Today, we wanted to achieve big miles so we really hunkered down and kept our eyes on the trail. The morning started out with a sighting for a few Grouse, or Turkey Pheasants as Critter calls them, and some very fresh bear scat. Then as we followed the trail we climbed and descended, like a roller coaster, around Haystack Mountain before beginning our climb up to a ridge near Sheep Mountain.
Once we reached the top of the ridge, storm clouds appear out of nowhere. We hastily finished the climb following the ridge line before working our way down to a stream. During this stretch we have started to see a lot more exposed rock, which is just beautiful against the pine forests and blue sky. Around each turn, we had new views that left us speechless.
Once we reached the water, we sat down for a quick lunch just as it started to sprinkle on us. We met two fellow hikers, D=rt and Dora, who were also having lunch by the stream before we all headed down trail. At a junction with the Arapaho Ridge Trail, we decided to follow this trail instead of the traditional CDT out of anticipation of storms moving in during the evening. The last thing we wanted would be to get caught on the ridge during a storm, especially while camping. Also, with Garbelly becoming an Uncle any day now, we did not want to take the risk.
We followed a beautiful trail that kept us along the creek. Only a couple of miles down the trail, we heard a rustling and then saw a large Moose stir from his brushy hiding spot on the water. The trail was simply beautiful, and we were immediately thrilled to have chosen to stay low. As soon as we set up camp, the anticipated storm become an actual storm, but we were able to sleep unnerved and safe.