A couple of days ago a friend offered me a camping pad after I explained my goes down after a couple of hours use which i believed to be the valve leaking slightly. This is good when I wish to get up in a couple of hours but not so good when i want to sleep, its resulted in an upsetting wake up and blow up the pad night shift every night so far. I said I would persist with my pad and set off on a 115 mile ride. That night while pitching up next to a river up a cold cold pass (near Copper Mountain), the whole valve ejected itself from the sleeping pad. This left me feeling rather deflated. I took a few plasters out of my pack, kind of re-inflated the pad and taped the valve into place. It wasn’t perfect but hey, I got some sleep. The next day I woke to police lights 20 meters from where I was camped, there was a bike race crossing the main road, I packed up and rolled onto the path like I was racing. After climbing over the last few hundred feet of pass I rolled down to Leadville where I purchased some solvent glue hoping to make a more permanent solution to my camping pad troubles. I still have not tested it.
I carried on out of Leadville to Twin Lakes where I have based myself for climbing 14ers (peaks about 14,000 feet). There is a nice small hostel, like an old village hall, with bunks down the sides, a big table in the middle, and sofas and a coffee station at one end. A lovely cosy place. The hostel owner informed me of some free wine left in the fridge going spare and food in the hiker box and I was sold. Around 7 other people stopped in the hostel, mainly CT hikers and the owner joined us for the evening. This hostel also comes with free pancakes with strawberry and rubarb in the morning, but my mind was set on an early summit.
I packed my bag in the evening, put my bike in a corner and preped. At 3.30am my phone vibrated followed by me sitting up drowsily, why do I do this to myself?? I slipped out into the night. It felt frosty and crisp. I turned on my head torch and started walking. I think it was about a one hour walk to the trailhead to go up Black Cloud Creek. Perfect darkness, I could see the Milkyway. I started climbing the 5500ft to the summit. Through dense Aspen trees I wondered if a bear would hear me coming. Would it be small enough for me to fight it if startled and aggressive? As I cleared the treeline the sky began to lighten. I hurried to the ridge line that would take me to the summit. Just as I arrived on the ridge the sun came over the horizon, It was worth the racing up and early start. Morning light and evening light always seem best for photos. I did plan on going fast today and possibly doing a second peak, but I decided to enjoy it. The biggest mountain in Colorado to myself. I took photos getting as creative as possible. (see pics) then jogged up the ridge to the summit. Arriving on the summit at 7.15am I decided to mess with my camera and the brilliant photo op the American Flag gave me. After which i sat and ate a few energy bars. I descended fast, running past other hikers from around half way up. When I arrived back at Twin Lakes, I decided that was enough for one day, and so, I chill.
The forecast for the next few days is grim, but, there is movie theatre in Salida about 50 miles down the road that could kill a few hours indoors and i do quite fancy a movie.