Daily Miles: 16
Total Miles: 319
The trail this morning started out with more of the rutted out trails…same as yesterday. After a junction several miles in, it seemed that ATVs were also allowed, which also seemed to beat up the trail. The one positive was that it seemed like the ATV guys must clear out all the downed trees, so we didn’t have that to deal with this morning.
Once we started the climb for the day, we got off the ATV trails and entered the forest on really great trail. It felt like an enchanted forest, with a low growing ground cover and stands of lodge pole pines. The sky was clear and it just felt like a perfect day to be out hiking.
The climb continued until lunchtime. The trail up to Bowen Pass was so much better than what we climbed up yesterday. We had switchbacks and the grade was very reasonable. While it is still tiring to be going uphill at 11,000 feet of elevation, the climb seemed much more doable today.
We hung out at the pass for awhile, eating and resting before starting the downhill portion of our day. The downhill today was pretty moderate and we were back in the trees quickly.
The afternoon rain clouds came rolling in around 3pm and we heard the thunder for awhile before feeling any raindrops. Once it seemed like steady sprinkles, we set up a tarp and all got underneath. We decided to watch part of a movie (Jeremiah Johnson) which MountainMan had on his phone. It was a nice distraction, but our butts really started hurting and we were ready to keep walking once the rain stopped.
We walked a few more miles and there were tons of snow melt, tiny streams and springs. There was so much water, that it was often flowing down the trail. We crossed back and forth over a big creek, but luckily there were log bridges for each crossing, so our feet could stay pretty dry.
We are camped now just before the boundary for the Rocky Mountain National Park. Tomorrow we’ll head into Grand Lakes, where we’ll pick our resupply, eat some town food, do a few town tasks and then head back on the trail for some afternoon miles.