I70 (1113.7) to highway 40 (1139.3)
Sleeping next to the very busy interstate highway was never going to be a good idea. Neither Crunchmaster nor myself slept well. At least we had a nice leisurely stroll along a bike path for several miles before we crossed the highway and started our first big climb of the day.
Crunchmaster hasn’t quite got the trail legs or altitude exposure that I have had in recent weeks so I wondered how he would manage. He smashed out the first few miles uphill with little problem. But rain, hail and a chilling wind hit hard. I always struggle in the cold. I added layers. Then the wind would die down and is take them off. I repeated this for most of the day.
After the initial climb to over 13000ft we stayed high for most of the day. Rarely dropping below 12000ft. The views were just amazing. Recent days have seen the wildflowers increasing. Purple, yellow, red, white and all colours in between.
By late afternoon I was tired. Lucky caught up to us. We hiked together for the rest of the afternoon. Crunchmaster was struggling. Maybe we were pushing too hard at altitude. But there was more to it than that.
It was getting late when we started to climb the final mountain for the day. We were all trying to get down to a low elevation to camp. Crunchmaster was still struggling. We chatted for a while. Things were not well. He just wasn’t feeling the trail. It’s a hard, brutal trail.
It was around 7pm when we made it to highway 40. Crunchmasters brother was waiting there. Crunchmater came over to me. He told me he was done. His CDT 2016 hike is over. I was almost as sad as him. I’ve known him since the early days of the PCT hike last year. We hiked many miles together on that trail. Towards the end of the PCT last year we hiked together in Washington and started our plan to hike this trail together. We had been in contact ever since to plan our trip together. He might have finished hiking the trail this year but he’s not finished with the CDT. Good luck brother. We’ll be hiking together again soon.