August 23, 2010
Today’s Miles: 16.7
Total Miles: 295.9
Breakfast Elevation: 7,083 ft
Dinner Elevation: 11,160 ft
High Point: 11,920 ft
We have breakfast at the hostel and Kimberly drives Ole, Meadow Bruiser, and me to the trail at Monarch Pass. This trailhead is technically for the Continental Divide Trail, which will intersect our Colorado Trail in about eight miles. This is not the place where we left the trail to go into Salida, but the hiking distance is about equal and the CDT follows a ridge that’s supposed to be more scenic.
Ole and Meadow Bruiser head directly for the trail, but I choose to linger at the pass for a few minutes. There’s a touristy roadside gift shop that offers some snacks, and I get a coffee and homemade fudge before taking to the trail.
The CDT isn’t as well marked as the Colorado Trail, and I take a wrong turn. Losing a good chunk of time before realizing my mistake, it’s now virtually impossible to catch up with Ole and Meadow Bruiser. They’re fast hikers.
Here at this meadow I reach the junction with the Colorado Trail and take a break.
Passing clouds are all around, but it’s been a dry day so far.
The rain finally arrives just in time for me to reach Green Creek Shelter, the only shelter on the Colorado Trail. It’s covered in graffiti, and I pause for quite some time here. I pause not only just to stay out of the rain, but because the atmosphere of a shelter brings back a flood of memories.
I sit alone in the rain under the cover of the shelter and enjoy a snack as I’ve done so many times before, entertaining my own wandering thoughts that are about nothing in particular when drowned in the surrounding nature.
Even though it’s vandalism, this phrase HAYDUKE LIVES always makes me happy when I see it carved along a hiking trail. I saw the same thing on my thru-hike of the John Muir Trail last year, in a restroom at Red’s Meadow.
I can’t help but enjoy all the carvings in a shelter when it’s been around for decades… so much more character than a brand new, palace of a lean-to that still smells of fresh wood.
The sun comes out long before I get up and start hiking again.
These ATV riders pass me twice as I approach Marshall Pass.
I picked up my iPod at the post office in Salida to provide some motivation for the second half of this hike (With my ailing foot), so I was lucky to hear them coming. It was a crazy game of poker.
All the colors come out.
I climb into a meadow and it’s a nice moment.
I turn a corner and there’s Ole and Meadow Bruiser, all set up in camp and enjoying some literature.
I talk with them and decide to move farther down the trail, but it’s not far at all before I come upon a beautiful campsite – great for viewing both the sunset and sunrise.
It’s a perfect evening as I enjoy Creations’s show over a macaroni and cheese dinner.