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!
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.
The views heading down to the South Platte River were spectacular.
After a gradual 3 mile descent, I crossed a large dirt road, and parking with heaps of cars.
There was a nice metal bridge to cross the river, which was a nice surprise since I was expecting to ford it.
The climb up the other side was hot and exposed.
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!
This was a shocking sign, though it didn’t prove true.
A trio of equestrians.
Chair Rocks in the distance.
I don’t know the name of this juvenile cactus, but I like it!
Lumber….we need lumber.
A 1996 wildfire eliminated 12,000 acres of ponderosa pine forest, and it’s still growing back.
I turned off the trail to get water at the North Fork fire hall, from a spigot behind the building.
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.
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.
An official overlook? What is this, the Appalachian Trail?
And a little while later, a peaceful aspen grove, just starting to bloom for spring.
And finally, I saw a cave!
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.
Tomorrow will be much more climbing!