Day 8 — The First Real Climb

Sunday, August 12, 2018 — Miles 71.7–91.4 (19.7 miles for the day)

JT is the first one up, and he sets about building a fire, a nice perk to wake up to. Neither of us did manage to get up for the meteor shower but Michelle did and said there wasn’t much to see.

We’re all relaxed and enjoying the morning as we tear down camp…just having too much fun camping in such a beautiful setting.

Finally we pack up and head out with Michelle planning to join for the first few miles. It’s close to 9am, but we still have ambitious mileage goals for they day.

At the trailhead I run into Kathy again, all done with her section hike. And we bump into Scott, an Appalachian Trail veteran, who we’ll end up leap frogging all day (while we’re laughing at the motivational banana in the trail register).

We head out and I immediately celebrate at how light my pack is; easily 10 pounds lighter with JT carrying my tent and food bag.

After our mid morning break, we say goodbye to Michelle, and JT and I press on to tackle the 6 mile climb up to Georgia pass. This is the first “real” climb of the trail so far. The forest is green and alive, and it’s a pleasant climb. We spend nearly 3 hours catching up on all that God has been doing in our lives in the last few years since we’ve seen each other.

A brief storm blows through and we huddle under some trees for a bit. But it’s quickly done, and we finish out at the top of the pass. It’s 12,000 feet in elevation, right smack on top of the continental divide. And miraculously the weather is perfect with NO WIND (I have never been on top of a mountain with such perfect weather!), so we savor the moment with a cup of coffee as we enjoy the view. This is easily one of the most stunning moments I’ve experienced yet on the trail, and I make a mental list of all the people who need to come back and see this.

And then we’re up again, heading down the other side of the pass. I take almost no pictures from this point on because we’re focused on finishing out our miles. We fill up with water at a stream, and do our last 3 miles “marine style”, which basically just means you haul ass.

We manage to set up camp just as the sun is going down, celebrating with a hefty helping of mac n cheese. We wash dishes, say some prayers together, and call it a night.

Tomorrow we finish 13 miles into Breckenridge. Ready for civilization!

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