CDT Day 125: 19 miles /30 km

CDT SOBO: Mile 1846.7 – 1852.7 + Ley Maps Alternate 6 miles + Mile 1862.0 – 1869.0

Monday August 19, 2019

Camp (10,400ft) – Twin Lakes (9,300ft) – Hope Pass (12,530ft ) – Camp (10,100ft)

There is always excitement when breaking camp on a town visit day. This morning I was awake at 3.30am, excited plus to get going. But patience prevailed and I waited for Hammer to wake up before we started to pack. We had 6 miles before reaching Highway 82 and another 2 miles along the highway into Twin Lakes.

From our campsite the trail follows the Leadville 100 mile race course to Twin Lakes. We passed through enormously tall aspens lit by the rising sun. The moon stayed high in the sky well after sunrise. It was quite a magical but cold start to the day. The air smelt pure and clean.

We were camped 6 miles from the trail junction with Highway 82. No one actually hikes the indicated trail east of the lake, bypassing the town. We took the Ley maps purple alternate route to town and reconnected back with the trail from the west side of the lake. There isn’t really much to the town, a general store, a coffee truck and a food van. It was very peaceful and quite when we arrived just before 9am. After picking up our resupply box, having some great coffee from Percolated Perks and lunch from Punkys and the General Store, it was time to get back on trail.

So with our packs loaded with food for the next leg and our bellies groaning we headed out of town. We followed the road on the west shore of the lake until we reached a bridge crossing over the river. It was warm and the sun was shining. The climb up to rejoin the trail started as soon we crossed the river. For the next four hours we ground our way up 2,200 feet in elevation gain on the steepest climbs we’ve experienced so far. We were still on the Leadville 100 course up to Hope Pass. It was a tough and challenging climb. The rising slope just did not let up.

It was a lovely day and there were quite few people out enjoying the challenge of the climb. It seemed like the top of the Pass would never come. Once above the treeline there was still a mile of climbing to the top. We made the top of the Pass feeling shattered by the effort.

The descent was not much better, with very steep slopes and rocky, slippery and at times dusty terrain. We decided to stop early, as soon as we were off the slope. It was great to get horizontal. My feet and legs were vibrating with fatigue. Hammer was asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.