Wednesday, August 12th, 2020
I had a rough night of sleep. I think the lack of oxygen is not only affecting me when I climb, but as a whole. I felt like I was suffocating throughout the night. It was the strangest, most uncomfortable feeling. Another factor affecting my ability to sleep was that it was incredibly windy. If you’ve ever slept under a tarp in heavy wind, you’re probably familiar with the loud flapping noise you have to put up with.
We passed by Jafar in the morning. He was loosely, sprawled out on his sleep mat, laying on top of boulders. He came through during the middle of the night enjoying an intense acid trip. The scenery that followed would plant the “Jurassic Park” theme song in my head the remainder of the day. This would be a re-occurring song in my brain. If this hike had a soundtrack, it would definitely make the cut. It’s very suitable though. It’s so wide open and free out here.
We entered boulder fields as we made our way down. It was incredibly windy all day, so taking breaks wasn’t really an option. At least not a comfortable one. It would all work out in the end. We walked next to tall walls of rock, then we looked down to see what appeared to be the remains of an old railroad. We knew we were close to civilization when a plaque appeared. This was the location where they test ran the Full Centrifugal Snow Excavator. In the 1890s, they used this massive snowplow to clear the train tracks when rock slides or snow slides occurred.
We reached the Alpine Tunnel trailhead and met a trail angel named Caveman. He was kind enough to bring a cooler of sodas and packed out our trash. I kept my food in a plastic grocery bag and it suddenly went missing while we were watching all of the tourists flying by on their Side by Sides (SxS). We’d both laugh when we realized that Caveman had mistaken it for trash and put in in his trash bag. At least I found it!
We thanked him and got moving, just Bang, Frisbee, and I. Filter stuck around with Caveman to smoke a cigarette. He’d catch up later. Bang asked one of the drivers of the SxS’s if he could catch a hitch to the top of the hill. We laughed watching Bang hang on for dear life as the SxS bumped along all the way up the rocky road. The climbs that followed weren’t hateful. We walked passed people fishing at the lakes then we had one more climb across the Continental Divide to conquer. Compared to what we had been hiking, this day wasn’t too bad on the legs.
The four of us took a short break at Boss Lake where we had phone service. We wanted to make sure we had a room booked for Salida. Then we pushed through the wind to get to Hunt Lake, mile 69.7 of the Collegiate West Alternate. There were already people camped in the good spots, but we found a decent one next to the lake. It was beautiful! Sadly, it was too windy to truly enjoy. Setting up my tarp was a lot of fun too.
25.7 miles (41.4 km)
Jump Ahead to The Colorado Trail: Part 13
Jump Back to The Colorado Trail: Part 11
Start from the Beginning: The Colorado Trail: Part 1