We had agreed that the plan was Yale for day 5, so day 4 was short, but with a long climb with as much water as we could carry (7l total). So we could take it easy and enjoy the hike:
Good nights sleep. P did not have to pee. Alarm at 6. P up at 6:10. S up at 7. After a relaxed breakfast watching and listening to the river packed everything up and was on trail at 8:30. A woman walking a friendly lab passed by. A bridge over the river was a very short distance down the trail. Immediately the trail seemed narrower than we had had before and more overgrown. S’s nose had a bad explosion just before four day hikers passed by so we weren’t feeling very social. A pair of backpackers called Bruce and Bryce passed by hiking fast and they too were doing the Collegiate Loop starting from Twin Lakes (but we did not see them on the other side). Got to the trailhead then crossed the road to Avalanche Trailhead where there was a welcomed toilet. Carried on a short distance to a small river where we filtered into all water bottles and filled the bladder for that night. Several dog walkers passed by during this time. Started the 2500 ft. climb over three miles. After entering the wilderness, multiple switchbacks in open hillside allowed the view of the valley and lake below to continuously open up. Supplemented by a vast array of wildflowers. We entered the forest which gave some protection from the sun which was thankfully often covered by clouds. We plodded on up the hill only stopping for the rare water break and at one point overtaken by a trail runner. We eventually made it to the top and collapsed on the plastic bag and stared at the sky. The sky was threatening so we put up the tarp shelter first and were thankful as we had intermittent rain storms including hail throughout the rest of the day. We followed the trail to Yale to just above tree line to check it out. There were still large patches of snow and we Facetimed mommy. We headed back to the shelter and shortly after the first pair of CT hikers had arrived hiking south bound named Ashley and Josh. They had the same brand backpack as P but looked very light with only three sections of their roll mat. We put the tent up shortly before the temp dropped 20 degrees and a 15 minute hail storm causing hail drifts. We got ourselves organized and cooked dinner just when the previously mentioned trail runner arrived out of nowhere from the Yale trail wearing just a thin waterproof top her backpack shorts and trail runners. She described her route to the top and how she descended off the ridge during the worst of the storm but still made it to the top with help of her Gaia and always moving to keep warm. It was remarkable to think someone had just done that. We chatted for awhile about the hike and other Colorado peaks before she ran off down the mountain. We ate our dinner quickly as we were cold, filtered our water, took down the tarp, and were happy to be in our sleeping bags by 6:30. Still not sure what time we will start in the morning. The weather forecast is for a low of 39 at our elevation and a 20% chance of rain. As we write this we can hear the rain on our tent and the wind in the trees but at least there is no thunder.
GPS Hiking stats:
6 miles, 2 hours 54 minutes
Ascent 3864 ft., Descent 810 ft.
Campsite altitude 11900 ft.