SEGMENT 16 (Northbound)
I was awakened about 4:45 this morning by something a few yards away from my tent. Something big. Something heavy!
I unzipped my tent and standing about 20 feet away, were a dozen or so cows, grazing away, completely oblivious to me. I could see them quite easily with the nearly full moon. I turned on my head lamp and they just stared back at me as if to say, "What are you looking at? Go back to sleep!"
Eventually, they moved away and I fell asleep for another hour or so.
I slept surprisingly well during the night. Sometimes after long runs, I struggle to fall asleep because of adrenaline in my system. On this night, it was not a problem. Sargent's Mesa was the best campsite I'd had up to this point. During the night, several other tents had been erected but I didn't hear any of my neighbors and have no idea when they arrived. My lights were definitely out!
I got up, made breakfast and packed up my campsite.
I was on the trail by 8:30 and was surprised at how "springy" my step was. Next stop: Marshall Pass, some 15.2 miles to the north. I was blessed with some lengthy downhill sections, on the first four miles and then again for the last six miles. This part of the trail was the softest of any part to date.
As they did in segment 24, a number of marmots crossed my path. These are very strange creatures; much larger than I had imagined they would be. And fast - they darted up the trails in front of me, sometimes scaring the daylight out of me when they came out of nowhere. All I have seen so far is the back end of these furry little critters. I have no idea what their faces look like!
I reached Marshall Pass around noon today. I didn't push the pace at all. I just ran and jogged and even walked quite a bit to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the Rockies. Gone was the pressure to run 48 miles per day. I knew this day would end with just 29.5 miles and I was perfectly content with that.
SEGMENT 15 (Northbound)
I ate lunch at Marshall Pass. This was the first time I'd eaten lunch anytime close to the actual lunch hour since I'd been on the trail. Lunch seemed to slip to mid afternoon on most days, and dinner was rarely done by nightfall. Today was the exception and I reveled in it! Lunch at lunchtime - what a concept. I wondered how much my late lunches last week affected my performance. Guess I couldn't worry about it now, but I will try to keep on schedule in the future.
There were a lot of hikers and bikers on the trail today and Marshall Pass was alive!
With a little over 14 miles to go, I set my sights for Highway 50, the next resupply point for many of us.
Once again I was able to take advantage of long downhill sections and was done with this day in timely fashion. I reached Highway 50 around 3:45 and thought about starting the next segment a day early, but I know it would be to my disadvantage. So, I'll be happy with the 77 miles that I've covered in these two days. Happy. Content. Feeling well.
End of Day 6