Today we get up at our usual time and are on the trail by 5:45am. The start of the day is not a quiet wilderness experience but it is interesting nevertheless. Early in the day we are puzzled by noises we are hearing. It sounds like a chorus of people throwing up loudly. Suddenly we are surrounded by domestic sheep going in the other direction.
I cannot help but think about my friend Sandy who hiked the Colorado Trail several years ago and had to use her poles to fend off two vicious sheep dogs. I hold on to my pole tightly and tell Ray that the dogs backed off when she was finally out of sight from the sheep. But our interaction is not that exciting and we never even see the sheepdogs. The sheep just get out of our way and on we go.
We hike a road for a few miles through a meadow and then cut through the old Camp Hale site. Camp Hale was a US Army training facility where soldiers prepared to do battle at high elevation or, in other words, ski warfare. This training facility housed the 10th Mountain Division and in 1942 it housed 15,000 people. There are signs that warn about explosives as they also trained in weapons ordnance. Yikes. All that is left is a row of bunkers and some concrete blocks. We are careful not to touch anything.
Later in the day, we hike up into the Holy Cross Wilderness. It is so beautiful here and is my favorite part of the hike so far. We decide to camp at Porcupine Lake. We keep our backpacks in the tent to avoid vicious porcupines but it is the mosquitos that are vicious. They are out in full force here so we have our headnets on. I am glad that I am not one of those fastpackers who only wear shorts!!
Just the Facts
Total Miles: 18
Cumulative Miles: 150.4
Trail Segments: 8 and 9
Camp Elevation: 11578 feet, at Porcupine Lake
Elevation Gain: 2369 feet
Elevation Loss: 4341 feet
Weather: Sunny in the morning, clouding up in the afternoon