Aug 9th–13.2 miles, 3,025 elevation gain

Today was our last full day in CO and, MAN did she have quite the finale in store for us!! We got out of the tent at 6:30am this morn and thought we had just 11 miles to the next camp w the first 9 being downhill. So we leisurely had TWO cups of coffee before heading out at 9am.

Our packs are so nice and light now it’s amazing! Every year we try to upgrade to a piece of equipment that’s lighter and more efficient and now we have it pretty well dialed in. This trip my pack with everything including food and water was only 22 lbs and Bri was 24. So crazy to think that just about 5 years ago our packs were 60+ lbs!! So today w hardly any food left and are thinking that we are down to 14 and 16 lbs with water…unbelievable and sooo much easier to walk the miles and elevation we have been doing. Not much happened during the 9.5 miles to the trailhead of Hope pass.

We did walk through some super cool Aspen groves which is so pretty plus provided us w some much needed shade because it was the hottest it’s been today. We had heard that Hope pass was a doozy, but we were thinking it couldn’t b worse than some of the other passes and peaks we have climbed this trip. Plus it was our only climb today and was “supposed” to b only 1.5 miles long…how hard could it b, right?? Well it ended up being 2.5 miles long with 2,700 ft of elevation gain. I know I had said bring on the “straight up trail and forget the switchbacks”, but this was seriously ridiculous. Not only did it climb unrelenting for the entire 2.5 miles, but there were many parts that had a 70% grade…if we hadn’t had poles, u would have to put ur hands down. That’s how steep it was!

It took us 2.5 hours to do the 2.5 miles…unheard of ever before from us. The craziest thing is that we had contemplated summiting Mt Huron (a fourteener) which would have been in the middle of the day today. That would’ve added 7 miles and 4,000 more feet of elevation gain…thinking we made the correct choice by passing on that side trip! The top was really neat because there were prayer flags at the top which lots of people had written on because of the name, “Hope Pass”.

We actually had cell service at the top so we quickly called Maddie to see how her summer school final went today and also Barb to c how she, Max and Mikey are holding up. All is well and we are excited to see everyone on Sat! It was just a mile down to the unnamed lake where we planned to camp so we high tailed it down hoping to jump in the lake to freshen up before trying to hitch a ride tomorrow. Bri was first to jump in the water that was only waste deep with a very muddy bottom. He came up w mud all over his forehead and smelling like a mud bath…is that better than B.O.? That’s the question.

After setting up camp and getting dinner ready, it started to thunder w some raindrops but nothing that made us duck for cover so we stayed out and enjoyed the quiet (no one else at the lake w us yet). We r in agreement that we r ready to get off the trail tomorrow but will still b on vacation together in the town of Frisco until we fly home Sat which will b super fun. The question is now…do we eat first or get cleaned up first after our hitch? Amy