Day 29 - enter the San Juans (20.2 miles)
Updated: Aug 4
June 7, 2021
Miles: 20.2 miles
Got up at 7am to finish packing up everything before heading to the lobby to wait for the shuttle back to Cumbres Pass. Had to wait until about 8:30am before leaving as had to wait for one guy to get back from the post office.
Took the 12 mile ride up the mountain to Cumbres Pass where John, owner of the hotel, dropped us off. Took a few minutes to rearrange some gear and tie my new shoes, different than my other ones, and I was off around 9:20am.
I knew this next section would be much harder but just didn’t know how long before I start hitting the heavy snow.
On the way up was pretty easy, I just had one sketchy snow crossing but didn’t take too long. I was think if it was just stuff like that I could knock out this section faster than I thought, I was wrong.
I got to the top of the peak where there was a little rock shelter that protecting from the wind and it helped as it sure was windy. I hung around there for an hour then Butters showed up. So I decided to get going. As soon as I did I ran into a guy heading south who I ran into on the way up heading north. He got all turned around but I pointed him in the right direction.
On the way down to Dipping Lakes I still hadn’t hit any real hard section. Then as soon as leaving Dipping Lakes I got my first taste of the San Juan Wilderness, which I’m sure won’t be my last.
I start the climb up where the trail disappears under snow but can see where it goes by my app on my phone. The snow was too steep to cross so I went upwards to get around. This only caused more problems as the higher I went the more snow. So I knew the general direction to go so I just started cutting new foot marks in the snow. It was very hard and a little dangerous. I did a lot of post holing, at times all the way to my waist.
After about a mile of doing this I finally got back to somewhat level ground but still not on the actual trail. Then I come out of the woods and could see the marks and also ran into Butters. We slowly making our way along the ridge, going in and out of snow. Sometimes going way around.
By now we were out in the opening and level so could see where to go. Again I got ahead of Butters.
Slowly made my way to a stream where I looked around for a flat spot to camp. I didn’t have a lot of options but found a camping spot about 200m up trail from the water.
Camped at over 12,000 ft so hopefully the weather places nice as I did have good weather all day. I just wish I could have kept my feet dry as everything is wet from all the snow melt.