Daily Miles: 19
Total Miles: 694
After at least 12 hours of being in our hammocks, our alarms went off to start the day. It was nice having a chance to relax in our hammocks…it was the first time on the CDT that we have had an on-trail “near-o”.
It was pretty chilly as we got started, but we were climbing, so that helped to combat the cold. When we got out of the trees, we got a taste of the cold wind, so we were inclined to keep on our windshirts and mittens.
The climbing was mostly gradual as we made our way up to the high point on the Colorado Trail (13,271 feet). It isn’t our high point so far…James Peak (which we summitted before Winter Park) is maybe 30 feet higher. But, it is still cool to get over 13,000 feet.
The trail headed down from the high point on a very loose jeep road. Our shoes are getting pretty worn out and the tread is getting slippery. On downhills like that road, we sometimes have to walk in the grass on the side of the road, because we will be less likely to slip.
Shortly after lunch, we got to a junction where we started an alternate. It is meant as a “bad weather” alternate, because in theory you are less exposed if there is lightning. But for us, we were taking it because it brings us by trees for hanging at night. The length of the alternate is almost exactly the same at the actual CDT, so it seemed like the obvious choice.
The trail was actually quite nice and pretty easy walking. As we got close to where we were going to look for camping, we could see a bunch of animals laying down in the grass at the bottom of the valley. As we got closer, the animals got up and we realized it was a giant herd of elk…at least one hundred! It was quite a sight to see.
Tomorrow morning we have less than two miles before we are back on the CDT. Tomorrow we will also say goodbye to the Colorado Trail. Hopefully the condition of the trail does not deteriorate when we leave the CT.
We have been so grateful to have really nice weather the past two days. After a string of rainy days, we are happy to have blue skies as we go through the San Juan Mountains. They are considered to be a highlight of the CDT and it is great that we can enjoy them in beautiful weather.