trip report by besthike editor Rick McCharles
Hunt Lake to Monarch Pass
I was up at first light. But everyone else heading south was already gone. I enjoyed a pot of coffee, as usual. It was up, up and away from pretty (but buggy) Hunt Lake. For some reason the steep climb to the only major pass felt easy today. Perhaps I’m getting used to this. The map showed a long, leisurely walk out along the continental divide. More ptarmigan. These 4 chicks were very young. The end is near. Electricity. Traversing the roads atop of Monarch Ski Resort was a bit confusing. There are few trail signs. Here’s the finish. Paved paradise, put up a parking lot. I caught a lift with a trail angel from Buena Vista. In thanks – and celebration – I treated for beer samplers and pork tacos at Elevation brewery. She dropped me at BV tourist information. I hoped to find a bus headed towards Aspen. Bad news: Though public transit is fantastic on the other side of Independence Pass, there are no buses in the poorer Arkansas River valley. 😦
Though I hate hitchhiking, a paddling guide drove me up to the Twin Lakes turnoff. … Then a fascinating world traveler – next skiing in Chile before settling down to research Dahl Sheep in Alaska – drove me the rest of the way to Aspen.
From there, in the pouring rain, I caught a $6 bus back to surprise my friends in Carbondale.
If you are looking for a great 80 miles of hiking on the Continental Divide Trail, the new Colorado Trail Collegiate West is a terrific option. 🙂