Aug 5 – 8.7 miles & 2,600 elevation gain

Let me begin by telling u a little about our evening last night. When we were stuck in the tent after dinner because of the storm, it started hailing! It was so cold that it even stuck on the ground for a while. Mother Nature was kind enough to let up for a brief 10 mins so we could quickly brush teeth, etc at about 7:45pm, then we got chased back into the tent and it seemed to rain on and off all night. We woke this morning at 6:45am to brief blue skies which were short lived. MAN, the weather here can turn on a dime! There can literally be no clouds in the sky one minute, and then we are surrounded by gray clouds the next that will definitely dump precipitation. So we tried to rush around putting everything away, having a quick cup of vanilla latte, and eating skillet scramble. Everything had to b put away wet and soggy so we were hoping it would clear up later so we could dry everything out. It was so cold when we started out at 9:30 that Bri and I both wore rain jackets and pants plus I wore my gloves and beanie.

It rained on and off for the first couple hours of the hike but I actually don’t mind hiking in the rain since everything is covered up by then anyway. It’s the scrambling to put everything away while it’s raining that is so hard! The greatest part about it raining so much here is that the trail isn’t dusty at all…our feet have never been this clean on any prior backpacking trip and we even wore the same socks 2 days in a row! Even though we had a lot of elevation today, it didn’t feel horribly hard to me because the views were absolutely spectacular!!

I really hope the pictures we took come out depicting the beauty of it all…meadows, lakes, wildflowers, green hillsides, and my favorite are the meandering streams cutting through the meadows. We only saw a handful of people on the trail all day which was fabulous, PLUS…not one person at camp with us now! Hope it stays that way cuz it’s only 7:30pm at the moment. A few great things about today: we still haven’t seen any mosquitos this whole trip, but we did see some ptarmigan as well as our first marmots today. And I was sooo happy to lose the headache that I had for most of the day yesterday plus ALL night last night. Every time I woke up in the middle of the night it felt like I had a jackhammer in there! One would think that with all the elevation we climbed today that we would’ve walked about a hundred switchbacks if we were in the Sierras, but apparently Colorado is against them. We have probably only seen 4 switchbacks in 2 days of hiking! They like to have the trail just go straight up or down…just get ‘er done, I say. I love it! We reached Chalk Creek pass about 2:15 which meant we only had 1.3 miles to get to Hancock Lake which was our camp spot for the night. I’m not sure which view was more spectacular…looking back from the pass the way we had come, or down the other side where we would end up tonight. I’ll let u decide…here are the 2 pix:

It was so crazy windy walking up to the 12,100 ft pass that it literally threw me off balance quite a few times, and I thought I was a pretty sturdy girl! 😁 We arrived at Hancock Lake by 3:15, but the campsite choices are very slim. Nothing flat and nothing to shield u from the elements (especially thunder storms). We walked around about 30 mins trying to find something suitable and finally decided to take our chances w the weather and set up camp with a great view of the lake, but no trees to shield us. So far we still have beautiful blue skies and it’s so wonderful to b able to sit out by the lake and enjoy each other’s company and the view…THE BEST!–Amy