The Masses at Mt. Massive

July 4, 2020

Destination: Twin Lakes Today's Miles: 12.10

Start Location: Mount Massive Wilderness Trip Miles: 177.70

Waking early as usual we were excited to be heading to town, shower and a comfortable bed. By now we have packing up down to a science, here’s how it goes:

I set the alarm on my phone which I sleep with in my bag. From the warmth of my bag I immediately put on moisturizer and sunscreen addressing any sore muscles with Arnica or Voltaren.

Next swap out socks of which we each bring 3 pair = 1 for sleeping (Darn Tough crew lightweight) and 2 for hiking (Injinji toe socks, hiking weight). We sleep in leggings but swap out to shorts unless it is really early or cold.

Sleeping bags get stuffed into the bottom of our packs with no stuff sack. Pillows also get put up and our Thermarest inflatable pads get deflated, rolled up and also stuffed with no stuff sack. We add any miscellaneous items and that wraps up the interior of the tent.

Aaron takes the tent (Zpack Triplex) down while I either filter water or retrieve the Ursack. The breakfast standard has been cereal with powdered milk (Nido) mixed in a Ziploc baggie with some water. That pretty much wraps up the morning routine and now we are ready to hit the trail - usually about 6 am but sometimes earlier.

The hike down from Mount Massive Wilderness today was most pleasant. We did see masses of people heading towards the top of Massive, it is Fourth of July and making a summit bid on a 14'er is a great way to celebrate the holiday. We must’ve hit the bubble or the tail end of it because we passed plenty people trying to beat afternoon storms. It was a bit shocking running into so many people.

After exiting the Mount Massive Wilderness we immediately hit the Mount Elbert trail and climbed up, eventually leveling off and that’s when the real treasure of the day began. The aspen-lined trail smelled delicious and the tread was superb. Crossing over a handful of small mountain streams we got to enjoy a variety of visual treats including a chain of beaver ponds above Twin Lakes.

We noticed many many cars at all the trail heads and many people on the trails - particularly close to trail heads. You can always tell a day hiker because you can smell their soapy fragrant aroma. It makes me wonder if we smell as dirty as they smell clean?

We ran into East Texas (“yes sir“) who we had expected to pass by us already but he said he had to run into Leadville from Tennessee Pass for a new air mattress, his had a hole in it. Sleeping with no pad is no good.

The views dropping into Twin Lakes are to die for. Glistening lakes framed by massive mountains looming in the distance, thunder cracking and rumbling putting on its own Fourth of July display. We eased towards the highway and a day of rest. We are both excited for the next stretch and ready for a shower and a good meal!

PS Thank you Caveman for the trail magic, we very much enjoyed the cool refreshments!