Day 16. Best Day Yet.

7/15/16

19.4 miles Cree creek to silver creek trail junction 

Another morning of us all waking up and packing at the same time. We hit the trail at 7 and start a steep descent to highway 50. This causes my knee hurt fairly bad. At the bottom we begin a large climb which starts as a 2 mile roadwalk before becoming single track. We pass a lake filled with trout and I find some loose fishing line and a small hook for the possibility of future fishing. We also take turns at a vault toilet here. 

Smokey got swoll

Once the single track starts the trail is rather lush and moist. We hike together singing 90s songs. Backstreet Boys, Brittany Spears, Arron Carter and the like. The trail climbs to just shy of 12,000 feet but it’s a gentle climb until the top where it gets very steep. Once you get over the pass you reconnect with the CDT and the west collegiate route. There is also a fantastic view of the surrounding mountains. 

I think this is a Lewisia species!

I slow way down in this area while listening to my favorite songs. Tyler cruises ahead to a shelter that’s on trail a mile and a half away. I wait for the girls to catch up and take tons of photos of the views, flowers and insects in this alpine environment. 

One of the most beautiful spots on the trail.

Such a fantastic area

The best

Check out that valley

The flowers are on point

I love the lichens up here!

This is a Hemipteran that’s mimicking an ant! 

Bluebell buds!

Miss campion

Lichen macro

Alpine Stichwort

We reach the cabin and eat lunch. I walk down the hill and find a spring where water is gushing out of the ground. Because we’re high up water has been pretty scare and looks to be the next few days. Leah and I talk about how bad we want some Ben and Jerry’s and how we’re all going to have a hiker family movie night in Gunnison at our hostel. We also look to see if there is a karaoke bar in town. We break next to a spring and all five of us have good conversations. We’ve had some deep talks today. We also decide to give our hiker family a surname of Pitz. For our delicate hairy armpit scent of course. 

The rest of the hike is gentle ups and downs to Silver Creek trail junction where water and campsite are. We get there just as the sky looks like it may rain on us. It’s very breezy for a bit but as soon as it dies down, a hoard of mosquitos descends on us. Definitely the worst yet. They seem completely inescapable on a thru hike. Even Arizona had buggy spots. We meet two other hikers already set up there. Aslan and Wise Guy. Two 20ish hikers that hiked with Gordon and Christian for a bit after I got off for the wedding and knee healing. Rapunzle and I talk about the pros and cons of the Appalachian trail and how it compares with the Colorado Trail with Aslan who has been looking into the AT, PCT and the Pacific Northwest Trail. To escape the scourge of flying syringes we all head into our tents around 7:30.  

Mountain pine beetle damage in the forest 

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