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1183.4 to 1199.6 (16.2 miles)
The perfect campground kept its reputation through the night. No rain and no condensation this morning. And a picnic table to fix breakfast followed by the all important trip to the clean and TP equipped privy. Seriously, this was the first time to pack up a dry tent in several weeks.
So, the last couple of miles into Tennessee Pass were fairly level and we descended from the pass with an easy hike to our campsite. That can mean only one thing for this morning; time to climb. Our campsite was actually less than 10,000 feet, so it was a big climb. For five miles we were to gain 2,800 feet in elevation.
The good news was that the trail was well designed to get us up to Kokomo Pass (which wasn’t the highest point) and so only had a couple of really steep spots. Otherwise my morning legs were able to handle the gradient. Though there was a fair amount of huffing and puffing, I was able to complete the climb in good shape. And the weather was perfect. It was also nice to get above tree line for the first time in several days, for the views. The views were beautiful.
Once again, we saw lots of CT hikers, the most we have seen in a day. One pair mentioned how they could tell a CDT hiker from a CT hiker by the far off look in our eyes and our more grizzly look from all the miles.
The goal for today was Cooper Mountain Ski Resort. That was short of our usual mileage goals for two reasons. One you can see in the pictures; a chance to eat/add calories. Both Just Jim and I are loosing weight faster than anticipated so we really need it. The second reason is that our third companion, Pockets, will be attempting to catch us after having a friend join her in Leadville. We have to stop in Breckinridge to catch a bus to Dillon anyway, mileage we can easily make tomorrow.
So the trail climbed up for five miles, stayed high for about four miles to an unnamed pass, then descended to the Copper Mountain Ski Resort. We also encountered mountain bikers and trail runners on our way.
Our first stop at the resort was Starbucks. Just Jim asked for the drink with the most calories. (Vanilla bean Frappuccino). We enjoyed those, got a coke, then went to a restaurant for a burger and fries.
The only problem remaining was where to camp, near a busy ski resort. Comments in Guthook indicated a possible site on the mountainside just beyond the ski area. We were worried it would be filled with CT hikers but were pleasantly surprised to find only one hiker there and room for several more tents.
So that is where I am now; sitting on a steep hillside listening to traffic on Interstate 70. A good day.