Professor Fantastic arranged for a thru hiker, Grizzly, to shuttle us to the trailhead at 7am. He arrived ahead of a scheduled and we eagerly jumped into the car with this stranger.

Along the way, we chatted all things trails and picked this more experienced hikers brain. He dropped us off at the trail at 7:36AM. The Waterton Canyon trailhead parking was packed.

Grizz followed us to the famous sign and snapped a few photos for us. We parted ways and headed on our way.

After chugging a liter of water in the morning, I stopped at the second bathroom I saw. I was happy to see all along the road there were staggered bathrooms. Professor and I chatted most of the way but still managed to take in all the beauty. We also got stalked by a few Bighorn sheep.

We did not pass any other backpackers until we entered the woods and was officially on an actual trail instead of a road. Here we passed Super Mike, who was hiking with three young boys we later passed.

Bear creek was the first official creek for water so we stopped at the trickle to fill up where we ran into another backpacker Roger. Roger is from Oklahoma and decided just yesterday he was going to hike the trail. He started out earlier that year on the AT but quickly was advised but the ATC to leave the trail. We hung out for about 25 minutes refilling water and refueling our bodies and it was only a little after 11am.

We all headed back on the trail hearing some distant thunder. Professor and I hiked separately for a bit until regrouping and hiking the rest of the miles together. We stopped and sat almost at every viewpoint that we came across.

The miles were pretty easy. We did both notice a lack of oxygen in take on the climbs but everything was going well. Switchbacks are also a thing in Colorado and I’m here for it.

Thunder storms sounded near again and made us push a little faster to drop in elevation. We made it to South Platte River, where we intended to camp for night one. A few other hikers and bikers were here as well.

We grabbed the spot closest to the water and the road but with a great view.

After setting up camp for the night (we got to camp around 2:30 even have hiked 16.8 miles), a few passing rain clouds came and brought the temperature down. It was pretty warm all day.

With plenty of time to spare around camp, I soaked my feet down by the river, cleaned up a bit, and stretched.

We met quite a few other hikers and seem to get one of the flattest and closest to the water camp spot.

16.8 miles to South Platte River. Roger our friend from earlier had made it to camp. After exchanging a few words, he kept on heading to his campsite. A little bit later, I ran up and invited him to dinner, so he didn’t have to eat alone. He had already eaten and was basically in bed. But a few minutes later he wondered down the trail and joined us. After eating, I felt a lot better. Around 6pm, I had felt like I was ready for bed.

We sat out by the river one more time and decided to retreat to our tents for an early wake up.