Day 1, 7/8:
Mileage: 0 – 16.8
We got a late start this morning, leaving at 7:45 instead of our anticipated 6:15 departure. The power was still out, and we didn’t have time for showers, but who really cares when you’re about to head out for 5+ weeks in the wilderness. Picture were taken and goodbyes were said at the trailhead, and we were off!!!! So much excitement! I can’t believe we’re actually doing this!
The first 6 miles started on a road which was pretty flat and it went by fast. Only 11 miles to go for the day at 10:15! We stopped for lunch at mile 11-ish, then proceeded uphill to a dry camp spot (dry camping = no water nearby) which we thought was the high point. Turned the corner and continued uphill for another mile until we realized THIS is the high point. “Man, we sure got lucky with the weather today! It’s so sunny!” I said to Simone as we began our 4 mile decent to our camp spot. Oops, spoken too soon. 5 minutes later the clouds were rolling in fast. I think that we are quickly going to learn how easily Mother Nature gets mad here in Colorado! Time to walk faster. As we went down, down, down, towards a meadow and creek which would be our home for the night, the clouds got darker, and my feet started throbbing and aching pretty bad. Just before this trip I got new custom orthotics, and I had not adjusted my feet to them yet. But, I will teach myself how to embrace pain. Pain is my friend. I am now a backpacker for the next 5-6 weeks, and what do backpackers like? Pain. I am Jackrabbit the hiker and I love walking and eating and hiking and looking at cool shit and experiencing pain and carrying my beloved backpack with me everywhere I go. This is my new identity. As I continue thinking about all of these things and my mind drifts off, suddenly I realized my feet don’t hurt anymore. HA, it worked! Pain is all in the mind. I knew it.
We get down to the creek, find a place to set up camp, and get to work. Unpack, set up tent, put out our beds, put everything in tent, head down to the water…. Filter water, jump in to water, scream because it’s so cold in the water, soak our feet in the water. Dinner time is upon us, then the sun comes back out and it’s hot and I’m getting burnt. Chores are done, and thank God it’s time to relax. Relaxing is the most rewarding part of a long day of backpacking. We lay and watch the sun start to fade behind the hills, writing and reading and loving our first day.