Getting Set Up

We camped in this valley before climbing up to the passes.

Day 62: June 24, 2019

Destination: CDT Mile 1206.6

Today’s Miles: 23.8

Start Location: Leadville, CO

Trip Miles: 995.6

A lot of snowy mountain hiking is in the timing. Going over passes and peaks is usually best done in the morning.

The snow can harden, or even re-freeze, overnight, minimizing post-holing. The morning also usually avoids the pop-up thunderstorms that tend to strike in the afternoon. Hawaii and I agreed that we would hike today to the base of Kokomo Pass and then camp there just below 11,000 feet. We’d get up in the morning and start hiking by 6:30. The morning climb up would help warm us and the. We would tackle Kokomo. After Kokomo Pass we had Elk Ridge and Searle Pass, all above 12,000 feet.

I woke up and had my last breakfast at The Abbey. I called the Lander Post Office to make sure they would hold a box for me for more than two weeks, and then headed out with my gear to the post office. Hawaii was there when I arrived at 9. We both had stuff to mail. I was sending home my snowshoes and mailing some other things to Lander. Once we got that business done, we hiked out. I was sooooo excited to get rid of my snowshoes!! They performed really well, but they were so heavy!

It was nice having company for a change. I got to learn a bit about Hawaii and her hiking background. It made the busy road walk go faster, and we soon transitioned to forest roads, and then back to the CDT at Tennessee Pass.

The weather was beautiful - sunny, crisp and cool. We walked past a sign warning us not to touch things that looked like concrete blocks, declaring them or something nearby an explosive hazard. What?! Just past that sign was a long series of concrete bunkers. We poked our heads inside a few of them. It wasn’t clear what purpose they had served. It would be an ok place to spend a night during a storm though!

And of course, someone shot this sign....

The mysterious bunkers

We marched on through a beautiful valley full of mud and running water, signs of snow melting. We started climbing and eventually stopped at a creek with some flattish spots. A hiker I had met in Pie Town, Quetzal and her boyfriend ‘Cargo were camped in the small clearing as well.

It was a good day and mostly snow free!

Tomorrow the passes will be interesting. It’s supposed to get down to 34 overnight. Hopefully the tread is nice and firm tomorrow, and we are all hoping that the snow levels aren’t crazy on the pass. Time to get some sleep - it’s going to be an early, cold morning!

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