7/9/19 – The next day dawned bright and sunny! We had our standard breakfast of oatmeal and coffee, packed up and were on the trail again by about 8:30 am. From our camp, the trail descended rapidly for about 2 miles from 11,100′ to the end of segment 9 at the Timberline Lake Trailhead (10,043′). We exited the Holy Cross Wilderness about a mile before the end of the segment.
During the descent, we met a CDT (Continental Divide Trail) through hiker who had solar panels on top of his pack. He said he can get a good charge on his phone and uses it for music as well. I prefer being able to listen to nature while I’m hiking, personally. He’s the one who told us Roof’s trail name (the hiker we met the previous day). Apparently solar panel guy (don’t know his trail name), Roof, and 2 other hikers (Mad Spaghetti and Wormwood) were more or less hiking together from Mexico to Canada on the CDT, although they each had a different pace, because they weren’t actually together on the trail. Soon Wormwood came up the trail and mentioned while passing that he hadn’t showered in 9 days! Hopefully they were planning a shower break soon!!
We continued on past the Timberline Lake Trailhead and started on segment 10. The majority of segment 10 passes through the Mount Massive Wilderness, crosses the Leadville National Fish Hatchery (one of the oldest in the federal system – 1889), and traverses the eastern base of Mount Massive (14,421′ – the second highest Colorado peak).
After traveling through flat terrain for about 1.2 miles and crossing 3 creeks, the trail began a 1,000′ climb in a little over a mile. We then went about 2.5 miles before we descended about 800′ over a mile and a half and then began climbing once again. The joke became that it seemed that whatever elevation we lost, we never lost for long. We would always “find” again before going much further.
During one of those climbs, we passed 4 hikers from Virginia. They were a dad and his 2 daughters (probably late teens or early twenties) as well as a friend of the daughters. They had hiked segments 1 through 6 the previous year and had returned to resume their quest to hike the Colorado Trail. They had skipped 7, 8 and 9 this year due to reports of snow and hoped to go back and hike those later.
Lance and Glenn at Camp Near S. Willow Creek – Virginians camp in the Background
We hiked a total of about 12 miles and found a nice camp site near South Willow Creek. After setting up camp, the Virginians came by and set up their camp nearby, as well. We had a nice campfire and dinner and hit the sack. Click here for Jerry’s Pledge Form