CDT Day 147 (CO – Leadville to Mon. Pass)

Hope, Light, Shadow… and Ann

  • CDT Miles: 1,132.3-1,105.2 (27.1)
  • Total Hiked: 2,498.9 miles
  • Elevation Range: 9,965-12,595

I’d forgotten that hiking the late season, at times, can be my favorite time to hike. Of course, you risk getting some tricky and unpleasant weather, but you’ve got the Fall colors, it never gets too hot, no mosquitos or flies to deal with, less people on trail offering a more remote and wild feeling experience, and there just seems to be something in the air about the changing of the season, a crispness maybe, that I love. Today reminded me of all that 🙂

It didn’t rain or snow on me overnight! And it didn’t seem too cold at first getting ready, but once hiking seemed rather chilled. My fingers were cold even in my mitts, although that may have been because I stupidly collapsed my tent down without any gloves on and then stuck my frozen fingers in, already cold to begin with. Amateur mistake.

I had 1.6 miles and about 1,400 feet elevation gain to get up to Hope Pass at 12,500-ish feet. Getting going at 6:22am, I was in the trees for a while before things opened up to this…

Super stunning.

Looking back towards Twin Lakes…

The sun was trying to get over the horizon to warm things up, but didn’t quite reach me for my 7:30am “summit” through the pass. It was one of the more dramatic passes, I felt. Like at the the top one got a glimpse into a whole other world on the other side. The prayer flags added to the ambience of the setting as well. I was feeling it.

Walking down into the valley, the wonder continued. The stark yellow Aspen, snow-capped peaks, and grand size of all the different mountains surrounding made this one stand out. I’ve heard folks talk of how great “The Collegiate’s,” or “The Collegiate Loop,” are. I think this is part of that and I get it.

As the trail finally started to lessen the grade of its decent, I came to an open meadow and had super amazing views all around and happened to spot a large mule deer buck before it had spotted me. So, here’s some vids (the deer vid is a ltfsr off still to see it’s a buck despite my attempt st being stealthy)…

A nice break followed all this activity. Back at the hostel I’d picked up these interesting looking instant coffee packets in the “free” hiker box. Gotta say, had some hopes for them to be quite spectacular and didn’t live up to my own hype. Still pretty good, just seemed a little bland…

As is my custom, I tried to guess where the trail would lead without looking at my app in too much detail. Always I’m wrong. Having breakfast down in the “low” area around 10,000 feet, I knew I’d now be starting a climb up to Lake Ann Pass, the high point of my day at 12,595 feet. Things started off gradual for a while and built up steeper the closer I got to no it.

Wow, right!?

I really liked this nice symmetrical mountain that for a while was straight in front of me. I think its called Granite Mountain. Do I go right or left or right up it?

Ended up being left, which then opened up a view of a whole series of new snowy peaks. Sheesh oh Petes.

Well… I started heading towards them wondering, which gap contains Lake Ann Pass? This time I was slightly on point in thinking that it couldn’t be any of those. Too tall and too steep. So, around the corner to the right the trail wound.

You may have got the feel for it… I was now heading up more quickly now. And after a bit, found the pretty Lake Ann. I took lunch with these views.

I’ve been getting more flexible with my lunches as of late. Since it’s much colder nowadays, I feel more comfortable taking along various meats and cheeses. So, this stretch I have a bagel with hard salami and provolone. Very nice change up.

And then a march up to the next “summit,” Lake Ann Pass (with many a break along the way). I’d come across a group of maybe 8-10 younger guys (high school age?) backpacking earlier in the day and as I was going up, could see them making camp down by the lake.

Time lapse action. A little blurry at first, but gets better.

I was surprised upon seeing what was on the other side and a little disappointed if I was honest with my self. I liked what I’d been in earlier in the day so much that the big wide valley seemed less “fantastical.” Still awesome of course. I’m just extremely spoiled is what it comes down to.

The way down consisted of some nice switchbacks and then I began a long up and down traverse going to the left, staying along the “base” of the taller mountains. I was moving.

Ok ok, I take back any disappointment I had. This whole day was just awesome…

Towards the end of the day, I started another climb that would eventually get me above 12,000 feet. I’ve been in a good groove lately of setting myself up for a morning assault at the high elevations. That usually involves camping up pretty high too though. This night I think I ended up in the 11,000-11,500 range.

7:02pm, I found camp and already needed my headlight to set up at that time. Started and ended in the dark today, hoping that isn’t how all the days going forward end up. What a day though!

Albums of the Day

“August Rush (Soundtrack)” – Various Artists (2007)

“It Takes Two” – Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock (1988)


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