Despite the great pace we were setting, I wasn't dealing well with the weather or my ankle, and I'm certain I wasn't the most pleasant company to be around either. We still managed to climb two really big hills (over 4000 ft) and make 15 or so miles that day. We also entered the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness area. The Trail passed through Clear Creek and its miserable RV campground in the morning, but reached Pine Creek and the Wilderness Area boundary that afternoon. The same uncanny phenomenon occurred: upon entering the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, views improved considerably.
Unfortunately, the weather wasn't as cooperative. Our first glimpse of the sun didn't occur until we crested our second big climb of the day, along the ramparts of Mt. Harvard above treeline. Beautiful place though. We really didn't have reliable sunshine till we camped that evening at Morrison Creek. We did manage to dry off all our gear, and after Herculean effort, got a fire started with sopping wet wood.
Our mood improved considerably with the sunshine. The intense rain and drizzle of the day had cleaned the air throughout the whole valley, and the flawless cobalt sky improved my morale considerably. Just when things couldn't get much better, April and Thatch from the Leadville Hostel show up and we all laugh, joke, and chat well into the night. Thatch and April both gave us stories of trails from their homes back East. Thatch had done the John Muir Trail and the Appalachian Trail.
Dave and I had risked not pitching the tent, so that we might be able to sleep under the stars. By the time we went to sleep that night though, clouds had formed. When we heard thunder, Dave and I frantically raised the tent over our bags. Just in the nick of time, as a torrential downpour and thunderstorm started only minutes after we finished!
CT Day 22: Fishing At Harvard Lakes
The Colorado Trail Story