On My Own

Day 3 began with a longer drive as I am getting further from Denver with each hike. Today will also be different as instead of a 5 lb daypack, I’ll be carrying everything needed to get to Frisco, CO, 5 days distant.

Driving out to the Little Scraggy Trailhead, we passed a bull elk, waiting to cross the highway. The animals may have been out, but people were not. Arriving at the trailhead at 6:30, we were the only car. The sky was absolutely clear, but it was only 42 degrees. Maybe I should have packed that long sleeve shirt.

The trail was void of other hikers as well, but again the scenery did not disappoint. Climbing to still higher elevations, I walked through alpine meadows filled with Wildflowers and huge stands of aspen trees. Walking quietly, I startled multiple deer.

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Throughout the crystal clear morning, I got numerous views of the still bigger mountains awaiting me to the west. Several still had quite a bit of snow on them. Maybe I really should have packed that long sleeve shirt.

The weather was a repeat of the day before, with thunderstorms building up in the afternoon. There was no brewpub to escape to today though. Luckily, I was able to hike into the Lost Creek Wilderness Area as I had planned, set up camp and eat dinner before the lightning and rain started pounding. The temperature is dropping and lightning is hitting all around. I normally use my fleece for a pillow, but instead I’m wearing it. Should make for an interesting evening.

Day 4. Cool and clear weather. The trail started climbing in a hurry this morning, gaining over 1,000 feet in elevation in a couple miles. It was like taking the stairs at the Carew Tower (or other 50 story structure) twice, with a backpack, and with 30% less oxygen than normal.

On the climb I ran into two other thru-hikers, Eric and Virginia. They are actually going to skip the section from Kenosha Pass to Salida to avoid any snow. They’ll pick up that section later in the summer. I may wish I had that long sleeve shirt yet.

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After the climb, the trail entered a beautiful wide valley with a crystal clear creek running through it. It was perfect timing as I was running low on water. No matter how good the water looks, I do filter it however. After getting the water I followed the trail upstream. A small herd of elk crossed the creek in front of me. I assume the filter can handle elk pee. The valley continues for several miles and I noticed at least 6 beaver dams on the creek. I really hope the filter handles beaver poo as well.

The day was going to be a long one as I planned to go 18 miles. I was tired and limping when I arrived at the area I was to camp. There were only 2 flat spots around and surprisingly both were taken. There was nothing to do but keep walking. Hungry as I was, I began eating trail mix while I walked. Not paying attention, I rolled my ankle on a rock, crashed to the ground and to top it off, damaged my camera. Not my best moment. On the bright side, my twisted ankle took my mind off the foot. As my knee was bleeding, it was time to break out the massive first aid kit. An alcohol wipe and bandaid took care of most of the issue. I’ll have to be careful going forward. The first aid supplies are now half gone.

Good as new
Good as new

After limping another mile or so, I spotted a small flat area (there are less of them than you would imagine) and called it a day. Total distance for the day was 20 1/2 miles.