Day 2: Ridge above Bear Creek to Morrison Creek

Wednesday May 13, 22.0mi/35.4km

Ridge above Bear Creek (9.8/6611ft) to Morrison Creek (31.8/7730ft) (CO)

I was awake at 6:30am, and the sun was already above the treetops. I ate breakfast in my tent to stay warmer, then packed up and hiked out at 7am. I saw my first trail marker, and it was almost devoured by the tree!

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I started with thin gloves and a hat, but by 9am it had warmed enough that I packed them away. I re-packed my pack and ate 2nd breakfast at this very nice campsite.

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The views heading down to the South Platte River were spectacular.

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After a gradual 3 mile descent, I crossed a large dirt road, and parking with heaps of cars.

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There was a nice metal bridge to cross the river, which was a nice surprise since I was expecting to ford it.

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The climb up the other side was hot and exposed.

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Actually, the next 10 miles were hot and exposed. A wildfire had decimated the forest, and although it was starting to grow back, the young trees didn’t provide any shade. But, there were interesting things to see along the way!

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This was a shocking sign, though it didn’t prove true.

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A trio of equestrians.

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Chair Rocks in the distance.

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I don’t know the name of this juvenile cactus, but I like it!

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Lumber….we need lumber.

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A 1996 wildfire eliminated 12,000 acres of ponderosa pine forest, and it’s still growing back.

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I turned off the trail to get water at the North Fork fire hall, from a spigot behind the building.

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I drank a liter too quick, and got a cold headache, but it was still worth it. I filled another liter, left them a donation, then returned to the trail.

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The next section was nice and shaded, but also with tons of mountain bikers, passing by every 5 minutes. Towards the end of the day, I saw all these cool lumpy rock formations.

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An official overlook? What is this, the Appalachian Trail?

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And a little while later, a peaceful aspen grove, just starting to bloom for spring.

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And finally, I saw a cave!

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The last mile of the day was to Morrison Creek, where I stopped to make dinner. I hiked another 5 minutes, and setup camp at 6:30pm, It’s early, but today was an easy flat day.

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Tomorrow will be much more climbing!

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