Thursday, July 4, 2013

Day 13: Twin Lakes to Columbia Gulch

After a delicious breakfast at the Patio Pancake Place in Salida (highly recommended), we returned to the trail at Twin Lakes. Ever since the Colorado Trail combined with the Continental Divide Trail, we've been hoping to run into Miguel aka Virgo (PCT '12), a northbound CDT hiker. But this morning I received a message from him, sent from the top of Mount Elbert. Apparently we just missed him!

We cruised along the gentle, sandy trail as it circled Twin Lakes. Nestled at the base of the mountains, the lakes are beautiful. We soon reached the trail marker indicating the separation of the traditional Colorado Trail and CDT routes. Though feeling torn by our desire to hike the longer Continental Divide Trail, we continued on our chosen path, the traditional Colorado Trail through the eastern side of the Collegiate Wilderness.

Shortly after stopping in a shady grove of pines for lunch, we met Jason, another Colorado Trail hiker. He joined us, and the three of us made good time to Clear Creek, his destination for the day. There my father made a delicious dinner (including fresh salad and vegetables, a rare treat on the trail), which we all shared.

Jason found a campsite by Clear Creek, while Sierra and I continued up the ridge. Thunder rumbled in the distance as we took shelter in our tent. But in time, the distant noise took on a regular staccato rhythm. Peering out, I saw fireworks just over the far ridge. We stood and watched the colorful bursts of light until the last grand finale. Happy Independence Day!

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