Day 9: Southbound into the CDT herd

Tuesday June 29, 26.3mi/42.3km

Porcupine Creek (151.1/11280ft) to Twin Lakes/Hwy 82 (177.4/9324ft) (CO)

I was up at 6am with the daylight, and slowly packed up in the tent, waiting for the day to warm up. I hiked out at 7am into a foggy world.

The trail stayed high, and it wasn’t warm, maybe 50F/10C. Where did summer go? I passed by a few small lakes but felt no urge to go swimming.

This one was more of a swamp than a lake. The mountain behind it was hiding in the fog.

I loved the reflection on this little pond.

It must’ve rained quite a bit up here, all the little streams were rushing fast.

The fog slowly began to dissipate, and I had a view of the mountains from my ridgeline vantage point.

Since I couldn’t see the distant views, I focused on the nearby ones. Like the trail cut into a steep bank.

As I descended off the ridge, the world became more green, and the trail was less rocky.

And I entered the Mt Massive Wilderness!

At the bottom of the descent, I crossed a raging Brook on a very solid bridge.

After lunch, I started crossing paths with a few CDT nobos (northbound-ers). They were all friendly, but didn’t say much, being on a mission to get to Canada by October. And then the most random thing happened, I ran into a friend from the PCT (2015)! Beer Goddess and I were both very surprised to see each other.

We had a quick conversation, and then continued in our respective directions. A little while later, I had my first views of Mt. Elbert, a nearby 14er.

The trail was very smooth and fast the rest of the day, and I cruised along toward my goal of Twin Lakes.

I came to a road, and the Mt Massive trailhead. There was a stream nearby, so I took my final break of the day. Only 5 miles to go.

The trail switchbacked uphill for a mile, and the last one was a very sharp turn. This was an interesting perspective.

The trail junction for the Mt Elbert summit was soon after, and someone had built the most delicate looking Cairn.

The super smooth trail continued!

Just before dropping off the ridge into Twin Lakes, I passed by a few ponds. The beavers were very busy here!

I could see down to the lakes, which seemed impossibly far down for only two miles to go.

The trail descended steeply, and I could see my objective getting closer.

There was a fork in the trail, and it was a tough decision, but I continued in the Colorado Trail, since that’s where my ride was expecting to meet me. (The other option had restaurants!)

After walking downhill for another mile and a half, I came to highway 82. Surprisingly, the trail didn’t cross the road, but went UNDER it!

I planned to stay at a hiker hostel about 5 miles from trail, so I had arranged a ride from this spot. Britney came by around 6:45pm, and drove me to the hostel. I enjoyed a shower and some nice soup, and got ready for bed. A couple other CDT nobos came in at 9pm, and I fell asleep soon after.

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