Day 75 • May 15, 2012 • Gunnison to Maysville, CO • 57 miles
Zoe wanted some more time with Mom so on her last day with us Lisa stayed a little longer than planned. This created an opportunity: If I hurried I could make the 4000’ climb to the top of Monarch Pass with a much lighter load. So I stuffed the guitar, the panniers, and Zoe in the Prius and started climbing. Lisa, Zoe, and Sammy ran some errands in town and played around, then met me at about the 9000’ mark for a quick hike along Agate Creek. Rob also joined us for the hike and then they all drove on to the top and did some more hiking while they waited for me to finish the ascent. It was a long grind but, especially with the lighter load, not too bad. The biggest grade was maybe six percent, small compared to the fourteen percent we’d seen in Utah. And all else equal, I prefer a day with one or two “summits” versus the thirty or forty we’d seen back in California and will see again as we head east. I find it easier to plan for a single big ascent where once you achieve it, it’s all downhill from there. No doubt all in my head.
Barring formation of any new mountain ranges further east, not out of the question given our geologic pace, this will be the highest point in our journey. The Continental Divide– the point at which, during an emergency bathroom break, some of our pee flows toward the Pacific and some toward the Atlantic. We didn’t test this. And in total miles, about the halfway point in our journey. With the exception of a zig north to pick up Denver and Topeka and another zag for the Katy Trail, our meandering ways will become a lot more direct.