Day 61-Rt 24 to Copper Mountain,CO-24 miles

A surely stunning, mostly immensely satisfying day of slack packing made possible by Bird Dawg’s generous gift of his car, while he was working.
We started early today, after dropping BD off at 6:30 am. We had until 4:40 to make the miles, so there was no fooling around. Our benefactor asked to be retrieved at 5 PM.
It’s easy to hike fast with nothing on your back. Train volunteered to carry my water bottle and snacks for the day. The guy is a mountaineering saint.
The first part was dealing with relatively flat gravel roads around the old 10th Mountain Division training area. Then we went up, some 2,500 feet of elevation, all the way to 12,200′ to Kokomo Pass, where the trail stayed smack dab high the whole three miles to Searle Pass, where the long descent to the base of the Copper Mountain ski area began.
I hiked north with Train all day, with Lee and Louis walking the same section from Copper Mountain south.
The hiking went really well. Train and I were able to ascend 1,200 feet, of course without real loads in a pack, in a 45 minute period.
My friend Ben asked me how my respiration was at 12,000 feet. It was surprisingly normal. There have been days when I had to gulp air up that high, with little steps on the uphills. But not today, when I’ve eaten plenty, and hydrated well, correcting my mistakes in those areas from yesterday. I was able to fly along today. Maybe the little bottle of Five Hour Energy helped?
There was snow up high, but it was not a significant impediment. The trail was easy to follow, even dealing with snow fields.
I had one fall today, on a greasy little section of ledge. Results were a cut palm. Not bad. I fell right on my left side, and my whole back and left thigh and ass were coated in mud, which thankfully dried quickly on there synthetic fabrics I am wearing.

I loved hiking today.
It is finally a pure big world of joy up on the ridge in the sky today.

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Day 45 on the CDT -May 31

Platoro to campsite past Summitville
16 miles

20130602-212916.jpg Back to world class hiking. Colorado reared its beautiful head today , instead of acting like a donkey kicking us aside our skulls.
We ate breakfast next to a guy, last name I think is Rice, from College Station, Texas who completed the Tour Divide bicycle race last year. He had a huge breakfast, looked like four thick slices of French toast and a gargantuan platter of eggs, potatoes, and bacon. He was 5 days out from Antelope Wells and is currently attempting a yo-yo of the Tour Divide. He told us he’ll average 140 miles a day in order to make the start of the race in early June in Banff, where he’ll race all the way back to the Mexico border again. Big guy- 6’4″. Not a biker’s frame at all. He said we were crazy to walk the Divide.
We did mostly road walking today, but the roads had zero cars or trucks on them. We put 6 miles down in the first 1 hour and 50 minutes today. It was a big day of climbing, some 2,500 feet today. Lots of snow melt coming down the rocky streams crossing our paths.
The gloriously huge mountains all around us were bursting with colors today. The skies were deep blue, with cumulus clouds – favorable and streaking across the sky.
We walked a desolate forest road for 9 miles, then turned up a stream flowage and followed an ancient trail 6 more ascending miles that put us smack dab at Summitville, way up high and unfortunately the location of one of the top the Superfund cleanup sites in the nation. We got out if there as quickly as possible. They ripped the side off a majestic mountain and used arsenic to leach out the ores. Sad.
We are now walking forest road to Ell Norte, where we know there are two outdoor outfitters and stores. Train has to get shoes. Has to.
After we walk El Norte, we plan to get to South Fork, where we’ll pick up some more specialized maps that will allow us to reach Creede.
The CDT suits the MegaTex style very well, in that no two people are likely to ever hike this trail the same manner or path, as it is an incomplete trail, more of a corridor that closely follows the actual Divide itself.
Some of you know that I listen to podcasts of my great friend Lock’s Monday nigh radio broadcast. Well, he hit me over the head with one song I heard while hiking alongside the roading Wightman Fork off forest road 250. I highly recommend listening to the “She and Him” (M. Ward and Zoey Deschanel ) rendition of the doo-wop gem ” Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me.” It took about 4 seconds of listening to the song for me to melt into a sobbing lump as I stumbled along within the beauty that surrounded me.
This spontaneous crying- loud and wet, only happens to me when I am out, and away from the trappings of society in these months long hikes that I partake in. When we are trapped in what Birdlegs so aptly calls the Shower World we need emotional armor to allow ourselves survival in that often hurtful and overwhelming setting.
Make no mistake, I am not crying because I’m sad- it is uncontained, overwhelming emotion that passes through me.
Get some. Somehow, somewhere. It’s a blessing.