Day 23: Eagle Peak

I have so much to say about today, but don’t think I have the creative energy to write much tonight. I’ll do my best, but bear with me.

We woke up early at COhome and hit the road to the Johnny Bull Trailhead north of Dolores. I knew we were ready for a longer hike, I was hoping 12 miles. Zak found the perfect one for us. It was tough from the get go and we kept hitting time wasters. The first 50 feet of the hike were across a river. Zak skipped across, but flooded his boots, so the girls and I untied the boots we had just laced. We got across and then had to start the whole process of securely tying our boots over again. The start of the hike was steep, but we were all in great moods. Mile after mile slowly passed and we eventually made it 6 miles in. It usually takes us 2-2.5 hour to hike 6 miles, but I think we were much closer to the 4.5 hour mark. At the 6 miles we came across the only other people we met on the trail, 5 guys from Scottsdale, Arizona on motorcycles. I can’t even comprehend how the trail we had just hiked was suitable for any wheeled machine.

The trail was a mostly social trail at this point, no real path to the summit we had our eyes on. We slowly, and meticulously made it to the summit. It’s been nearly two years since we’ve been at a summit and I had forgotten how magical it is. Eagle Peak isn’t the tallest mountain in the San Juans or the tallest one we’ll do over the next week or so, but it’s so magical being at the top.

After some pictures, we started the decent. I think the most challenging part of this hike was all the downed trees. The hike is in the San Juan National Forest and not maintained like many of the hikes we do. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if we were the first ones to do this hike this year. There were 60 (we counted on the way down and that number is exact) downed trees over the trail. 60 trees we needed to find a way over, under, or around. Sometimes we could just take giant steps over, but often we had to break branches to clear a path, gingerly test the solidity of the ground, or try more than one way to get through. It was tough and that added time on the way up and down.

We all leaned on one another throughout the hike. There were a few falls, a couple scrapes, a bandaid, some moments of negative mindset, and tears. But together, we did it. So proud of the girls. Today they hiked 13.57 miles with 4,449 feet of elevation gain. They summitted the first mountain of the trip, and, although they are sore and tired, they had a great time.

We’re backpacking on Canyonlands tomorrow, so I doubt we’ll have service to post.

But those views!

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