Daily Miles: 22.5
Total Miles: 71
It was quite cold when we got up this morning. SweetPea started off with wind pants, wind shirt and gloves. Beardoh just had his down jacket and windshirt, but wished he had more. As we started out today, we quickly came to the edge of a meadow at the bottom of a valley. It was beautiful, but it also felt like all the cold had settled down in the valley and it got even colder. We probably lasted two hours before we had removed all of our extra layers. Beardoh felt like walking up the valley was his favorite stretch of trail so far on the CT.
As we walked along the edge of the meadow, we heard a pack of coyotes howling and yapping. It sounded like they were so close, but we didn’t see them. It’s funny how an animal of its size can make so much noise.
The trail felt much quieter today. We were in wilderness areas for a good part of the day, which means that mountain bikes are not allowed there. That alone made the trail feel quieter. We also saw only 7 other backpackers (all new to us) and most of those we saw in the afternoon. Most of the day, we felt like we had the whole trail to ourselves.
We have heard in the past that the weather in Colorado can change quickly and there is often an afternoon thunderstorm that rolls through in the summer. Today we definitely experienced some changing weather, as the sky was constantly changing from perfect blue skies to ominous dark grey skies. Shortly before lunch, the sky got dark and there was quite a bit of thunder, but we only got a few sprinkles. The same thing happened again when we stopped for our dinner break.
We had a lot of ups and downs today, but they were all gradual and fairly easy. As we were coming down a gradual descent, SweetPea was marveling at a beautiful bluish/violet bird and somehow managed to do a full body tumble off the trail. Luckily she wasn’t hurt, and it was more amusing than anything.
Tonight we are camped about a mile away from a road, and we can hear the traffic pretty clearly. Not ideal, but it was either this spot or three miles further (including a short and steep uphill). SweetPea wasn’t much in the mood for three more miles, so we stopped here, even though it was only 6:45pm when we called it a day.
As we were walking this afternoon, we could see snowy mountains in the distance. They kept getting closer and now at the end of the day, they look so close. We know we will be getting into higher mountains soon, and probably snow after our first town stop. We are hoping that the recent warm weather is continuing to melt the snow quickly.