Monday, June 24, 2013

Day 3: Rock Creek to Below Georgia Pass

Wispy white clouds filled the sky. Although they looked innocent enough, I am beginning to see a pattern. The earlier the clouds begin to form, the more likely we are to have thunderstorms. Yesterday the clouds started to gather in late morning, and the thunderstorms hit in late afternoon. Today the clouds were gathering by 6:30 in the morning. Not a good sign.

Smooth yellow Butter and Eggs and creamy white Milk Vetch flowers blanketed the grassy hillside as we climbed out of Rock Creek. We passed through groves of aspen with lush green grass and yellow Butter and Eggs contrasting with the smooth white trunks of the aspen trees. Bright purple columbine greeted us as we descended to Kenosha Pass.

We stopped for lunch in a beautiful, aspen-shaded meadow near Deadman's Creek. Next up? An almost 2,000 foot climb to the top of Georgia Pass (11,800 feet) along the Continental Divide. We reached the top in late afternoon, enjoying views of the surrounding grassy alpine hills and rugged, snow-capped mountains. Sadly we could also see a plume of smoke back in the distance, the start of yet another lightning strike wildfire along the trail.

Just below the pass we found a large cooler full of sodas and candy for hikers: trail magic! And, as we opened the registry to thank the trail angel we discovered a note addressed to Mama Bear and Monkey from our friend Wired who is hiking the Continental Divide Trail this year (see her excellent blog at! Wired had reached the trail magic only two hours and fifteen minutes before we had! We just missed her!

We lingered at the cooler for a while, then continued down the trail, which will overlap with the Continental Divide Trail for the next 100 miles. Having reached our goal (Georgia Pass), our pace and attentiveness dropped considerably. I accidentally plunged my right foot into icy snow melt water and repeatedly slipped on the small snowbanks blocking the trail.

Although we would never camp on an exposed ridge during a thunderstorm, the threatened storm never materialized. We found a beautiful, open camp on the ridge near fellow Colorado Trail hikers Peeps and Liz. The altimeter now reads 11,457 feet, and we feel like we're on top of the world!

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