28.8 miles (46.3km)
Van Tassen Gulch (834.2) to Razor Creek (863)
After my days in the snow of the San Juan Mountains I never thought I’d appreciate roadwalking so much. It was a pleasure to watch the miles disappear under my feet. Forests of Aspens and open fields stretching out to distant mountains. The trail follows the Colorado Trail for the whole day.
It was mid morning before I caught Thermometer. He starts hiking at 4am. So even though he camped behind me last night he was many miles ahead before I stirred. He told me he took a wrong turn at a road and walked a long way before turning back. We were met by a group of older folk on their quad bikes or whatever they are called in this part of the world. We were temporary celebrities. They had never met anyone from South Korea or Australia before.
We walked together for several miles. We stopped at a small stream. For me I just filled my water bottle. For Thermometer it was lunchtime. Which for him means a cooked meal.
I left thermometer and slowly made my way uphill. Despite being over 10000ft I’m not breathless and I’m able to keep a good pace going. It’s not long before I reach the top of a hill. Just in time for the first thunderstorm of the day. It’s becoming a regular thing in Colorado. It’s not heavy rain but annoying enough that I need to wear my full raingear. I was a strange sight as I crossed Highway 114. This hiker in the middle of nowhere in orange and black raingear. I did receive some strange looks.
Rain and thunderstorms continued well into the afternoon. At one point I sheltered under some trees when the rain was heavy and the Lightning was close. After the rain came the mosquitos. Dammit. Annoying little buggers. They feasted as I had no repellent. I hiked in my rain gear even though it was warm and stopped raining. They can’t bite though the raingear.
I camped alone next to a stream. I almost didn’t want to stop. I was full of energy all day. I guess I’ve spent so much time at altitude that I’m now acclimated.