Ivy League Hiking

Day 55: June 17, 2019

Destination: Colorado Trail East Collegiate Loop Mile 34.5

Today’s Miles: 25.4

Start Location: Colorado Trail East Collegiate Loop Mile 9.1

Trip Miles: 905.4

As I sipped my coffee this morning, I looked at some cumulus clouds that were bunched together in the sky. It was supposed to rain at some point today, and my cloud scrutiny was less about reading the clouds and more about trying to will them to go away.

Nevertheless, the morning was lovely and I headed off down the trail. I saw an elk and then a deer, and then some people. I met a woman working on catching up to her Mom and kids, a trail maintenance volunteer, a group of three ladies that asked me about my snowshoes, and then what looked to be a summer camp group of kids with backpacks on. It was such a stark contrast to the CDT, on which I have generally seen much less foot traffic. I suppose that could also be due to the wintry conditions this year.

Finally back on great trail!

I walked and walked and saw an elk, and then a deer. I climbed up a ridge and got a nice view, just as the midday thundering started to occur. I continued down and ran into two guys who were eyeing the sky as they worked their way up. I couldn’t blame them.

The trail crossed Chalk Creek and picked up on a dirt road. That then became a paved road, and before I knew it I was standing in front of the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort. More precisely, I was standing in front of the resort’s convenience store! I set my pack down outside and went in.

Someone made a teepee in the woods!

The snacks were expectedly pricey, but not too bad, I thought. I got a sandwich, smoothie, ice cream, and vanilla wafers. I topped all that off with a cherry coke - so healthy!

While I was inside, a thunderstorm rolled in. The temperature dropped about 15 degrees and it started to rain. I hung out and ate my food until the rain stopped. I chatted with some guests from the hot springs. I must have looked like some kind of crazed hobo sitting by the convenience store trash can stuffing my face and watching the rain!

I climbed out of the resort and passed some summer camp activities. The trail wound up and up a dirt road until I reached a trailhead. At this point, thunder started booming, and I saw a dark cloud moving in. It started hailing - lightly at first, but then more intensely. I had my rain gear on and just kept going. When that storm passed, another came. I just walked.

There be storms a brewin’ in the valley.

The rest of the afternoon was wet and soggy. It wasn’t until my last few miles that the rain stopped. All that said, at least there was NO snow! Tomorrow I climb to around 11,900 feet. I’m assuming I will run into a little snow. I’ll be climbing into the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. It’s kind of like the Presidential range in the White Mountains in New Hampshire, only the peaks are named after Ivy league schools and over 14,000 feet! Fortunately I don’t have to climb one of the 14ers to get through this section of trail.

This storm soaked the valley after it soaked me!

I’m so tired today, I think because I was wet and cold this afternoon. I can barely keep my eyes open to type! I plan to get up early, have coffee and go! I’ll end this here before I drop my phone on my face again!

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