Thursday, April 18th, 2019
We heard elk calls in the middle of the night and woke up to a freezing morning. We packed up quickly and walked over several patches of snow under Ponderosa pines. After a few stream crossings, we took a break to shed some layers since we had finally warmed up. I’d find it a little difficult navigating and wasn’t the only one. Once I got back to the switchback after relocating it, Gerber would appear out of nowhere over a mound of rocks, winded, but relieved. “So that’s where the trail is!”
After a short climb, the trail turned into dirt roads for a while, then traveled downhill to East Clear Creek. It was an ankle-deep stream crossing in ice cold water. Frisbee and Rosey found it refreshing. I felt like my feet might fall off.
We caught a closer view of the San Francisco Peaks before our long lunch break at Blue Ridge campground. When we were finished eating, we were ready to crush some miles, so we said goodbye to Rosey and waved to Gerber who was just arriving.
The smooth single track suddenly turned into infinite rocks before our next break at Sheepherders Tank.
Since getting my feet wet this morning, I was starting to develop blisters, so the uneven, rocky terrain was putting me in a less than pleasant mood. At least we accomplished mile 500, and got to see tons of elk throughout the day.
We decided that we were going to night hike. We weren’t pleased with our daily mileage. For some reason, when the terrain is flat, we both get unmotivated and sluggish. I suppose it’s because you’re working the same muscles the entire time, which isn’t the case when climbs and descents are involved.
We got some nice shots of the moon as it started getting dark.
Before searching for a place to camp, we stopped at Wild Horse Tank to stock up on water. Of course, everywhere after that was rocky or on a slant. Not ideal tent sites.
Eventually we found a spot by mile 516.3. The minor inconvenience was somewhat beneficial. Although we were unstimulated and slow moving, we still tackled some good mileage. It also ended up being a much warmer night than the last!
34.5 miles (55.5 km)