Returning to the trail, we began winding our way through the woods. The early morning sounds of the forest had reached full volume. Crickets creaked in the grass near the trail. Birds warbled morning greetings from high perches in the trees. Hundreds of hidden insects whirred and rattled.
The trees opened to a high grassy plateau with views of rocky crags and the surrounding mountains. Charred logs and stumps gave testimony to a lost forest, destroyed by fire, but the tall grasses, blooming yucca plants, and other hardy plants and flowers breathed new life into the area.
After several hot, dry, exposed miles the trail dipped back into the cooler shade of a forest and climbed to a ridge. Another Colorado Trail hiker sat sprawled across the trail, enjoying the view of Chair Rocks. As we hiked on, we enjoyed smooth, reddish-brown rock formations somewhat reminiscent of the Buttermilk boulders near our home.
We soon entered another burn area, more desolate than the first. No grasses covered these hot, dry hills, but creamy white yucca blooms, greenish-yellow cactus flowers, and spiky purple thistles brightened the view. We descended quickly to the South Platte River, where we waded in the cool water, Section 2 complete. We are now ready to return to Breckenridge to continue where we left off on the Colorado Trail.