Daily Miles: 18
Total Miles: 382
Happy Birthday to Beardoh!
We had a really nice zero day in Glenwood yesterday. The motel owner was really sweet, we got to hang out with our friends (Purple and Carnivore), and we got to eat lots of food. Still no new shoes for SweetPea, but we have a plan for them to get forwarded 150 miles up the trail.
This morning we went to breakfast in Alma with Purple and Carnivore. We mentioned to our waitress that it was Beardoh’s birthday and she brought out his chicken-fried steak breakfast with a birthday candle in it…perfect!
We got back on our route around 8:45am and Purple and Carnivore walked with us on a dirt road for the first few miles. Then they headed back to their car and we continued on. It was really good to hang out with them over the weekend, so we were glad they were able to come out to Glenwood.
The dirt road lasted about 5.5 miles and then we finally came to a trailhead. The Mineral Creek Trail was pretty cool. The trail itself had some issues from a flood about five years ago, but it went through this really awesome canyon. At the beginning, the creek was low enough that we could rock hop back and forth across the creek. Eventually we had to ford a couple times, and then SweetPea didn’t even bother rock hopping anymore, and just forded a bunch of times. Beardoh did better with the rocks since his legs are so long.
The canyon had a lot of little waterfalls, and gigantic boulders (probably the size of at least four cars). In some spots, the walls of the canyon were really close and high up. These kinds of little canyons have been a real highlight of the trail.
This trail was the first time in the trip that we have seen any day hikers. We are used to having the trail to ourselves, but it was nice to see people out using the trails. After 1.5 miles in, we didn’t see anymore people, so the trail was ours again soon enough.
After walking through the canyon for about four miles, we got on a trail that took us out of the canyon. Unfortunately that meant going up a really steep trail. It did take pity on us after a bit and threw in some switchbacks, but it was pretty challenging. We ended up gaining 1,000 feet on elevation in just 40 minutes of hiking! This section of trail, despite being very steep was probably the beat maintained section of trail that we have experienced on the GET- a nice surprise.
Once we got up to the saddle, we stopped for a break. It was nice to sit amongst the pine trees again. This stretch is going to have us at pretty high elevation (and passing the high point of the trail over 10,000 feet), so hopefully we will be able to enjoy the pine forests for a few more days.
We continued on with a bit of a descent until we got to a dirt road. We ended up walking that road for the rest of the day. It was really quiet, with only two motorcycles passing us, and we talked with one lady car camping along the road with her dogs.
Tonight, we are at 9,100 feet and the wind is blowing strong – forecast had mentioned sustained winds around 20mph down in town and at 4000 feet above, the winds seem stronger on the mountain top. . We found a little nook that had been built up with logs and bark around it as wind protection. Once we saw that, we figured it was going to be the best situation for the night. Luckily it’s not too cold this evening, so hopefully we’ll be able to stay warm this high up and with the wind.
The walking today has been the best of the trail. Granted 2/3 of our miles today were on dirt roads, but even that part of the walking was smooth with a gradual climb. The trail was decent, and even really quite good once we got out of the canyon. Walking on nice trails covered with pine needles always makes us happy. It was a nice birthday present for Beardoh to have day of such pleasant and easy walking.