Daily Miles: 19
Total Miles: 384
So it turns out that sleeping on lumpy ground is not very conducive to a good night of sleep. Who knew? We tossed and turned around the various lumps we had to deal with. There was also an intense thunder/lightning/rain storm that came through last night. It seemed to be just overhead for a bit, but luckily we stayed mostly dry under the tarp.
When we got up, it was very calm around us and half of the sky was blue. We were happy to see that we would have a good start to the day. We were able to pack up quicker than normal, since we didn’t have our hammocks up.
Shortly after getting on the trail, we met a group of six biker racers. They thought they were the last of the racers, and they seem to be correct, as we haven’t seen anymore today.
The views continued to be spectacular today and the trail was mostly at a very comfortable grade. We saw hundreds of sheep across a valley and watched several shepherd dogs corral the sheep up a hill.
We didn’t see any other CT hikers in our direction today. We did see two section hikers, who started in Lake City, but have been feeling sick from the high elevation. They were planning to cut their trip short due to their issues with the altitude.
In the afternoon, after sharing the trail for over 300 miles, the CDT and the CT finally parted ways. We have only seen a few CDT hikers in the last week, and those folks have all done some kind of a flip-flop instead of going in one straight line from Mexico to Canada.
Shortly after the two trails spilt, we started our descent back into the trees. It was a cool experience to be above treeline for over 30 miles. The view at the point where the descent started can only be called epic. There was a creek flowing down the center of a narrow valley, with waterfalls coming down the sides. There were two small lakes near the edge of a cliff. We sat down for a bit and just enjoyed the view.
The descent started with a series of artfully created switchbacks. It reminded us of going down the Whitney Portal Trail with its long series of switchbacks down a very steep mountain. We continued to follow the creek for quite a long time. The trail descended quickly and soon we were back in the pine forests.
We took some extra breaks in the afternoon, since we knew we didn’t need to do a lot of miles today. When we stopped for our dinner break, the flies and mosquitoes were terrible. We are still over 10,000 feet, but it felt so warm it seemed like we were at a lower elevation.
We decided to stop for the day just after 6pm. Today was our favorite day of the trail so far. It was a mix of amazing views, good trail and no rain! Hurray! We are hopeful that our final days on the trail will be like this. Tomorrow we are heading in to Silverton. We will be meeting up with a childhood friend of Beardoh’s. They haven’t seen each other in about 25 years, so it should be fun!