I was again up super early and packed up quietly, knowing others were camped nearby. I had a short but pretty steep climb from Baldy Lake back to the Colorado Trail, and hoped for another 20+ mile day today. I was expecting easier hiking as the trail elevation would drop from 11,500 feet to below 10,000 feet for most of the day. I reached a clearing as the sun came up behind me, and saw some nice-sized elk crossing the trail ahead. I had another short climb to scenic overlook where I was surprised to have the first good cell signal since leaving the Collegiates. I was able to order a charging cable that I had forgotten to pack in my last resupply box, that would arrive in Lake City by the end of the week. I made the mistake of assuming I would have cell service to check in with my wife Maria later that morning, not wanting to call her this early. I enjoyed the view a bit longer when my campmates from the night before, both hikers and bikepackers, passed by. I was able to filter and top off my water at Razor Creek, which was still flowing as reported by another hiker a day earlier.
I had a few more ups and downs than expected as I continued on. I leap-frogged a couple times with another hiker named Bill, who was hiking the CDT from Winter Park, CO to Lordsburg, NM. I kept checking for a cell signal to call my wife whenever I reached a clearing or high point, and felt bad walking up on Bill’s tranquil lunch as I was swearing out loud at my cell phone. I was finally able to reach Maria to reassure her that I was still on-trail and not off on some other adventure that didn’t involve hiking.
It was fun to pass the number “300” written neatly with little stones, marking my progress as I continued my descent towards Highway 114. I shared the final walk to the highway in the company of surprising number of cows. After crossing the highway I stopped to filter some water at Lujan Creek. Later that afternoon I crossed paths with several hearty mountain bikers riding the Colorado Trail bikepacking race, and they encouraged me on as much as I did them. I visited with a woman waiting at the side of the road hoping to see a glimpse of her husband who was riding, although she couldn’t have contact with him in the unsupported race.
After about 15 miles for the day felt pretty worn out but knew I had to hike at least another 5 miles to stay on pace for my next resupply in Lake City. This was kind of a turning point for me on the trail as I found another gear to push ahead for 7 more miles. I finally reached, then rock-hopped across, Los Creek. I wondered what the history around the naming of Los Creek might be, and never did find out. I found camping not far up the hill from the creek, after logging 22 miles for the day. I got lucky with the rain and was inside my tent just as that afternoon’s storm rolled in.