Day 76 – 18 Miles (1188 miles from Mexico)

The logistics of this section is getting to me. It’s a giant mind-game with your life. Seriously! The thunder storms every afternoon and the extended EXTENSIVE and long miles above tree-line make it very hard to plan the day or make miles without killing yourself.

I was hiking by 6am this morning, essentially with 18 miles above tree line, sometimes MILES from treeline, to make it to Berthoud Pass to meet my friends from the PCT Rocketman and Solar by about 2 or 3pm. Great, but then thunderstorms are predicted this afternoon, and the clouds start amassing about 10:30 in the morning. Only about half way through I start to pick up the pace and don’t stop for breaks. At about 7 miles to go I’m worried I won’t make it with the weather and think about bailing low and walking the highway, but I decide to go for it, and make the next 1,000′ climb up up up on top of everything. It’s beautiful up there, I’m hiking as fast as I can, it starts to rain a bit, but then stops, the neighbor mountains are getting rained on good, I stay in a lucky spot and I am so thankful. I make it to the pass about 1:30 just in time to see my two friends and their two kids walk up the trail, Yes!!!
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It's wonderful up here when the skies are blue!

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Friends!!!!

But I am done with this stress. Exhausted. Looking ahead I’m stuck with some impossible miles above treeline with a worsening forcast. While we were in Winter Park we heard that 15 people got struck by lightening trying to summit a 14er near by. FIFTEEN. AT 11:30AM. I’m not ok with that.

I am due to meet my Aunt in Grand Lake in 2 1/2 days. 55 miles, no problem, right? Ummm, not according to the map. So I’m going to get creative, hike north and do what I feel safe over the next day or two. Geez. I hear the terrain drops below treeline soon, I mean I’m all for lovely ridgewalks, but leave the lightening at home.

Anyway, I met Rocketman, Solar and their ADORABLE kids and they suggested going to Winter Park for food…gee, let me think…YES!! It was so good to catch up with them and meet (I’m going to mess up the spelling….) their kids Kiele and Kahlo, both born after the PCT. Their lives are busy with parenting, but it seems like they find time to get out and more importantly get their kids out hiking too. Great time catching up with some awesome hikers.

I bought a little more food and we had a second meal while enjoying music from the near-by blues fest, and finally I made it back up to the pass where I camped not too far in. The trail goes right up…don’t have much choice!

Tomorrow I get creative and get myself north.

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