Daily Miles: 18
2021 CDT Total Miles: 317
Overall CDT Total Miles: 2390
Phew! We can’t remember being this exhausted in a long time. Today was easily the hardest day of this trip.
Dave drove us back to the trail this morning and we started walking around 9:15am. Definitely should have started earlier given the look of the elevation profile for today, but we do enjoy a non-rushed morning in town.
The trail started climbing away from the highway pretty decisively. It already felt warm when we started walking, so we knew it was going to be a hot day. The sky was clear and we felt good after having a relaxing night in town.
We could see from the elevation profile that the trail was going to continue with more steep ups and downs today. It felt like that kind of a day, but super-charged. We knew that we had to do a least 18 miles to keep close to our average daily miles, since this is only a three day stretch…we don’t have a bunch of other days to make up some miles.
A few miles into the walk, we came upon a yurt on the trail. It seemed more permanent than other yurts we’ve seen and was open to CDT hikers. It was really cool inside and definitely gave us some inspiration as we continued down the trail. It would have been fun to sleep there, but sadly it wasn’t in our schedule to stop after just three miles.
We had some nice ridge walking again today. The views didn’t disappoint as we wound our way along the ridges. It was fun to be able to look back and see where we had come from hours ago. At the same time, it could be demoralizing to look ahead and see the trail heading straight up the side of a mountain.
A lot of the forest today was completely burned. The trees were often still standing, but they were all dead. This meant that we didn’t have much for shade today from the sun. We all felt like we got a bit cooked by the sun.
Some of the descents today were so steep, we wished we had gone up them instead of down. Mace took three separate tumbles today (luckily not hurting himself), but it is just an indication of how steep and slippery (trail covered with small rocks) the trail was.
We met a southbound CDT hiker, Cash22, this afternoon. He is the first hiker we’ve seen in 4 or 5 days. We were so exhausted that we couldn’t put too much effort into a conversation with him. We just chatted for a few minutes before continuing our climb.
At 7pm, we stopped for a quick dinner/snack to power us for the final stretch to where we had wanted to camp. That break and food seemed to give us the energy to get ourselves up our final climb and then down to a dried up lake which we are now camped at. We made it to camp just before 8pm and we are all completely wiped.
As we looked at our navigation app, we could see that over the course of the 18 miles we hiked today, we gained over 6,200 feet and lost over 4,300 feet. That basically equally a ton of up and down for the day. We are all looking forward to a very good night of sleep.