Day 47 – Another Easy Day, Then Hard

Another easy day then hard. For some reason I was chilly last night eve though the air was warm. The 6-mile walk to Monarch Pass was easy on a good trail. I crossed only one snowbank (see photo). I met hiker Lightfoot and about 10 mountain bikers. At the pass, I got my food box at the Monarch Crest Store (thanks to Betsy for sending it) plus a double-dip chocolate ice cream cone and a new fuel canister. About 10 am, I headed north by climbing a ridge that formed the western boundary of the Monarch ski area. Easy hiking on trail and road. After a lunch of a tortilla and lots of peanut butter, I walked on a windy ridge. The strong winds necessitated donning my rain jacket and gloves. After 1,000 feet of climbing around Bald Mountain, I ran into Paula Lehr and Art Mears from Gunnison. Paula has worked with Betsy on projects to help the imperiled Gunnison sage-grouse. The descent to Heart Lake was steep and rocky for 2 miles followed by a rocky 2-miles road walk to Boss Lake. A half hour later, I came to a newish trail heading north up the beginning of the Middle Fork of the Arkansas River. At 5:30, I reached a meadow where I found a scenic camp spot. Surprisingly few mosquitoes bothered me. I set up camp and cooked spaghetti. Yum! About 7 pm, a rumble of thunder rolled over the valley. 21.1 miles today.

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