July 4 – Gun Club Campsite to Lost Creek Wilderness – 23.7 miles, 3,776 feet up, 1,555 feet down
Happy Independence Day! Woke up in better spirits but Elaine's feet were still hurting. Enough of that. Almost immediately stopped and cut a massive slit into the side of the shoe. This helped a lot. As she said, it was either that or "duct tape bark to her feet."
Onto the road to Bailey and the trail beyond – new terrain for me. Passed a few campers who said earnestly, "Good for you guys," when they asked us where we were going. We were immediately met with a big climb up a jeep road. There was lots of smoke in the air. We climbed for awhile, filled bottles until meeting up with a beautiful new section of the Colorado Trail.
We were both thrilled to get above 10,000 feet for the first time on the trip. It felt good to finally be entering big mountains and leave the eastern molehills behind. Elaine's feet were still very problematic, so we cut holes on the inside portion too. This helped somewhat.
The beauty of the land helped off-set some of her pain. We entered into a spectacular valley that looked more like the Yukon than Colorado – the Lost Creek Wilderness. It's an amazing place. I imagine Elk and Wolves would love this landscape. There is a gorgeous creek running through it. I'm glad it's a protected Wilderness – I had no idea it even existed. We truly do live in a beautiful and diverse state.
There was a long, long gradual climb out of this valley. It was highly bizarre to be out on the 4th of July and not see anybody. Eventually we did cross paths with a couple with a dog and Alpacas. They were a bit surprised at the slowness of the Alpacas but seemed happy. Their goal was to make it to Marshall Pass.
After hours we reached the top of the climb and began the descent. We were feeling good and spirits were high so we hiked on into another segment of the Lost Creek Wilderness. We camped around 6 pm just as "Just Been" passed by. He looked out of breath and mentioned he was hiking late to get to his resupply in Jefferson.
It was an OK evening. Elaine's feet were rightfully getting her down and we were alarmed to see that one of the blisters had turned red and looked like it may be getting infected. We drained it, applied Neosporin and hoped. One thing is certain – the Colorado Trail brings highs and lows.