Sunday, September 15, 2013

Day 90 - I've got friends in low places

Before I went to bed last night, I definitely had the spins. Since I saw neither empty kegs nor whiskey bottles, I was definitely affected by the altitude, We were above 9,000', but Boulder is only around 5,000'. The four days I spent in Boulder was enough to spike my acclimatization. I took two advil and drank a lot of water, fingers crossed for the morning.

I felt much better this morning. Less groggy and punch drunk. Since the clouds and rain tend to come around noon, we got an early start to take advantage of the clear weather. We walked through Frisco on the Colorado Trail to Copper Mountain. The views were lovely from the valley, looking up at the mountains.

The weather was mostly clear, though the clouds did drift in gradually. By the time we made the 9mi to Copper Mountain, the clouds were coming in fast. The divide was clamped down in black clouds, which were thickening and spreading. Our choices were to climb back up into the clouds on the Divide, or road walk to Leadville. Given the torrential rain statewide in the past week, we decided to take the low route to Leadville.

Road walking is a necessary evil on the CDT. Since the trail is not fully complete, there are long stretches where the 'official' trail runs along roads, sometimes unpaved seldom used dirt roads, sometimes major highways. Road walking is fast, but painful. Repetitive walking on hard surfaces with a full pack usually results in overuse injuries and other aches and pains. So, definitely not relishing the idea of a 24mi road walk starting at 11am, but didn't want to play chicken with the lightning up on the Divide.

Shortly after we set off towards Leadville, I turned around to look behind us. The storm was hot on our heels, and Copper Mountain was already obscured in rain. We kept going, and repeated our Colorado mantra: It will rain on us today, and we will be fine.

Colorado has still maintained a perfect record of daily rain since we entered the state in late August. At times, drizzle, other times torrential thunderstorms. We can only surrender ourselves to the weather and be prepared. Zen-like peace with being soaked.

The rain did catch us, and we threw on our ponchos. The drizzle turned into steady hail, and we trudged along the highway, past Kokomo and Climax, abandoned and active mining sites. The skies eventually cleared, and I checked my phone. The other Sobohobos, close behind us, had been on the ridge, and had a close call with lightning. They were bailing down to the road, too. Staying low is the smart move.

We finally arrived in Leadville around 7pm, and checked in to a hotel. No need to wait around for the next rain storm. We'll head to Twin Lakes in the morning. The weather should start to clear up in 2 days. We'll play it safe until then.

Mileage: 33mi from Frisco to Leadville

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