CDT CO Section 3

Day 142: Hamilton Creek

I think this morning I was the most comfortable I had ever been sleeping on the trail. The shape of the ground below my tent was the perfect shape for me to get cozy, perhaps, so amen my alarms went off or people passed me on the trail, I dozed back off again with ease. I didn’t start getting ready to go until 8, and hiked out a bit after 9.

I had good reason to want to reach the privy at Arapaho Campground at the southern end of Granby Lake before stopping. It turned out that campground and privy were closed despite my desperation at that moment, but I was saved by a portapotty at the trailhead just past it.

I passed two more campgrounds in quick succession as I continued down the dirt road the trail had become. The second was open and full of people, so i stopped to dump my trash in the dumpster. I continued down the road to Monarch Lake Trailhead where the crowds really were. Most groups had cute dogs too. Halfway around the lake, I turned off onto the trail that climbed out of the canyon and none of the day hikers followed. I stopped a few hundred feet up the trail on top of a giant boulder for lunch.

After lunch, I climbed for the next two hours, and finally reached the end of the climb just in time for another snack break. I emptied my water bag to make a new drink and continued across this new plateau for an hour and change. I passed a group of three backpackers headed the other way, but they were the only people I saw all day since I left Monarch Lake.

I had the whole Junco Lake trailhead to myself. Since there were water, picnic tables, and trash cans there, it seemed the perfect spot for dinner, and the perfect time for it as well. I had to filter enough water to cook with first (not really, I guess, I could have just boiled it longer–but I filtered it anyway) and then I let the rest continue filtering while I cooked and ate so I’d have enough for dessert and some change. After all that, there was still water in the dirty bag, so I just dumped it and hiked out.

I left in headlamp mode because the sun was setting. There was very little in the way of climbing to do for the next two hours. I was looking for a particular established campsite, but I ended up wandering around in the woods for twenty minutes when I got near trying to find it. The last mile was a zone of destruction left after the historic wind event from last September with a trail chainsawed through it, so the formerly fancy campsite now had blowdowns laid straight across the fire ring and the benches around it and all around it too. I found the one remaining spot suitable for my tent among the deadfall and set up. I also grabbed some water from the nearby creek to filter while I slept. During dinner, I had found my toiletry bag tucked deep into the wrong pocket, so I got to brush my teeth this night.

All in all, not a particularly interesting day, but not too tiring. It allowed me to save up plenty of energy for the next day’s challenges.

Trail miles: 16.3

Distance to Frisco: 116.4 miles

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