Miles: 26 Steps: 53,531 Vertical gain: Strava Knows Liquid consumed: 128 oz. Wildlife: Several birds soaring, and that’s it! Faith in Humanity: Met a really cool Forest Service Ranger who was really encouraging about my trip. Thanks! Woke up last night and there was about an inch of snow on the ground. When I woke up this morning there wasn’t any additional accumulation. You know what’s interesting about snowstorms? You don’t hear them. If it’s not windy it could snow a foot and you’d almost never know it. Kind of neat! Very cold this morning. I had to break some surface ice to get to some water and that whole experience was extremely cold as I had to get my hand wet in order to fill the bottles, too. Brrrr. I immediately started down the trail to warm up. Hmm, what will it be like 2,000 feet above me in terms of snowfall?? Hopefully not much more.... It could have been much worse. There was snow pretty much the entire hike today, but it was only a bit scary a couple times: on some north facing steep traverses above 12,000 feet there was still snow from a previous storm that was pretty compacted and this slippery. I really wished I’d had an ice ax in a couple of places as a fall probably wouldn’t have been fatal but would have hurt me pretty badly. I was never clinging on for my life, but it really wasn’t very fun either. Of course the worst parts were near the end of the high ridge, when I was already fully committed to the route. Anyway I survived! Quite a few hunters today as it’s opening day of a rifle elk season. I ran into one guy who was struggling in the snow and said something about catching up to someone with horses. I didn’t see any horse tracks at all so I was kind of worried about him and thought he might be lost but eventually I did see a guy with horses and figured that must be his friend. So after the sketchy snow the trail I was originally going to take looked like it continued with the sketchy snow traversing so I looked at my map, and yay!!! There was a side trail I could bail out to a dirt road on. I did that and it didn’t even add much if any mileage. A ranger passed me on the road and asked about my trip. He offered water and was super cool. Thanks for being super cool and encouraging! Beautiful scenery today. I’m really happy I made the last minute call to take to the trails! Above treeline, fresh snow, bitter cold adventures can be fun! I wonder when the next time I’ll be above treeline will be? New Hampshire? Well, tomorrow I have about 20 miles to Telluride! Mostly a road walk on the highway. I’m Excited to check out the town and meet my host!