Daily Miles: 17
Total Miles: 525
It was a really cold night last night. As usual, all of our gear was moist this morning with the cold, damp air. It will be nice when we get to a motel and have the opportunity to dry out our gear for real.
We passed by a lot of tents this morning as we made our way towards Lake Ann Pass. We kept our wind shirts, wind pants and mittens on for awhile while the climb was pretty gradual.
Luckily the climb wasn’t as much of a beat-down as Hope Pass yesterday. The views were just as stunning as we walked up. Lake Ann itself lies at the bottom of a rock wall as you get a clear view of the pass. Everything in that area was rock or sand, so the trail was really well-built.
Many years there is a scary snow cornice near the top of the pass, but luckily this year the cornice is relatively very small. There are only about 15 steps in the snow to get to the top. It was much worse when Beardoh went over it in 2017, so we were glad it was very mild this year.
At the top of the pass, there was no wind, so it was a great place for a break. There were two CT hikers at the top when we arrived, and another four who made it to the top before we left. It was pretty fun chatting with the other hikers. Sometimes we miss having the social aspect of the experience, since we are only passing (very few) CDT hikers…however other times we really miss the feeling of having the trail to ourselves.
The descent from Lake Ann Pass was really nice and switchbacked. When we got to the bottom, we left a Wilderness boundary and started seeing motorcycles on the trail. That was a bit jarring at first. We were really surprised that motorcycles are allowed in this area at all. We probably saw about ten over the course of the next three hours.
We ran into a couple this afternoon who are also hiking the CDT. They started the trail in northern NM in mid-June and are planning to go all the way to the Canadian border before coming back to NM and hiking south to the MX border. It is interesting to see all the different configurations folks are doing of the trail this year.
The last five or so miles of the day were back in a Wilderness area, which meant “no motorcycles”, which was nice. We did part of the climb to Cottonwood Pass before stopping for dinner. We decided at dinner not to go any further, since we were almost out of tree line and it was looking like rain was coming.
It did start raining during dinner, so we just moved under some trees to keep us mostly dry. After dinner, we put on our ponchos and went out into the rain to set up our hammocks. Luckily it wasn’t pouring rain, but it definitely got cold fast as the rain started.
Now, as we lay in our hammocks, the rain has stopped and the sun seems to be starting to peek out from the clouds. It is still really cold, so we are bundled up in our sleeping quilts. We are hoping for a clear day tomorrow, as we will be above tree line for about 15 miles.