Day 52 on the CDT – Two Long Climbs and Alpine Scenery

Two long climbs and alpine scenery. After a restful night (except for transient foot pains), I set forth at 6:15 gaining 900-ft of elevation climb on a good trail. After 2 miles of climbing through conifer forest, the trail more or less followed the land contour for 5 miles. I passed through lands that were part of the Leadville National Fish Hatchery. Why over 5 square miles of land were needed was unclear. I climbed another 700 feet then descended to the Turquoise Lake Trail Head. I dined on hummus and crackers under a large spruce tree. Then uphill for 1,600 feet mostly through lodgepole pine forest. I passed two hikers who planned to camp 6.5 miles from the trail head. I hope they made it. After gaining 1,100 of the 1,600 feet, I dropped down to the Galena Lakes then started uphill again. I topped out at a pass with terrific views of alpine peaks (see photo). The descent involved traversing a large snow bank and skirting several others. I climbed a short ways to Porcupine Lakes then descended steeply through forest with minor snowbanks. At the valley bottom, I left the Holy Cross Wilderness and hiked downhill for 3 miles to West Creek where I got water for dinner. A few minutes later, I found a fine campsite in an open lodgepole pine forest. The mosquitoes that had been pestering me went elsewhere. A tiring but not exhausting day with 23.8 miles.

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