Day 41: 26 Miles
We woke up to clear skies this morning and great views. We climbed over at least 7 passes today and stayed above 12,000 feet nearly the entire day, with a total of 6,100 feet of cumulative elevation gain. We dropped down to about 11,600 once or twice but that was it. Above treeline, we had no shade for miles on end.
We joined the Colorado Trail, and the evidence of trail maintenance was a welcome sight. Although the ups and downs were challenging, at least we had pretty clear trail that allowed us to make good time. We can still see the smoke in the distance, so hopefully our clear skies hold out for tomorrow.
Day 42: 19 Miles
Our clear skies persisted after all, and our day started out with a climb. For the first time we topped out over 13,000 feet!
We actually hit 3 high points over 13,000 before descending down toward Spring Creek Pass and the highway into Lake City. Along the way we passed a yurt, m maintained as a shelter for the Colorado Trail. We took a rest and a break from the wind before the final push to town.
We made it to the highway by 2:00pm, and as our luck would have it, a town local was just dropping some hikers back to the trail just as we hit the parking lot. They emptied out and we filled in! As we drove down to town, she filled us in on the local history, and also informed us that the forest we just came through is closing today due to fire danger. That’s the second time a section of forest has closed right behind us. Once in town we got a motel room and some food, took much needed showers and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. We’re taking a rest day tomorrow.
Day 43: 0 Miles
Today we took a day off in Lake City. It’s a tiny town, which makes it a perfect trail town because it’s easy to walk everywhere. We mailed our ice axes and microspikes home, did laundry, got our resupply for the next section, and watched plenty of South Park. Pretty much everything you need for a successful zero day.