Continental Divide Trail – Day 55

July 17, 2023
Miles Today/ Total: 16.9 / 942.1

I was up and on the trail early this morning. The trail started out by descending toward the Boss Lake Parking area. There were a couple of tents there when I went through so I kept quiet and began the ascent toward Chalk Creek Pass.

This was a long gradual ascent and passed by the S. Arkansas River and many small lakes at the end of the valley. The steep ascent up to Chalk Creek Pass wore me out and I stopped at the top of the pass to eat my breakfast.

Back on the trail I began a descent into Tunnel Gulch passing Hancock Lake and passing a beautiful waterfall before reaching the old railroad grade. The trail followed the old railroad grade around the side of Mt. Arps and Mt. Poor as it headed toward the historic Alpine Tunnel site.

I took the short side trip to look at the East portal of the tunnel (now collapsed and filled in with rocks). Getting back to the trail I climbed up and over the tunnel and followed the trail toward Tin Cup Pass Road.

There was still some snow up on the high mountains, but the tracks were wore in pretty good making them very easy to traverse. As I was climbing up over the mountain it began to thunder and sprinkle. The darkest storm clouds had already passed by me and the trail dropped down into a couple of alpine meadows. I moved ahead watching the sky, but never saw any lightning.

After crossing over several high passes the trail began descending toward Tin Cup Pass Road. It descended slowly through the alpine meadows with some ups and downs, but transitioned to a large series of switchbacks once the trail reached the tree line.

At the bottom of the mountain there was a meadow with the north fork of Chalk Creek running through it. It was only about 5:00, but as I descended I noticed another series of switchbacks going up the mountain on the other side of the valley. This mountain was much higher. I checked it out on the Far Out app and I was looking at a 1840’ ascent over the next 3.9 miles.

My legs already felt like rubber from the climbs today, so I scoped out a place to setup my tent and called it a day. I enjoyed the rest of the afternoon lounging in the shade and talking to other hikers that came by.

As evening approached I cooked dinner, cleaned up, and crawled into my tent for the evening. I’m going to try to get to sleep early tonight and get some extra rest for a couple of big days ahead of me.

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