I was up and out of camp before daylight. expecting some challenging climbs today after a couple days of easier going through Cochetopa. After about 3 miles and a short climb I passed some other CT hikers breaking camp alongside a scenic creek; I complimented them on finding a much better site than I had settled for with the cows the night before. I was climbing out of a lush drainage with pretty beaver ponds and crossed back & forth over a stream until I reached a series of switchbacks.
The campers I had passed by earlier caught up and we leap-frogged up the the saddle to the base of San Luis Peak. I had hoped to summit the peak but had not planned well for this. It would be a 2-3 hour roundtrip, and it was late morning already with more several more ridges ahead for the day. Plus my mindset was that I really didn’t want to hike anywhere that wasn’t forward on the Colorado Trail. I hiked down the rockslide from the saddle and crossed paths with a several hikers marching up to their next 14er. I’ll be back for this one, I promised myself.
I hiked up two more saddles then finally reached San Luis Pass where I stopped for a solo lunch. The next saddle was the high point of the day above 12,800 feet on the Continental Divide, and I lost track of the number of climbs after that. Good thing I passed on San Luis Peak, I thought. The next campsite I passed had probably a dozen or more tents set up all around, which was easily the most I had seen on the whole trail to this point. I wanted to leave myself plenty of time to catch the next day’s noon shuttle to Lake City, so I decided to chance that the campsite in the Databook 10 miles from Spring Creek Pass would be available. Along the way I visited with a friendly CT hiker named Shawn who kindly invited me to share his campsite, but I continued on in the hope of having a campsite near water. I found the small site was just as it had been described, and it was a tight squeeze for my Xmid 2p with its notoriously bit footprint. But it was available and with water nearby. It had been a rough 16-mile day full of climbs but I felt lucky to have my spot and be inside ahead of the that afternoon’s rain.