Along the railroad bed (20_010)
Day 71 – 7/1/17
Miles – 19.8
Total miles – 982.1
We woke in the hotel room at six o’clock, just like any other day on the trail. Most of our gear was already packed, however there were a few last minute items to take care of. Grandpa Bob and Melody came over to our room and we all ate a quick breakfast of yogurt, cherries and muffins. When done, we loaded their car with the gear and The Ravens then we were off, back up to Monarch Pass. We said are thank you’s and good byes, and up the trail we went. The Ravens feel rested after two days of relaxing, however the high elevation of 11,300′ was quick to take it’s effects on us. Bling and Whisper seem to adjust well to the altitude, but the old parent Ravens do not. The trail wrapped around the top of Monarch Pass Ski Resort. We kept passing the tops of ski lifts. Both kids would like to go skiing next winter. We will have to wait see about that. Nonetheless, we finally got to the far side of the ski runs and stared to climb the mountains north of the resort. We slowed way down as we got up into the mid-12,000′.
We were well above timberline when we can upon two signs. They informed us that we were in the middle of a prehistoric elk trap. The people built walls that would channel elk to one end, then hunters, laying in ambush behind the walls, would jump up and kill the elk. We could see the remains of walls about us. If we had not seen the signs, we would not recognized the piles of rocks as anything other than piles of rocks here and there.
We continued on up the mountain and traversed around to the northeast side. The treeless mountains we were hiking in were beautiful. They were covered in a low sagie green grass. Views of higher peaks surrounded us. As we traversed around, our 2,100′ drop began. It did not take long to get back into the trees and soon we got to large Hunt Lake. We have seen so few lakes on our trip, we decided to take a lunch break here. It was nice to sit near the edge of the lake and eat. After lunch, we continued dropping until we reached a road. This was the point we turned and started back up to Chalk Creek Pass. For the most part, the climb was not hard, except for the end, but that did not last long. As we crossed the pass, we were hit with a very strong wind. We did not stay long because it was so cold from the wind chill. Immediately, we dropped down to Hancock lakes. Toward the end of the day we started our next climb, although this one was well graded and easy to hike. It was an old abandoned railroad track bed. There were even old rotten railroad ties still in place. The path was wide with a gentle grade. It was pleasurable to walk on and we moved quickly up it. After several miles, we found an extra wide section that was nice and flat. It was just right for setting up our tents and spending the night.