CDT Day 97: North Sheep Mountain to Galena Mountain – Colorado Cruising Camp to Eggplant Camp
Miles hiked: 19.5
Total miles: 1667.5
Somehow another stop in town worked its way into our itinerary today. This time it was Leadville, a cool place in a beautiful place. We met up with some familiar faces, sacrificed way too much time shopping for an extra warm layer, then skedaddled as best we could. Oh yeah, an the hiking was pretty good too.
We got hiking a little after 7am, continuing the descent along a creek. It was warmish, but I hiked in my pants anyway with the sun solidly blocked by the ridge to the left. The light struck the tall yellow aspen first, causing them to glow splendidly and us to nearly stop hiking altogether. We turned into another valley, filled with more gold, cruising through a little bit more quickly this time. A little doowap through the woods, and we were at Hwy 24. We could either hitch to Leadville here or three miles further from Tennessee Pass, but of course, Spice snagged a ride from the first car to pass, less than 30 seconds. So off to Leadville with a local welder.
Morning turned to afternoon while we hemmed and hawed about whether or not to wait around for the super scarce fleeces at a local clothing establishment. There was nothing we could spend our hard earned money on at the moment, but new items were literally being sewn in front of our eyes. We linked up with Crunchberry and Rooster at a coffee shop to kill some time, taking advantage of this major dilemma to take a break and drink some hot things.
In the end we all did go back to the store and purchase a super hipster fleece each. I had mixed feelings about supporting this company (is the scarcity real or a marketing ploy?), but I’m happy to have the extra layer as it cools down out here. By this time, I was anxious to get back to the trail. Way too much time in this town. A local cop forced us to the edge of the city to start hitching, but it wasn’t far and Spice and I didn’t have to wait long for a ride. Back on the trail at 2:30pm.
The trail to Tennessee pass was an old mining road, wide and smooth, through a warm forest. Amazingly, coming the other way was Trail Bride and Copenhagen, the two newly weds. I hadn’t expected to see them again, so it was a real treat to catch up one last time. They headed north to finish their hike in Encampment, WY, we kept moving south.
The trail cruised for a long time. A couple cabins tempted us to visit, but we kept hiking until a late lunch at a creek. I stayed a little longer than Spice, then worked my butt off to catch up. Alpenglow on a distant ridge peaked through the trees all too soon. It was beautiful, but with the stop in town, I had many more miles left in my legs, yet little daylight left with which to take advantage.
As the sky darkened, the trail steepened, and our pace slackened. Instead of grinding away until the night got miserable, we set up camp in the nearest flat spot. Looking at the mileage, we are confident that we can still make it to Twin Lakes tomorrow if we focus. Not that it matters, but I think we both feel a little raw about losing so much hiking time to blatantly capitalistic brainwashing. Maybe it’s just me, or maybe we’re just looking for any excuse for a break these days. Happy to have the fleece in board, and looking forward to the supposedly amazing aspen color show in the next few days.