21 mi ::
779 mi ::
I have breakfast with Ann in the morning and pack up the eight days of supplies she’s brought for me. The time comes to get going, and it’s hard to say goodbye. It also seems like this mode of operation could work for us though, and we’ll get used to parting ways.
I launch into the 2,000-foot climb around the imposing Rio Grande Pyramid that I’ve been seeing for days now. The pack is heavy, but I feel good. As I said to Ann, I think I’m hitting my groove now. I love the feeling moving over this vast, beautiful terrain. I can’t get enough of it.
I see several parties of hikers on other trails, but meet no one. The trail climbs over a ridge to a picturesque lake, then does it again, and again. The final one, West Ute Lake, has amazing views of the serrated Grenadier range to the south. One of the peaks must be Aeolus, which I climbed ten years ago with my father, but I can’t tell which one. I take lots of pictures to analyze later.
Reaching the divide again, I contemplate going cross-country to climb an unnamed 13,100-foot peak on the divide. It’s getting late, 6 pm, and there are still dark clouds around but no lightning. I decide to go for it.
The peak is glorious. Another thousand feet brings the entire Grenadier range into view, and several days pre- and post-view of my route. It’s another bliss attack. Even better, a snowfield on the other side provides several hundred feet of effortless glissading descent.
By the time I’ve made it back to the trail and down to a reasonable place to camp I’ve made over twenty miles and it’s almost 9 pm. What a good day.