CDT day 106: The Never Summer Wilderness

August 18
Mileage: 20
1982.5 miles hiked

On this day in 2014 I finished my second thru-hike of the PCT. I think my body remembers that, and wants to be done. Or maybe it’s the giardia. Soon, I tell my body. Soon.

Just 20 miles today to the town of Grand Lake, Colorado. We’re in the aptly named Never Summer Wilderness- a cold front is rolling through, and an icy haze hangs over everything. Hot tea and dark chocolate with my breakfast has never been better. I slept badly and woke at 5 a.m. to my period. I lay in my bag for a long time with cramps before getting up to greet the icy morning. Track Meat and Spark are slow too. Nobody wants to hike when it’s cold like this.

This morning we take what I’ve come to think of as a “Colorado Shortcut”- a “shorter route” that requires one to climb cross-country up and over an insanely steep ridge with no trail. It’s fun and interesting and very hard and by the time I get to the top up near 12k feet I’m whooped. It’s only 10 a.m.

The rest of the day involves gentle hiking on good tread down to a series of dirt roads that will eventually take us to the town of Grand Lake. My cousin Amy lives in Granby, which is close to Grand Lake. Amy works as a mechanic and gardener for the city of Winter Park and has a little house she shares with her two cats. We’re the same age, and we’ve always been buds. We’ll be staying with Amy tonight, and I’m stoked!

In Grand Lake our nacho dreams become a reality- there’s a grill with peanut shells on the floor that sells plates of nachos so massive that neither Track Meat or I can finish ours. I’m so full afterward I feel certain I’ll never be hungry again. It is in this food coma state that Amy finds us and sweeps us away to Granby. At her nice cozy house with her nice couch and tea collection and cats we shower, do laundry, charge all the things and then, since hunger is inevitable in spite of all our efforts, we eat ice cream and kale salad for dinner. The boys put on a movie but I’m fucked-up tired so I crash in Amy’s tropical colored guest room, my gear exploded all over the floor.

Photos on instagram