Total Miles: 371.8
Up a few more flights of stairs to the roof of Colorado, that’s where we were headed. At a cruising altitude of 12,000 feet and with an idyllic summer day to enjoy it, it’s easy to do the smart thing and let the snow-speckled photos do most of the talking.
Under a benevolent sun, the trail followed the spine of the divide for most of the day with occasional patches of trail that would vanish and reappear to connect the string of posts ￼that marked the way. If only these photos had sound, the posts and trail signs would whistle and hum in the near-constant westerly breeze that whipped us all day. Not quite the level of wind machine that we had on the downright arctic day of the first week, but enough to make our faces feel good and raw by day’s end.
What little we could hear between the howling of the wind was the squeaking of scurrying pikas and marmots whistling amid their kingdom of rocks. For such adorably furry and playful creatures, they sure know how to pick inhospitable locations to call home.
With our first climb over 13,000 feet on tap, it wasn’t exactly the most convenient of days to feel less than 100% but what can you do? Dragging my body feels like the right description for what the miles were like today, reducing everything to individual footsteps and labored breaths.
What made headlines today was the absence of a traffic jam in the clouds. For the first time since we’ve been in Colorado, there would be no pile up in the interstate of the sky, no symphony of thunder to herald the afternoon. All was sun and wind and trail.