Two Thumbs up for Section 5

June 24,2020

Destination: Guernsey Creek Today's Miles: 19.80

Start Location: Head of 6 mile meadow Trip Miles: 74.60

We woke warm and dry in our bags but everything around us was soaked. it was a beautiful crisp morning and we enjoyed watching the low clouds shrouding 6 mile meadow slowly lift as we packed up.

Shannon took off first and after eating mountain house biscuits and gravy we were right behind her. From the saddle the trail dropped precipitously (800+ or minus feet) switching back and forth down to the end of section 4 and the intersection with Long Gulch. We noticed a couple of campers near the creek, their tents propped up in the sun to dry and we wondered if they were thru hikers.

The misery of section 4 was well rewarded by the beauty of section 5. Descending another 800 or so feet we easily rolled along aspen lined meadows, across icy cold creeks and through a spectacular pine forests - pungent from the recent moisture.

The views and the beauty and the smells were intoxicating and I could feel its’ energy flowing through me as I flowed through it. We passed through long grassy meadows and beneath rocky outcroppings as we dropped into Rock Creek where we retreated to the trees to filter water. It was getting hot and from here we would climb for the remainder of the day up to Kenosha Pass. As we started back on the trail we noticed/heard a couple hikers coming in to view behind us. We pulled off in the shade for a few minutes to let the other hikers pass. The trail was out in the open and our umbrellas came in handy. Sticking the handle of mine beneath the sternum strap on my pack it holds well enough I can use both hands for my hiking staffs. I would not have done well on this uphill stretch without the umbrella.

We were closing in on Kenosha but stopped briefly and enjoyed lunch with a tremendous view overlooking South Park and the town of Jefferson. The trail was getting busier with day hikers and the drone of the highway had become a constant hum.

We had leapfrogged a couple times with the other hikers and at the top of Kenosha Pass we learned their names were Chip and Sprout. Both women are from Colorado and are also doing a thru hike. We encountered our first trail magic at the parking area in the form of mini Reese's Cups. Crossing the highway we briefly contemplated staying at the developed campground but decided we wouldn’t be happy with the noise. Wrapping up section 5 we pressed on three more miles into section 6 to water and camping opportunities at Guernsey Creek.

Sprout and Chip were setting up their tents when we arrive, we scanned the area for Shannon but didn’t see her tent – we did see a couple hanging out around outside their tent – the woman dressed in what looked like a sky diving suit, bright red with black accents around the knees. It was bizarre. I wish I had taken a picture but there was no time, a storm was brewing on the horizon.

The distance storms were banging and getting closer as we set up our tent. No sooner did we finish it started raining so we climbed in, packs and all and heated up water for our simple macaroni and cheese dinner. We gagged it down as the hail started - but nothing compared to the previous night’s storm.

We set up our pads and bags inside the tent while the storm played out. It let up just in time for us to go get water from the stream before heading to bed. We would be up at four to leave by five so we could beat the heat and the storms over Georgia Pass. We were both excited to be climbing high tomorrow.

We had arrived at the first big mountain range.