Thursday July 23rd, 2015
CT Segments: 8,7.0 > 8,21.9
After a mostly sleepless night due to animals moving around my tent, I woke up to find the foam grips on my trekking poles had been chewed on and were missing significant pieces. I remembered reading that some animals like chewing on trekking pole grips for the salt that accumulates from sweat. My trekking poles support my tent, so I unfortunately cannot bring them inside.
This morning was sunny and bright, and I was hoping the rain and storms would hold out for my hike over Elk Ridge (12,282 feet) and Kokomo Pass (12,023 feet). The trail was a steep ascent until crossing over Searle Pass at 12,043 feet then flattened out for three miles until dropping quickly towards remnants of Camp Hale, a U.S. Army training facility constructed in 1942, used to prepare soldiers entering the 10th Mountain Division for winter conditions encountered in the Alps.
The wildflowers on this section were especially exquisite.
Past Camp Hale, the trail climbed toward Highway 24 until I found a good campsite near a forest service road at mile 21.9. A water source was supposed to be near my campsite, but after searching half a mile in both directions along the trail and forest service road, I decided to bushwhack down to a creek running along Highway 24 to collect 1 1/2 liters of water. I was almost out of water, so was glad to have extra for the night and next morning. I also decided to pile rocks around my trekking pole grips to hopefully discourage salt-hungry chipmunks.