We packed up and left Copper this morning. Sherwin was coming along for a day hike. The trail went above 12000′ again but it wasn’t nearly as steep so it didn’t take me as long as yesterday. We had a couple of long breaks on the way up, one for second breakfast and to talk to a lady section hiking, and one right after that when we came across Bogdan with a small campfire.
We stopped for lunch at Searle Pass and right as we were finished eating, a pika came out from under the rock and almost climbed on top of Sherwin. Then we noticed two marmots close by, then a third! These animals are not shy. They came right up to us, probably looking for food, or maybe they just like having their picture taken. When I went to take a selfie with one of the marmots, it ran right up behind me. I guess marmots love selfies.
The pass was Sherwin’s turnaround point so we said goodbye and I hiked on. I was to continue above treeline for several miles and it looked like storms were ahead so I needed to speed it up. I noticed more and more pikas and marmots as I was hiking. They make a kind of chirping sound so whenever I’d hear it, I’d look up and see one watching me pass by.
I made it to Kokomo Pass in good time. North Sheep Mountain, on the left as I passed through, was covered in sheep and they were so loud. Some were even hanging out on the snow fields, which did not make sense to me. Less than a mile later I was back under treeline, avoiding the storm clouds the whole time.
I had planned to stop around dinner time, when I realized that if I went a couple of more miles, I could get picked up by Whisper and Mailman, more AT friends, tonight instead of tomorrow. The only problem was I had no cell signal to let them know. I kept going, hoping something would show up as I got closer to the trailhead.
As I popped out on a dirt road at Camp Hale, an old WWII army training camp for the 10th Mountain Division (soldiers trained in mountaineering, skiing, and arctic survival), I came across some people biking. I asked if the trailhead had cell service and explained my predicament. They said it did not but two of them were driving into Leadville later so if I wanted to meet them back at their campsite, I could have some drinks and snacks with them, and then either ride with them or they could make a phone call for me when they got to town.
I left the trail at the trailhead after 17.1 miles and did probably another mile plus on dirt roads to meet them. There was a stream with a bridge out that they had avoided by riding their bikes a couple miles farther to another bridge, but I was certainly not going to walk that far. They had thought it could be rock hoppable but there was a big gap. I started throwing rocks in to make it rock hoppable but then I slipped and my feet got wet any way so I just walked across.
It turned out the road to Minturn, where I wanted to go, was right there, so I just went up to hitch instead of waiting. Since Whisper and Mailman weren’t expecting me tonight, I didn’t want to wait too late to call them. I got a ride immediately, from an awesome hiker lady who gave me the history of the area on the drive and who might join me later for a 14er. I was able to call my friends on the way and arrived just in time for a late dinner.