Day 3 — Hiker Legs

Monday, June 29 — Miles 297.9-316.8 (18.9 miles for the day)

Sweet blessed sleep. I awake this morning feeling decently well rested and thankful that last night proved a bit warmer. Isaac and I are slow to get going, but we don’t anticipate a hard hiking day. Yesterday we limped into camp feeling pretty beat down, so today we’ve set more modest goals.

We make coffee and pack up camp before hitting the road.

Our day starts with a fierce but brief (one mile) climb, followed by an intense decent. After that our trail joins a logging road and we follow it as it gently descends to the valley below.

This logging apparatus appears to have lost its owner

Five miles into the day and we cross a busy highway (with cars! and lots of people!). We follow the highway for a short distance than veer off into a meadow, where we take the opportunity to soak our feet in a stream and filter water. Yesterday we saw only one solitary hiker, but in the span of a mile we encounter several day hikers, a couple thru-hikers, two bikers, and many folks on horses. As a lover of people, I’m thrilled to see so many in one place.

We spend the rest of the afternoon with easy ups and downs that weave into forests and out to open, rolling hills. At one point we hike with a couple for a few miles and enjoy getting to know them. They’re a bit older (early 70s?), but they’ve been attempting the Colorado Trail one segment at a time. 20 down, 8 to go!

Later in the day our trail joins a dirt road, and we follow that for many a mile. By 3:30 we’ve reached our intended campsite for the day, but we’re not ready to stop. Our feet have a few more miles left in them (after some blister triaging). So we load up and tackle four more miles, all through the vast expanse of an open valley. The setting is majestic, even though the wind and sun are unrelenting.

We reach camp a little after 6:00 and feel pretty pleased with our mileage today. We’re definitely sore and tired, but nothing like the last two days. I tell Isaac that I had secretly been a bit discouraged at how hard the first two days had been, and he says, “obviously! We didn’t have our hiker legs yet.” But today, we can feel that we’re starting to come into our own.

We set up camp, make some dinner, and chill in the tent. Overall a fairly good day!

Isaac’s haiku of the day:

A compass points north.

It’s so easy to go north.

Right? Then a storm comes.

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