July 3 – Burn Zone to Gun Club campsite – 14 miles, 1,962 feet up, 1,982 feet down
Up early after a fitful night of sleep. Something about the burn zone made me nervous. We started hiking around 6:30 through the moonscape. About 20 minutes in Elaine says she has blisters and her shoes feel like vices. The heat from Day 1 expanded her feet to the point where the toe box in the Raptors was too small. Elaine does not have a history of blistering – this was troubling. Did a little foot maintenance, but because neither of us has a history of blistering, our kit is small.
Continued on through the burn for an hour plus until we hit the road that headed to Buffalo Creek. Elaine was doing OK at this point. We caught a guy – early 30's, from San Francisco, nicknamed "Just Been." He'd hiked both the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian Trail (in segments). He looked like an unassuming chap. He told us he was trying to get to Silveron in 30 or so days and that the point of his journey was not the destination but the trail. Good philosophy.
Onward through pine forests and buffed trails. These are quite popular with the mountain biking crowd and they were all very polite. I can honstly say I'd rather hike than ride a lot of this terrain – it's easier on the body.
Elaine's feet were problematic. We cut the first of many slits in the sides of them this afternoon. That seemed to help some but also pretty much determined she would need new shoes soon. Off and on thunderstorms all day – one particular clap was very close. It was nice though because it kept things cool.
We ran into "Just Been" at a few waterstops. Once he questioned why we were filling up at a small creek when Buffalo Creek was close by. Good question. "Still working out our systems," was my reply. Onward and across to the creek. We made slow progress up a hill to a ridge filled with pines. Elaine's feet really hurt so we stopped and set up the tarp.
We took a nap and woke up feeling claustrophobic and down. After staying in this state for fifteen minutes or so, we decided to do something about it. We set up the tarp in a way that it still provided protection but allowed Elaine to work on her feet. We cooked a good meal. All in all, a better end to a tough day on the Colorado Trail.