August 4, 2018
Day totals: mileage 9.3 Miles, 1,857 ft elevation gain
I’m not sure, but I think both Amy and I were excited to start this trip. We were both up at 3:00 am ready to roll. Somehow after laying there staring at the ceiling we did fall back asleep until the alarm went off at 6:45.
We headed over to Seasons Cafe for breakfast before grabbing our stuff from the hotel. We met Tom downstairs who is our trail angel giving us a ride to the trail head. He was also giving another couple a ride as well. They were from the east coast and were heading south as they were hiking the whole Colorado Trail (CT). It was a great ride up to Monarch Pass as Tom provided us with a ton of information on the area. We even saw a mountain goat hanging on the side of the road. When we got to Monarch Pass Tom gave everyone a Snickers for the road and refused to take any of our money. A true trail angel!
We we hiking by 9:30 with sunny skies and cool temps. Heading north on the Collegiate West Loop goes against the grain as most people head south. Which meant we ran into quite a few people heading the opposite direction. We even ran into a few stragglers of a 100 mile trail race.
The views all day were AMAZING!! It lived up to everything we had ever seen. The trail crosses several dirt roads which made it easy access for those looking to get away from town however. We passed the Monarch ski area and then started to climb. We had a high elevation of 12,500 ft today but neither Amy nor I felt like it was horrible. Maybe the day in Salida paid off. It was super windy which made us hike in long sleeves all day.
One of the biggest differences we found was that the trail here will go straight up or down a hill. They don’t seem to believe in the countless switch backs of the Sierras. We saw two deer, a few pikas (cute rodent) and tons of birds while hiking. No Rocky Mountain Goats yet.
We arrived to Hunt Lake at 3:20 just in time to throw up the tent and take cover as an afternoon shower hit. It only lasted 30 minutes and the sun came back out. We had a great salmon pasta dinner except for the pasta sauce exploding on me as I opened it up. Guess I forgot about the the elevation change. Luckily it wasn’t too bad or I might have attracted a lot of unwelcome visitors tonight.
Rain and thunder has chased back into the tent. We must be near a road as there are a ton of people here and even one group who we saw carrying a large cooler to their campsite. UGH!! Definitely not how we like to roll. We get to test out the new quilt we have tonight. Tomorrow will be another shorter day. We are loving the Rockies that is for sure.