August 31st, 2019
Tennessee Pass trailhead and Hwy 24 mm 1818.7 to Willow Creek mm 2841.8
Distance in miles: 23.1
I drag my feet getting out of town. There are the usual distractions like food and people in the hostel to talk to. One lady is hiking the CT but says she never wants to do another thru-hike again. She just isn’t into it. I kind of wish I had her problem. I have the opposite dilemma of not ever wanting my thru-hiking to end.
We have to walk outside of town to a junction to get a ride but once we’re there, a guy with a bunch of kayaks and a bike pulls over for us right away. You can usually count on vehicles that are covered with outdoor toys. He’s heading over the pass to do some paddling on the Eagle River and we talk about the Arkansas River, since he’s from Buena Vista.
From Tennessee Pass, we don’t have too far to go to the trail junction for Mt. Massive. We want to camp there so that we are staged for an early start up the mountain the next morning. But we get a late start on this day and will have to walk late and fast in order to get there. It’s the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend so tons of people are on the trail. We kind of fly past most of them. The trail goes mostly through woods but there are still many small climbs. I recall this section not being terribly exciting. Today it just flies by, too.
I reach the junction just before dark and find a few flattish spots near the creek. Given the holiday, I was worried all the sites might be filled but I see only one other tent. I dislike getting into camp so late but it will be nice to leave my tent and pack here in the morning and just focus on getting up the mountain. This will be the 6th 14er I have summited (3rd this year) and I’m excited.