Starting location: above Twin Lakes
Ending location: Pine Creek
Distance: 16.5 miles
Elevation gained: 3700 ft
Photo: Aspen forest
1 word summary of the day: refreshing
It was an interesting night last night as I lay in my tent and heard footsteps approaching around 10:30pm .... They sounded like two footed footsteps, but hard to say. Veda was still in her tent so I knew that it wasn't her, and it was dark outside and I couldn't really see anything. They came nearer, so I shuffled a little in my tent to make some noise and I heard the footsteps run off. In the morning I found some pretty big hoof prints in the ground, so most likely a moose but it was a bit freaky at the time not being able to see anything in the dark!
After that excitement the morning started off good, with a 10 mile hike through the forest so it was shady and cool after yesterdays furnace walk. I love walking through the aspen forests - all of those symmetrical white trunks reaching into the sky!
In the afternoon I had a big 2700 ft climb in under 4 miles to get over the next ridge, and 30 minutes into the climb it started to rain and thunder :-(. The rain was actually quite refreshing for the first hour as it cooled me off on the climb, but then it got quite cool and I just powered the rest of the way to camp to stay warm (and luckily the thunder stayed in the distance and didn't get too close.
More people at this campsite tonight - met another solo thru-hiker named Wonder and she's camping with Veda and I tonight (she's been on her own for most of the trip). Also camped here are Beth and Chris who are also thru-hiking but have been taking more time and exploring more off trail and climbing some of the 14ers (mtns over 14000 ft) in the area. Luckily the rain has stopped and we're camped at the end of a beautiful valley with great views over the Collegiate Mountains. Tomorrow I hike through the section that had a big blow down of fallen trees earlier in the spring, but the trail volunteers have apparently been working hard in clearing it so it should be passable tomorrow.