Day 15 — Begin to Climb

Sunday, August 19, 2018 — CW miles 186.9–190.2 + 3.9 to the trail (7.2 miles for the day)

The runners kept coming through until the middle of the night, but we didn’t notice much with our ear plugs in. We sleep in until 7, and aren’t bothered by a single soul. Successful stealth camping.

The morning is glorious, and we both marvel at the fact we’ve never been to Twin Lakes, never seen these views.

We make coffee straight away, basking in the comforts of a picnic table right by our tent. We use this time to plan out the next 5 or 6 days, our longest stretch yet. The trail diverges into two routes for the next hundred miles, an east route along the Collegiate peaks and a west route. We decide we’ll take Collegiate West. It has some of the steepest climbs of the entire trail, but also some of the best vistas.

We use some of our free time this morning to listen to a sermon and pray together—sort of a mini church service. Then I call my mom, and I’m thrilled to hear how well she’s doing. Still scheduled for surgery tomorrow, but she’s used her bed ridden time this weekend to make a list of all the small miracles that shaped her ordeal on the mountain. It’s so amazing to me that she’s focusing her energy like this.

We assess our food supply, and head to the general store to supplement the areas where we lack. Then we hang out in front of the store, charging our devices and chatting with other hikers. We’re not heading out until Liam arrives, as we want to do lunch with him.

He comes into town right on schedule at noon, and the three of enjoy a delicious lunch at the only restaurant in Twin Lakes.

And then it’s time for us to be off. We’re taking a trail that leads directly to the Collegiate West trailhead, instead of the long way around the lakes. The purist in me doesn’t feel great about missing those 8ish miles, but then it’s always a good idea to work smarter, not harder. Plus we get to cross a stream, which is pretty fun.

We don’t have to do a lot of miles today, but they’re straight up the side of the mountain. Some of the steepest trail I’ve seen yet. It takes us nearly 3 hours to do 3 miles.

We stop at tree line for the day, just before Hope Pass, which we’ll summit tomorrow.

We’re at 12,000 feet and the temperature is dropping rapidly. Hopefully we’ll stay warm!

Isaac says: having a great time meeting people on the trail, and getting to know them and their stories. This is one of our main goals for the trip, to build relationships along the way.

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