. I wanted to stop as well, but haven’t been sleeping well, so decided to look farther up the trail for my own spot. It took a little bit, but I’m cozily in my tent away from mosquitoes and people. I’m praying for good sleep tonight…2 big climbs tomorrow, but i only have 22 miles planned. My new shoes really seem to make a big difference, though my left foot was aching by the end of the day. I think I extended myself a lot today, but never past my limits…which apparently includes doing a 22 mile day after summiting a 14er! Pretty solid! Also, I broke 1000 miles! It’s all happening so fast!

Dinner: mac and cheese with salsa and broccoli

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