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Day 41: 9/3/17 Rocky Mountain National Park

Miles: 7 Steps: 12,447 Vertical gain: Strava knows Liquid consumed: 140 oz Wildlife: squirrels (one stared me down for a really long time), deer sprinting up a mountain, chipmunks Faith in Humanity: didn't have much human contact today. I had a choice to make today: go and explore and push myself or take a super restful day. I opted for the latter and feel great about it! First I slept in as late as I could. By 7:45am there's no way I could pretend to sleep more so I was up. I got ready and relaxed in camp for a couple of hours then decided to bushwhack a bit. I went maybe 20 minutes from camp aiming for to small lakes. On the way, however, there were lots of downed trees and I thought: I already did a really cool route in this park and get to do it in reverse tomorrow, so why not rest! There were tons of large boulders in the area and I sat in the deep shade of one. I read, relaxed, ate some food, and honestly it was wonderful. I typically take rest days in town since you can buy food and charge electronics and such, but it felt really good to have such a restful day in the wilderness! I made it until 3:30 at my boulder shade area and decided to hike to my designated campsite for the night. I bushwhacked to the trail a different way than I came and came to the trail after 30 minutes. Ahh, the super highway National Park Trail! So smooth, nicely graded, perfectly gradually uphill. I ran into 3 hikers coming down the trail who said "it's still quite a ways." I kind of laughed as I knew it was only 3 miles and I was absolutely loving the hike, wasn't tired at all, and in fact wishing it was a ways longer. They probably assumed since it was later in the day that I had an epic journey from my car and more misery was to come. I arrived at Thunder Lake Stock site, my home for the night. I Set up my tent rather quickly and headed down to the lakeshore for gawking as this is a gorgeous lake at 10,500 ft with great views up valley. I got some pretty good sunset shots and I'll definitely post one. I ate ramen with pepperoni and hot sauce for dinner, ahhh the life of luxury! Cool sunset at the lake. The rangers cabin appeared to have people in it, wish they came out and said hello! Oh well. Tomorrow it's back over the Divide via the bushwhack route I took yesterday, only in reverse. Going to spend another night in the beautiful hostel (no option to continue on as the CDT enters the Park again and there's no camping for 12 additional miles or something which is too long. So nice to get so much rest today!

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