Day 8: Familiar Terrain

Monday June 28, 24.9mi/40.1km

Guller Creek (126.2/11775ft) to Porcupine Creek (151.1/11280ft) (CO)

I packed up a damp tent and hit the trail at 7:30am. The moon was still out!

I made my way up and over Searle Pass, and I was in the alpine for miles and miles.

I saw several other westbound CT hikers, and chatted with Fresh Prince, a hiker from Austin TX. He stopped and took a break to dry his tent, I kept going. The alpine ridges are so cool.

I went thru Kokomo Pass, just above 12,000ft.

After the pass, I spent the rest of the morning hiking downhill.

An hour later, the trail dropped into a really dense aspen forest.

Nearly at the bottom of the descent, I took a break at a very short waterfall.

The trail came out of the forest and joined a dirt road. Apparently there was an old military testing area near here, and not all the landmines were accounted for.

I walked the dirt road for a few minutes, and I could hear ATVs in the distance.

Shortly after turning off the road, I passed by part of the old military base.

It was hot and sunny, but I still had an uphill climb before lunch. The trail was nice and shaded, and even had a couple benches along the way!

When I got to highway 24, I quickly crossed the busy road. It’s one of the few ways thru the mountains around here.

A minute later, I crossed some railroad tracks, which appeared unused.

I had lunch near the tracks, and then hiked thru a meadow full of willows.

The trail gradually climbed out of the meadow and into a forest. I was very surprised to see a moose come crashing thru the woods across the trail. It was a little terrifying, and I didn’t even think to get a photo. The trail soon turned into a nice old road.

It passed by some old coke ovens, used to cook coal into coke. Neat.

A mile later, I came out to the highway again, this time at Tennessee Pass.

The trailhead parking lot was empty, so I had the bathrooms and picnic tables all to myself. Refreshed from a nice break, I enjoyed the nice forested trail.

And a swing bench in the middle of nowhere, which was very random.

It was still a nice sunny day, which was surprising. Usually by 3pm it turns cloudy and threatens to thunderstorm.

Near the end of the day, I entered Holy Cross Wilderness, and it started to rain.

I spent the next hour hiking, looking for a campsite that was flat, but also not flooded. I finally found a spot under a dense pine tree, setup quickly, and made dinner inside.

I have a pretty good rain setup with my umbrella, so I was very dry. It was nice being in a warm tent listening to the light rain outside. It stopped an hour later, as I was falling asleep.

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