The drive to Tincup the back way through Gunnison was a long one. It wouldn't be long for normal people but I'm not used to driving more than a 100 miles a day on an interstate highway so driving 200 miles of mostly mountain driving was very tiring.
I made a lot of stops along the way in an effort to trick my body into thinking it was a shorter drive, so I ended up getting to Mirror Lake, which is 3 or 4 miles past Tincup, about an hour before sundown.
When I came up here I was wondering whether or not I would be able to breathe at timberline, and the answer is.... Sort of. I'm not passing out or nothing like that but I am lightheaded and walking up and down hills like I used to is out of the question, I get tired just walking the hundred feet down to Mirror Lake. I know some of that would go away after a week or two but when I lived at 9000 feet I could come to Tincup and walk around just like I was at home. but it looks like now I'm either not spending enough time in the mountains or I'm to geezerly to breathe at 10 or 11,000 feet.... Looks like I need to spend more time in the mountains.
To say the road from Tincup to Mirror Lake was in poor condition would be an epic understatement. It was absolutely horrendous. I hadn't been on that road for a few years and it was always kind of bad, but it has deteriorated to the point that if I can get out of here without busting a couple tires I will never use the road again.
I don't know how cold it got last night, because I didn't have a thermometer, but there was ice on the outside of the tent this morning, and I had trouble sleeping because I was kind of chilly. My Wiggys sleeping bag is rated at 0°, but I'm a cold sleeper and need as many covers as I can get. I think the main problem last night was I didn't have enough insulation between me and the cot and cots are naturally cold because cold air can circulate underneath them. So tonight I'm going to put more insulation under my sleeping bag and hope that helps.
The Tincup area is just as beautiful as I remember it. Anytime you're high in the mountains its pretty, but Tincup is a special place and its scenic in ways you only see at timberline and high mountain passes. Long ago when Pres. Teddy Roosevelt was visiting Cripple Creek Colorado he said that the scenic beauty of the area bankrupted the English language. That statement was true then and it's true now. But the Tincup area goes a little further and imprints images into your mind that can't be forgotten or equaled but must be renewed every chance you get.