Miles: 21.5

Camp: My CDT mile 1260.7

*Now that I’m out of the big mountains I won’t be keeping track of elevation.

I’m pretty sure last night was the best night of sleep I have had since starting this trail. 4 days off sure must have  worn me out…though I completely threw off my sleep schedule. I stayed up late and slept in every day I was in town which made it extra hard to get moving this morning. My whole routine felt rusty and took longer than usual, though I was excited to climb Parkview Mountain today. 

The day started with a steady climb, getting my blood moving early. I felt good but not quite as strong as normal, my muscles perhaps having too much recovery time. Not really a worry though, as they’ll come back quick. It did cause me to move slower and take more time than I had planned for today. I’m really trying to finish this section fast to make up for time lost in town, but can only move so fast. There were unexpected ridge walks that really slowed me down, especially since the trail doesn’t have any tread in those sections. I wandered off a couple of times, but never too far off course.

I was pretty wiped from climbing Parkview, but it was amazing up there. I may have seen a lot of ridges, but they never grow old. The grassy slopes covered in wildflowers, the views that come with being on the highest point around, always feeling like you are literally on top of the world…it is a special kind of place, exhausting as they might be. That, and Parkview is the last time we are over 12,000 feet on this trail. We spent a good portion of Colorado around 12,000 feet and now we head into the great basin. There one more set of mountains between me and Wyoming- The Zirkels. They top out close to 12,000 feet but don’t quite make it and then there won’t be any ‘real’ mountains until the Wind River Range. 

Today was successful, though I would have liked to bag a couple more miles. I’m at the last reliable water for 32 miles, so I wanted to camp here and carry a little less. I do get to take a 9 mile hitch tomorrow because I already walked it! That takes a chunk out of the waterless stretch, and now I don’t have to do a 9 mile paved road walk. Kind of cool, but feels a bit like cheating. 

It’s been raining since I set up camp and a big thunder storm just passed through. The trail is welcoming me back with a big dose of reality today and I’m tired enough to prove it. I’m very excited to go to bed before 9 tonight. I think tomorrow is going to be a great day…I just needed to work out the kinks from taking a little time off.

Dinner: mac and cheese with bacon and bell peppers.