6/23/15 Day 60, Bike Trail Camp M1737.5 to M1756.4 Creekside Camp, 10,346′
Tent – Nights Spent Alone: 7
20.3, 1101.1 Trip Miles
Sunny w/ late thunder storms and wind
Day’s of Snow: 7 – Day’s of Rain: 18 – Days of Hail: 10
# of Zero days: 6
6:34 am to 5:58 pm
Gila Crossings Final Total: 221
Tick Count: 4 (4 more crawling on me)
1) 530 Pronghorn*
2) 167 Elk
3) 119 Lizards
4) 116 Wild Horses
5) 107 Chipmunks
6) 72 Deer**
7) 38 Cotton Tail Rabbits
8) 35 Ground Squirrels
9) 28 Squirrels
10) 26 Marmot****
11) 26 Prairie Dogs
12) 22 Horny Roads
13) 17 Jack Rabbit***
14) 11 Moose
15) 8 Snakes
16) 8 Pika
17) 4 Coyotes
18) 4 Moles
19) 2 Rattle Snakes
20) 2 Toads
21) 1 Mouse
22) 1 Skunk
23) 1 Weasel
24) 1 Porcupine
25) 1 Fox
*181 from car, **3 from car, ***1 from car, ****2 from car
I couldn’t drag my ass out of bed at 5 am like I had hoped. I was just too tired. It’s 8:30 pm and I’m already in my bag. Tomorrow is another day of ridge line. I believe we’ll make the trees before the end of the day.
It’s amazing to be hiking right on the continents divide, walking the ridge between the Pacific and Atlantic water sheds but its extremely tough hiking. The terrain is rocky and unstable as well as steep. Then the real killer is the exposure to the elements. At 14k the sun’s effect is 50% more than that of at sea level. It’s draining to be in that kind of heat for hours without any shade. Add the wind trying to push you off the ridge and it’s intense at times. The wind can be so strong it blows your legs around and you miss step at times. It’s like walking drunk with lots of rocks and little room for error.
We started with a few miles of pave bike path followed by what I thought would be a gradual climb on a dirt road. It was anything but gradual. The road walk alone was kicking my butt.
The climb to Grays and Torreys was only two miles but it also had 2k feet of elevation gain. The going was slow and tiring. We decided to do Torres first. This meant side hiking through snow fields to reach the ridge between the two peaks. It wasn’t terrible but it didn’t make me pucker up a little.
Once to the ridge we ditched the packs and bagged Torrey. Torreys is 14,267′. It was a steep pitch making the up and down tough.
Back to the packs it was double hard time getting up the rest of Grays Peak at 14,270′. I now have hiked 3 of the 14’ers in Colorado. I’ll bag Elbert the highest point in Colorado next week. We had lunch on top of Grays then took a climbers route down due to the strong wind that moved in. We were supposed to descend then climb another peak and then more ridge walking but the wind has been terrible.
Our route was still pretty tough as it was incredibly steep and there was plenty of loose rock. We finally got to a snow field and were able to glissade the last bit. From there it was just dirt road walking. We walked probably three miles then had to cross a creek. We crossed then took a nap while our shoes dried out some.
With weather moving in and it being 5 pm we started the last two miles to our chosen camp. We didn’t get a mile before the thunder started. We almost made it to our chosen spot but it was getting dark and there was a lot of thunder. The spot we got is great though. There’s a small stream less than ten feet from me and a rock slope with Pika! Alas I didn’t see any, I just heard them.
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