[cdt-l] Loafing in Leadville

Ginny & Jim Owen spiritbear2k at hotmail.com
Mon Jul 3 15:57:23 CDT 2006

Let's see if this works -

This  has been a good week for us, despite daily thunderstorms that attempt
to dampen our spirits.  The hiking has been excellent.  We've hiked and
camped with some old and new acquaintances:  John, Team Doodah, and Mark and
Michael doing their filming. We saw our first mountain goat of this trek,
just past Monarch Pass.  Wildflowers have been abundant and snow very
limited.  Mentally we're doing great, enjoying the hike.  The physical goes
back and forth, but all in all, we're not having too hard a time making the

We didn't stay over in Twin Lakes this time - Fourth of July weekend is a
zoo around there - but we did enjoy a good breakfast at the Wildspirit Cafe
there.  There were lots and lots of folks climbing Mt. Elbert and Mt.
Massive.  Once we got past the turnoffs to the peaks though, the trail was
nearly empty.  Since we missed it last time, and had heard good tales of the
town from Spur and Ready and Mags and others, we decided to come enjoy the
charms of Leadville for our resupply in this stretch.  So far, we've been
impressed.  It's a nice and friendly little town.  The hostel is all we'd

One of the most impressive parts of this past week has been the incredible
trail work done in this area.  A lot of time, money and effort has been
spent in the Sawatch. We hiked a section around Mt. Elbert that was finished
last week.  We ran into trail crew that was starting a relocation of the
trail south of Tincup Pass - not, unfortunately, around the basin, but
parallelling the road.  At least it will get the trail off the road there.
We did get caught by the extra two miles at Texas Creek - the trail now goes
to Texas Lakes, instead of bushwhacking across the creek - but we enjoyed a
nice lunch by the lake and a pretty walk along the creek.  The extra
switchbacks made the 2500' climb up Hope Pass slightly more bearable - even
if it was a bit longer.  The descent down Willis Gulch was nothing like we
remembered - thanks to some really good trailwork.

One note - a couple of CDT hikers mentioned a waist deep crossing of the
inlet to Twin Lakes.  There is a very nice bridge on the trail only a mile
upstream.  For future early season hikers - take the Interlaken/Willis Gulch
Trails and you can avoid a lot of trouble.

Walk softly,

Jim and Ginny


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