Day 12 starts, like nearly every day, cool and sunny.
Going through Mt Massive Wilderness area. Much of the day in spent in heavy pine forest, with just an occasional glimpse of the rightly named Mt Massive. At 14,421 feet tall, it’s a few feet shorter than nearby Mt Elbert, tallest in the state, but appears to be a bigger rock.
My brother Bob has flown out to visit and he and Dan are walking towards me from the other end of the section. With 4 miles left in a 17 mile day, we meet up. It’s great to see them. Even better, Bob shoulders my pack the rest of the way to the car.
First we drove to the Twin Lakes General Store to pick up a box I’d mailed to myself. Other than looking like it had been kicked from Cincinnati to Colorado, it was fine. After checking in at the Leadville Super 8, (the only thing we overlook is the slag heap,) it’s off to the Golden Burro bar n grill. We all got bean burritos, though they should not be served to anyone over 65; at least not if you share a motel room with them.
Another sunny day, getting warmer. Almost like taking a day off. Hiking a short (12 mile) section that’s relatively flat. and the best part is my brother Bob is carrying a daypack with everything we might need for the day. I’m carrying absolutely nothing and I feel like I’m floating. Dan walks with us for a the first mile or so, then heads back to the car so he can meet us near the end of the day’s hike (after a nap).
With no pack and easy conversation, the miles fly by. The scenery alternates between conifers and huge groves of Aspen, with occasional glimpses of Mt Elbert and Massive. After about six miles we start seeing Twin Lakes. Despite its name, there’s really only one lake that gets pretty narrow in the middle. Regardless, it’s a pretty sight as we drop out of the woods to walk along the bank. You’d think that would be an interesting section, but it’s 4 miles long with absolutely no shade. It’s around noon and the sun is starting to roast me through the sunscreen.
With about two miles of lakeshore to go, Dan comes walking up with another hiker. Marvin is another thru-hiker that skipped the snow area and is now hiking back toward it. Dan took great pleasure in letting him know he’ll still be dealing with snow (though much less than even a few days ago).
The afternoon job for me was the laundromat, though I can’t say the washing got my socks to smell fresh. While I was out, I also picked up some “liquid skin” to paint over, and hopefully protect my blisters. Dan and Bob filled the time catching up on their beauty sleep.
That evening, it was back to the Golden Burro, but no one was allowed the get burritos. After buffalo burgers all around, there was still time to find a TV and watch the Rockies lose another game. All in all, a great change of pace. I’m 180 miles deep into the hike