July 6th
1mi Before Rainbow Lake Trail(1329.2)-Imi Before Ellis Trail Inter(1358.4)
Campsite Elevation: 9,425ft
Oh man, there ended up being one doozy of a thunderstorm late last night. Around midnight, the thunder and lightning was all around and very powerful. I have said that I wanted to experience a Colorado thunderstorm from the safety of my tent and it finally happened! I was fortunate that I anticipated possible wether like that and I was safely protected by a large bush around most of my tent. The winds were blowing strong, but the bush shielded my tent almost completely. The most worrisome part was that there was large hail for about 10mins that pelted down hard. The tent did amazing and I was shocked at its resilience. The Cuban fiber material was strong as compared to the sil-nylon of other lightweight tents that stretch and loosen. No water was getting in from the storm, but I did have condensation lining the inside of the tent before the hail. When the hail pelted the tent, it made the condensation inside rain down on me and my sleeping bag. It all happened quickly and I ended up slipping my trash compactor bag that lines my pack on the bottom half of my sleeping bag. Then I covered the top half with my rain jacket. It worked and the storm lasted about 40mins, which is long by Colorado standards. It was pretty invigorating!
I didn’t set my alarm as I’ve been naturally waking up well before 6am with the sun. I awoke at 5:30am to a light rain on the tent. I looked and it was a large cloud that was passing slowly. I waited it out and started hiking at 6:50am, which is late for me. The day started with about an hour of hiking above tree line.

It was pretty, but I had difficulty enjoying it as I was in a zombie state because of my limited sleep last night with the storm. I was tense and tired so I also couldn’t eat much the first half of the day. Good news was that the morning was mostly downhill gradually descending almost 4,000ft. I was sluggish, but was on auto pilot and did a pretty good pace. It was hazy and more humid all day. I ended up listening to the rest of The Solitude of Prime Numbers. Interesting book, but I was disappointed with the way it ended even though I get why it ended the way it did. The hiking today was not very eventful. I don’t know if it was due to the rain, but the trail was marshy and muddy in places. My shoes were soaked much of the day. The morning had cairns across marshy fields that were impossible to dodge.

Then there was a long stretch down into a bland forested area with trees destroyed by bark beetles. With the holiday weekend, I saw many people camping, hiking, mountain biking, and even motorcycles which are allowed on the trail in this section. There were also some burned sections.

There was a pretty stretch with aspens and wildflowers.

Most of the afternoon was on the trail (that is actually a road most of the time) called the Wyoming Trail…I guess cause it goes to Wyoming.

Overall, the day had many turns to pay attention for and that contributed to my tenseness. I worry about finding and missing turns. Because the trail is very poorly marked through this area. I relaxed more after lunch and the miles flowed much better.
My camera decided not to work again today other than take one photo at a time without zoom or special functions. It also won’t do a timed photo, so I’m not able to do StickPic photos when it’s not responding. I ended up doing this one at camp in the trees with the Beef Stroganoff Mountain House my sister and brother-in-law got me. Yum!

It was a really good mileage day and it is nice to regularly get bigger miles in this more mild terrain. I’m looking forward do more of it in WY. Tomorrow I will hit WY in the morning and that is exciting! Coincidentally, the water sources are very scarce tomorrow…on boy Wyoming! Also, I made good enough miles to possibly get into town to pick up my resupply tomorrow evening. The maps indicate more cross country hiking and confusing turns, so I am not expecting a super high mileage day. Lightning is flashing in the distance and the sky is rumbling again. At least now I’m 2,000ft lower and in the forest in case it hits.

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