118.9 to 132.4
6 am rolls around and I get up. We have to be at the bus stop in 35 minutes. The bus stop is right outside our hotel so we don’t have to walk far. I finish packing up my stuff and get some water. I catch up on some writing and schedule some posts to be published while we are traipsing in the woods with moose and bears.
At 630 we walk outside and sit at the bus stop to catch a bus to Copper Mountain. Copper Mountain is a ski resort a few miles from Frisco and Breckenridge. I’ve been to Copper Mountain about 11 years ago to ski. Should be interesting to see in the summer. Currently, it is playing host to the Tough Mudder. I’ve done the Tough Mudder 3 times and the Spartan Race twice. Doing the Tough Mudder in Copper Mountain sounds horrible. All that running (bad enough by itself) up those ski slopes. No thanks.
We got to Copper Mountain and walked through the resort towards the slopes where the staging area for the Tough Mudder is. We walked right past everything and hopped on the trail. It doesn’t look like the trail shares the route with the Mudders. We pass by a couple obstacles. One I don’t remember and the other was Hold Your Wood, where you carry a log.
We have a pretty long climb over about 9 miles from 9,800 feet to 12,100. Not too bad. Just enough to feel it but not completely wipe me out. We hike by several small streams and eventually get to a larger creek with a small foot bridge. We see a couple there that just did an overnight. They said they got tangled up and turned around by the Mudders and started up the slopes with them before realizing.
We hiked for another 10 minutes before taking a break on the side of the trail for awhile.
After about 30 minutes we got up and continued making our way up the Mountain to Searle Pass. It was a gradual climb but still a bit tiring. As we got higher the view got better and better. Everywhere you looked was amazing.
The trail is very popular with mountain bikers heading up to the pass and then coming down. We were constantly having to step off trail to let them through. That was nice about the PCT. No bikes allowed.
As we got closer we saw a sign for “Janet’s Cabin.” It looks to be part of 10th Mountain Association. D-bone, the weird guy who picked us up and took us to Bailey, works for them. They are cabins scattered around. Looks like a 6 mile hike up to this one. Would be nice for those who like hiking but not camping.
We came to a stream and grabbed some water. We risked not filtering since the source was right there. The water was ice cold and quite refreshing. We took a 15 minute break before continuing up.
Then it happened. Our first snow patch. I started having flashbacks to last year. Sliding hundreds of feet down the side of a mountain. Holes in my shoes. Trekking poles thrown into trees.
It was a small patch so it wasn’t that bad. Of course we had to get an updated picture from last year when I came across snow in Oregon.
I laid down on the snow as if I face planted while Songbird and 5 Star took pictures. It was quite cold. Especially on the boys. A family came by and started laughing as I just laid there face down.
We finally got to the top of Searle Pass. 12,044 feet. We told Songbird to go on this rock and do the stereotypical poses you see on Instagram and Facebook.
We hiked for about 10 minutes until we got to a creek and stopped for lunch. Lunch at 12,000 feet with a perfect view. Doesn’t get much better. Well, real food would have been nice but I guess tuna, crackers, tortillas, and Cheetos will do.
After an hour or so we got up and started making our way up to Elk Ridge and another pass. We passed another hiker named Smiles. She was wearing a bright orange trucker hat that said “Hiker trash.” She hiked the PCT in 2012. We talked to her for awhile. While talking Dana, who we met briefly on day 2, passed by.
As we were walking we hear “eeeepp!” Which is the sound of the most adorable critter ever, the Pika. They are about the size of a guinea pig or chinchilla.
They live at high elevation and eat the grass. I saw one last year while 5 Star and I were cowboy camping right before Glenn Pass. They are not that shy and will come up pretty close. Cute little buggers. We also saw a couple marmots hanging out on the rocks.
We got to the top of Elk Ridge, 12,280 feet, and made our way down to Kokomo. No, not that one. This one is at 12,000 feet.
By this time we were moving slow and stopping frequently to take pictures. We got about a mile down before we came to a big field of flowers. 5 Star and I spun around while Songbird filmed us and sang the Hills are alive with music.
We made it about a 1/4 mile before we took a break on fallen tree. 5 Star named it the “Tree of Contemplation.” We sat there for about an hour talking to Smiles and a father and daughter who are section hiking.
We only have about 44 miles to Twin Lakes left and three days to get there. We have a decision to make with how far to go since there is a no camping for 4 miles coming up in 3 miles. We decide to be lazy and find a spot some where between the Tree of Contemplation and the no camping area.
As we are heading downhill the skies are starting to darken. The entire day has been nice with blue skies and white fluffy clouds.
We keep an eye out for a good spot and see some flat spots off to the left and down from the trail. We walk over to check it out as we hear the sound of thunder off in the distance. We set up our tents expecting rain but the clouds blow over us. Looks like we might luck out.
We cooked some dinner. Or in 5 Star’s case some brinner. He had a mountain house breakfast skillet. I had chili mac and cheese and tossed in some jalapeno Fritos. Songbird isn’t feeling great and so I finished off her mac and cheese.
Songbird noticed a hole in her tent so I brought over some tenacious tape. It is really sticky tape that fixes a lot of stuff. I hand her the tape and look over at 5 Star laying in his tent. He is laying there with mango strips just hanging out in his mouth. I start laughing and ask if he is too tired to chew.