August 14, 2015
Today we set out to complete segment 7 on the Colorado Trail. The trail crosses the Ten Mile Range on this segment going from Hwy. 9 north of Breck to the parking area at Copper Mountain Resort. We left most of our gear at the Fireside Inn and did a day hike with food, water, and raingear.
The 12.8 miles were the most challenging part of the trail yet as we climbed for nearly 8 miles with the last three being steep and mostly above treeline.
I let my guard down this morning as we attempted to be on the trail around 8:30 am. A long breakfast line at Daily Donuts put us an hour and a half behind schedule.
Puffy white clouds were already forming as we left the bus stop and headed west on the trail. If I had to do it over I would have not attempted the hike and waited for tomorrow. But we made it without incident.
We reached treeline on a spectacular set of switchbacks that led to a small saddle between peaks. The town of Breckenridge was laid out in the valley to our left and the peaks of the Ten Mile were on our right.
Holli had never climbed this high before and was both impressed and frightened. I didn’t tell her we had another 1,000 feet to climb figuring it might cause her to turn around.
We climbed gradually for a few more miles above treeline until we reached the high point of the day at 12,500 feet. Copper Mountain was now visible on our right as we crossed between Peak 5 and Peak 6.
We met another couple at the top who where thru-hiking the CT as well. A nine year old boy and his mother had made it to the top so Holli settled down a bit after seeing the brave young man.
Black clouds were forming on the peaks around us so we quickly made our way down the other side. Rain was falling over Interstate 70 and Vail Pass to the north. Lightining struck a peak a few miles away from us but was too far away to hear the thunder. We hustled down anyway.
It didn’t rain on us until we reached the parking lot at Copper. A mountain biker we met on the trail gave us a ride to Frisco in his car and we made our way back to Breckenridge on the Summit Stage bus.