Middle Mineral Creek to Cochetopa Creek: 20.4 miles
Total miles: 859.5
The morning was full of ups and downs. I thought we had just two climbs up, but I miscounted and there actually was a third. That made me pretty grumpy. Generally I’m able to get into some kind of rhythm hiking, but these past couple weeks it’s been harder. With all the snow and weather, it’s been a lot of start and stop hiking, instead of being able to set a pace and just stick with it. I thought once the trail conditions improved that pace would come back, but it is being frustratingly elusive.
Despite feeling sluggish, we still managed to get almost ten miles in by lunch. We ate lunch with some of the hikers we’d seen at the yurt a couple days before. The group of them cover more miles than us per day, and being around them has reminded me that it’s not a race. They are covering the type of miles we could have done on the AT or PCT, but being pregnant has started to make a noticeable difference and how fast I can hike and how far I can hike each day. While we’ve had some days where we’ve hiked until 7 or 8pm, it quickly takes a toll on me because I don’t get as much sleep. So we’ve been trying to stop closer to 6pm to settle in for the evening, and it’s been working, but it equates to 4-5 miles less per day. I’m still feeling good, but just have to learn to adjust to subtle and not so subtle changes that pregnancy brings. I’m 18 weeks along, and know that there are plenty more changes coming.
The rest of the afternoon was a gradual downhill, finishing with a few miles of flat hiking. It was a relief after the morning, and brought a change of scenery as we dropped out of the mountains. We even saw cattle, something we haven’t seen since New Mexico!
All the sudden the trail came to a creek that we couldn’t pass without getting our feet wet. Normally we would just walk through, but it was getting towards the end of the day and we wanted to keep our dry shoes! We took off our shoes and crossed, then camped on the other side. We were amused to hear the hikers behind us groan when they found the creek, apparently we aren’t the only ones that like to keep our feet dry if we can.
Mosquitoes made an appearance that evening. We’ve seen a few here or there, but this night there were a few dozen large, clumsy mosquitoes buzzing around. They were slow enough that we were able to evade them with ease. We watched them on the netting of our tent from the safety of inside, and as the temperature cooled, the mosquitoes quietly left to go wherever mosquitoes go to spend the night.