July 7 – Breckenridge to East Side of Wheeler Pass – 8 miles, 1,407 feet up, 400 feet down
Barely any sleep last night. We packed up late and spent the morning looking for more blister stuff and a book. I settled on "Winter" by Rick Bass, found at a used bookstore. I've already read it, but at least I know I won't be stuck with a total dud for the next 20 some-odd days.
By the time we went to the market, bookstore, Subway, etc. it was 1 pm. We ended up taking Stella up the free gondola to the start of the Peaks Trail that intersected the C.T. Let's just say she's not a huge fan of gondolas! We hiked the Peaks Trail over to the C.T. where it reconnected at Gold Run. We saw many more mountain bikers on this section of the trail. We need to come back here this winter with the Asnes skis and do the tour from Breckenridge to Frisco.
Elaine's new Patagonia Release's rock, but she is now suffering from some knee pain on the inside of her joint. I suspect she altered her gait because of all the blisters and is paying the price now. It's a bummer but she wants to press on.
We got passed by some doozy riders heading up the C.T. One woman hit Stella. I suppose she was trying to beat her Strava best time, but what the heck? That fired us up pretty good, and we took it out by blasting up the trail to a sweet campsite by a little brook at timberline.
It was good to leave Breckenridge behind and I'll be glad to leave Summit County behind tomorrow. Quite frankly, it's ugly, and the choice has clearly been made to sacrifice nature to recreation. There are nice areas of the county further north, heading into the Gore's, but the area around the Colorado Trail is some of the ugliest of the entire journey. We have not seen a single animal since entering the county – there was more wildlife five miles out of Denver than there is in this supposed mountain hideaway. Nederland is far better in this regard. It's good to know – there was a time where living in Summit County seemed appealing – after all it has four ski resorts, lots of trails and is world renowned as a recreation mecca. Unfortunately that reputation has come at a heavy cost – trashing of real nature. We want a community that offers skiing, and hiking and biking…yes…but not with a price tag of altering the land to the scope that is found in Summit County.
It was a day of new uncertainties, but onward we press. One hundred miles down, 385 to go.