It was nice relaxed start to the day in Frisco. We packed up slowly and ate some Vegan breakfast burritos in the room. We were milking our time in town for every last dollar that we paid for the room. Check out time was 11am and I believe we left at about 10:45. We made our way to the bus stop and took the free bus back to the trail head to start hiking around 11:30. We were immediately in for the biggest climb thus far on the trail, 3,290 feet over 8 miles. The first few miles of the climb were very steep and with the warm temperatures and elevation we were moving at a snails pace. The views once near and above tree line were gorgeous though. Marmots, Pikas, and a couple mountain goats were all seen while making our way over the pass. Once above tree line we were welcomed with a series of false summits which made the climb drag on. The steepness of the climb lessened but the air was getting thinner and thinner as well. We had hoped to do a big afternoon to give us a shot at getting into Leadville on Monday, but that idea was crushed by the altitude. We will take our time over the course of Monday and get into Leadville on Tuesday instead. We may stay the night or we may just dip in to resupply and then leave again. We may do some 14ers after leaving Leadville, we may not. A lot of things are up in the air right now. One thing that is not is the beauty of this trail.
It was a cold morning, it took forever for the sun to hit our shaded campsite. When we went to bed last night we had one other tent near us. When we woke up the area was a regular tent village, everyone was clearly less efficient with their day of hiking then we were :). The winds were vicious all day long, but especially as we climbed over a series of three passes to get towards Leadville. We walked through a vast sea of high alpine wild flowers for a good chunk of the day before starting a very sharp decent towards Leadville. My legs were feeling the sharp ups and downs of the day. Snakebite was having a good day so I had to simply grit my teeth and bare it. We made the decision to continue all the way to Leadville and seek out a hot non dehydrated meal and hopefully shelter at the the Leadville hostel. After about 15 minutes we were successful in getting a hitch with a very friendly and chatty Leadville resident who took us to the hostel. Success they had room for us! After securing the room we walked a half mile to Mountain High Pies, a wonderful pizza place in the town. We both must have been starving because we each ate a whole pizza, half at the pizzeria and the rest back at the hostel. The hostel was a quaint and very welcoming place to stay, I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for an inexpensive room in Leadville. We settled in for the night and made our plan for the next leg of our hike which will be a short 1 1/2 to 2 days to Twin Lakes. From Twin Lakes we will hike the collegiate peaks west alternate which follows the CDT and is supposed to be both more beautiful and much more challenging then the east alternate.