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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Salida to Leadville

Back at Monarch Pass, the trail went up. It was a rocky up and down for another 100 or so miles.
The first day started off on an exposed ridge with high winds, but soon descended to a few alpine lakes, but lots of old roads. I managed to lose the trail three different times on road junctions I just didn't see. After talking to others, I wasn't alone.
The second day felt like all roads up and down mountains. It was exahusting and did not provide many photos.
I only did 28 miles the second day not quite over the pass I was shooting for. I went up and over the pass the third morning and found a snow cornice at the top. I followed footprints along the top towards the trail. Then there was a four foot drop down the face of the cornice to the scree covered trail. It was still icy and solid since it was only 8.30. I figured I could jump, but first needed to drop my gear. I tossed my poles with no problem. I took off my pack and gently slid it down. It hit the trail and just kept going. I stood there watching my pack tumble end over end for 100 yards across a rock field until it finally came to a stop. There wasn't much I could except curse at it as it tumbled. So then it was my turn. I jumped and slid a couple feet only leaving a small bruise and cut on my leg. Even though the pack had gone for a ride, I was glad I hadn't tried jumping with it on my back. When I got down to it, my pack was in great shape. Only a snickers bar feel out of it and the damage was limited to: ripping off my bite valve, a cracked hip belt buckle and a cracked GPS case. All in all everything still worked and I was glad I had a little heavier but durable pack. It's name was now officially "The Beast."
The rest of the day was pretty slow and I unmotivational. I took lots of breaks as the trail went straight up another pass for 3000 vertical feet. I was ready to be done with Colorado at that point and camped next to the river that night.
On the next day I kept running into other hikers who told me that my friends were only an hour or so in front of me. I decided I needed to make it to Tennessee Pass and Leadville that night to meet up with them again. I pushed it hard all day, finishing 15 miles by noon. I kept up the pace all afternoon as the trail gained elevation and finished the last three miles strong, even though it was uphill. I don't understand how a trail that is supposed to follow a ridge goes uphill to a pass on a road. I made it to the pass at 8.45pm completing a 35 mile day. I got a ride in 10 minutes and was on my way to Leadville.

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