We soon climbed above treeline through beautiful, high alpine meadows to Searle Pass. Just before the pass we met a work crew, using picks, shovels, and other hand tools to make improvements to the trail. We really appreciate all the work on the trail by the Colorado Trail Foundation and its many volunteers who have worked so hard to create and maintain this incredible trail!
From Searle Pass we traversed the grassy, alpine hillside, followed elk footprints along the trail across Elk Ridge, and descended to the blustery Kokomo Pass. So far, Colorado's high country seems less rugged than the Sierra Nevada mountains, with grassy alpine hills and rounder mountains covered with snowfields and spring wildflowers. But I am developing a new respect for lightning. Afternoon thunder showers occur almost daily, and you don't want to be caught above treeline when it is time. Clouds were already gathering by 10:30 today, and I felt grateful when we dipped back below treeline.
We met two CDT hikers as we continued toward Camp Hale, Michigan Wolverine (PCT '12) and Tatu Joe, former PCT speed record holder, and really enjoyed talking to them both. Sierra also enjoyed looking around Camp Hale and learning more about its history (there is an excellent, informative monument at Tennessee Pass, right across from the trailhead), but was upset by all the graffiti there, which she felt was extremely disrespectful to those who served there, including the 10th Mountain Division.
From Camp Hale, we followed the trail's somewhat convoluted route to Tennessee Pass, where we picked up our resupply before hiking on to a somewhat buggy camp in the woods.