I hear Tim and Chase rustling early, and I’m glad for the wake-up call. 6:30. Getting better. It’s a bright, normal morning, belying the crazy weather of the previous evening, and I’m vaguely suspicious of what’s to come.
I finish my ravioli with little problem, and am moving by 7:15. Getting better all around.
I set myself up such that I’d have a big climb this morning, and a meander up to my camp spot later in the afternoon. Tim and Chase are nervous about water, so I continue past them early in the day at a seasonal trickle, little knowing there was a large stream just a short ways away. That’s the Lost Creek Wilderness this year – not so much “can’t find it”, more “are you lost? You seem to be everywhere at once.”
The climb sees Tim and Chase far beyond me in my attempts to get my legs to work in tandem with my lungs. I feel better than I did yesterday – and the cool of the morning helps – but it still takes me a while to get up the hill and into the beauty of Segment 4’s meadow.
It’s six miles long, proceeding in an uppish fashion, coinciding with the Brookside-McCurdy trail for a fair bit of its length. I pick up water at the “last” reliable water source before my campsite, and cross no fewer than eight sources as I make my way. It’s hard to be upset about the eight pounds of water, since the day’s so nice – there’s a breeze, and the trail’s dappled with just enough shade. I call it training for the days to come.
I get to chatting more with John along the way; he talks about continuing on past the campsite at the top of the meadow, about skipping Georgia Pass in a couple days to make it into Breckenridge before the weekend and the crowds. If the views are anything near as beautiful as we’re seeing now, there’s no way I’m skipping it.
He’s right about one thing, though: I reach the top of the meadow, and I’m not tired. There are tons of nice spots to camp, but my feet are still itchy, and there’s a nice downhill waiting on the other side.
My feet practically skip down to Long Gulch.
I think about stopping – there’s a decent campsite at the beginning of Section 5, but my feet still aren’t done. I decide to see if I can make it 20 miles, though I’m not committed to the idea – I’m still new to this, and the last thing I want is an overuse injury.
I meet Two Shoes when my feet are almost done, hoping to check out a campsite in a couple miles; he and his GPS inform me I’ve got two miles to go to the one I’ve selected, 4 miles to go until I hit 20 for the day. I err on the side of caution, but I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished.
When I arrive, the site’s already taken by two friends, Nancy and Terri from Denver, out for their first trip in a number of years. They invite me to share, and while it’s a less than ideal spot, I’m glad for the company. I’ve been lonely – social-ish, but lonely – and these engaging ladies are pulling me out of my shell.
Two Shoes stops by to chat on his way to another site – he’s fresh off the John Muir Trail, and I feel like I know him a little by the time he meanders off. I wonder if I’ll see him again.
Terri, Nancy and I talk until the sun goes down, and while I don’t end up finishing dinner, for the first time, I’m not nauseous as I eat. Baby steps after 62 miles.
Start: 43.8 · End: 62.4 · Day: 18.6
Notable Accomplishments: 18+ mile day! • Four segments in four days! • I’m losing my aversion to desperately needed calories!