Daily Miles: 21.5
Total Miles: 180.5
It turns out that we had camped between two different trailheads for climbing Mount Elbert. So, shortly after starting out this morning at 6:15, we ran into hikers heading up Mt Elbert. They assumed we were coming down from the summit already, and seemed pretty disappointed to learn that we were just hiking the CT. Somehow we managed to feel like slackers! 🙂
A few miles into the day, we started to have great views of Twin Lakes. We ended up walking around about 75% of the lake, which just seemed silly once we realized what was happening. Definitely not a direct route. The trail along the lake was very flat and exposed. We were glad to be walking that stretch at 8:15am, since we could tell it was going to be a hot day.
About 10 miles in for the day, the trail split into two different routes. The original CT follows the Collegiate East Route, and several years ago they added an alternate called the Collegiate West Route. The two routes are roughly the same length and meet up about 70 miles further down the trail. We figure that most CT hikers are taking the West Route, which stays at a higher elevation. We decided to do the East Route, because it stays lower and therefore we have a better chance of avoiding snow. Beardoh would have been happy with either Route, but SweetPea wanted to stay clear of the snow.
The trail was really quiet again today (except for the folks hiking up Mt Elbert). We only saw one section hiker, and a women we have seen several times who is supporting her husband who is hiking/biking the trail. Other than those two, we didn’t see anyone else. We know there are quite a few CT hikers, so we figure we must just be going a similar pace as most of them.
Our day ended with a pretty aggressive uphill…about 3,000 over five miles. We have been surprised at the number of steep ups and downs. We had just figured the trail was full of switchbacks to make the hiking easier, but alas that is not the case.
We stopped at 5pm for dinner and then had planned to hiked another 2-3 miles, but SweetPea’s hip really started hurting again after a mile, so we called it a day. Luckily we were able to find a spot right away, since most of what we had been hiking through wasn’t easily hammocked. Hopefully after a solid night of rest, we’ll be good to go tomorrow.