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June 14th
Intersection With Tank 7 Cutoff Trail(916.4)-Monarch Pass, US 50(937.8)
21.4mi

Today was my favorite day on trail thus far! It ranks up as one of my all time favorite days of hiking too! I just loved it! This post will be picture heavy to make up for the blah days the last couple of days. I’ll mention that last night, we didn’t get much sleep. There was an odd storm that came up and we had some sprinkles on and off through the night. The most disconcerting part was the wind though. We could hear it in the distance though the trees and it sounded very strong. I kept bracing for the big gust to hit my tent and it was just a breeze. Very odd…but I’m glad that loud wind never hit us! This morning I got going at 6:45am, just over an hour after Rockin’. It seems to be working that I start later so that we can both hike at the rhythm we like. I tend to get in a groove and like a longer stride. Rockin’ can do that too, but likes to take it in and take more pictures along the way. The plan was for me to catch up by lunchtime as there was a cabin we planned to stop by and eat at. As soon as I started walking this morning, I turned a corner to one of my favorite sites and got to walk through some beautiful aspens! What a way to start a day!

I got reception and got to talk to Silly Chili who flew this leg and even had a 38mi day! He made it to town yesterday at noon. He updated me on the town of Salida and the big festival happening downtown. We had the option of staying with someone who offered to host us downtown, but Silly Chili warned me it would not be quiet and relaxing. I was thinking of changing to a hotel and hiked on to catch up to Rockin’ and discuss it with her. Check out the sun rising through the trees!

For the first time in a week or so, my strained thigh was feeling almost
normal again. I was able to get my full stride in and feel free. It
felt great after a couple of weeks of my body being out of whack to have
it back again! I felt like I could run and actually did some today as my pack was light and it was a town day.

I caught up to Rockin’ around 11am, just before Marshall Pass where
the Hutchinson-Barnett Cabin was. It is a first come, first serve open
cabin that many hikers strive to get to. I was glad we didn’t as I tend
to get the hibbie jibbies in places like that. It was great to eat lunch
at the table outside though!

Since this was our last lunch before town and we had extra dinners, we got to eat hot meals for lunch and that was great! I got to eat the Chicken & Rice Mountain house that Mule sent me as a care package. It totally fueled me for the last 10mi into town! After Marshall Pass, we got into more open scenery for the rest of the day. This is by far my favorite pass I’ve every hiked into going into town! The clouds gathered as they have been doing lately and just added to the depth of it all. We were pumped!

We did have some snowy patches, but nothing that slowed us down. There were three cornices of snow that we needed to get over and we had fun with them! The shots we got were great! Just walls of snow suddenly blocking the trail. Here is Rockin’ scaling one and then me on another one. We love how badass these look!

We had rain off to the south west of us and we hurried to make it to the pass in case it rained. We felt fleeting drops from time to time and luckily made it without any significant rain. Such an awesome day of hiking! This is part of the final stretch in the last few miles. Monarch pass is the road in the distance on the left.

All day Rockin’ said her motivation was to make it to the Monarch Crest store at the pass before it closed. She wanted a bag of chips and a beer. She flew! I told her we need to put that carrot in front of her more often! No beer there for her, but a hot dog was good enough. We each had two:) Here we are with our food and resupply boxes. Check out our photo bomber…cracks me up!

While we were at the store, we overlapped with section hikers and a family that did the first half of the PCT my year, the second half last summer, and now sectioning the CDT this year. It was Buck Mulligan, Mama Moab, and 14yr old Captain Underpants(previously J-Hawk). They just started and are doing shorter days, so we may catch up to them this coming leg and overlap again. Such a great hiking community!

As if that wasn’t enough, we ended the day in a comfy hotel, ordering in some awesome pizza, chocolate milk, showers, laundry, my bounce box with my laptop waiting for me, and a soak in the hot tub! Oh man, THIS IS THE LIFE!!!

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