Rolling Creek Trailhead to Long Gulch
Day: 16.3 Miles
Trip: 56.6 Miles
Another mammoth thunder storm rolled through my camp last night, at one o’clock in the morning. I thought I knew what deafening thunder sounded like, before I began this trip, but I was wrong. Last nights duo of thunder and lightning shook the ground that I slept on and turned the insides of my eyelids to an abyss of white. You’d have to be half dead to sleep through a storm that demands this much attention. It’s good to know that I’m completely alive.
Anatoli and I are packing up our gear, watching squirrels frantically run up and down the trees that are all around us. “Someone must have given them meth,” he jokes. I laugh and open my mouth to respond, when I hear branches snapping above my head. I look up and watch a squirrel fall forty feet to the ground, bounce six inches in the air, land on its feet and immediately run back up the tree. The weather in Colorado has been pretty erratic, thus far, but raining meth squirrels? This place is ridiculous.
I’ve entered Lost Creek Wilderness, one of five such areas that are forbidden to mountain bikers. Silly mountain bikers, the wilderness is for animals.
I meet Timber and his canine friend, late in he day. Timber, hiking the trail in the opposite direction as myself, has walked over four-hundred miles. I’ve crossed paths with a handful of thru-hikers, and they all seem to be as content as a cat with its head in a bowl of milk. A meteor could fall from the sky and Timber wouldn’t give a shit, because Timber actually feels something that most of us only think we understand: Everything is as it should be.
I’ve only just begun this journey, but I already now that saying goodbye to these mountains will be difficult. I’m not going to fret about the future though, because I’m grounded in the moment. And what an awesome moment it is.
The canyon seems to go on forever, as if I’m on a carousel, watching the same views go by, over and over again.
Eventually, I come upon a very short, well-used spur that leads me towards a large boulder. I climb the craggy object, in three short strides, and a gasping view unfolds before me. A massive mountain range, littered with the remnants of last winters snow, stretch towards the sky. Behind them, I see more of the same. Breckenridge, here I come.