Twin Lakes(1013.2)-1/2mi before Rock Creek Bridge(1030.2)
Campsite Elevation: 10,436ft
Today was the big day that we did the side trip to summit Mt Elbert, the second highest mountain in the continental US (after Mt Whitney, which I did as a side trip on the PCT) at 14,443ft. We started from Twin Lakes, which is at about 9,300ft. From Twin Lakes, to the summit was about 6.5mi. It was a great walk up and was not technical at all.
Rockin’ left 1hr 20mins ahead of me and Silly Chili who left at 7am and we caught up to her by 9am about 1/3 of the way up. It was a perfect and clear day to summit and the three of us went up steadily with packs full with 5 days of food. It was fun to pass all the day hikers who were barely carrying anything.
I was shocked by how well my body took to the elevation. I somehow felt energized on the climb and Rockin’ did great too! No dizziness or inhaler needed, yay! You can see Twin Lakes where we hiked from in the background.
In the picture above we are on the final switchbacks. A helicopter came over us here as a hiker was missing yesterday and they were looking for him. We waved as it flew over us closely. Just as it flew past us, it suddenly got caught in the wind and started to til backwards back on us before regaining it’s balance and flying off. It was close and freaked us out! Here is our summit photo and one of us eating lunch up there.
We had lunch at the top and the crew of LoveNote, Drop-N-Roll, Ninja, Stryder, and Sweetfish arrived. It was fun to see them and catch up on the last few days since seeing one another. I’m kicking myself for not getting a picture of them on my camera, but I do have a good video I’ll be posting with everyone.
On the way down, Mtn Rat caught up to us. It is my first time meeting him as he is a speedy solo hiker. It was great to meet him and talk with him a bit. This is his first thru hike and be has wanted to do the CDT since he was 12yrs, so he is really enjoying the life of a thru hiker. Rockin’ and I hiked ahead and also ran into team MeGaTx going southbound. If you remember, we overlapped with them coming out of Chama in the first high snow section that we had. They disappeared and we wondered what happened to them. They have been having lots of fun and chose to take the Creede route, which is lower elevation through the San Juans. Now they are going southbound to Monarch Pass before coming back to Breckenridge to continue north. It was great to see the again as they are a fun group!
The second half of the day was in a nice forested area that we could cruise on. We could still see Mt Elbert in the distance.
We are now camped with the crew and Mtn Rat except for Ninja and Sweetfish who slack packed Mt Elbert and needed to go back into town to get their packs.
It was a great day and I’m falling asleep writing this. Yawn! Good Night.