Day 30 - the San Juans are beautiful but hard (21.5 miles)
June 8, 2021
Miles: 21.5 miles
It seemed cold last night, froze my wet socks and shoes but not my water in my tent.
It’s always slow going in the cold. Took me a good hour to pack up everything before heading off down trail.
I figured my morning hike wouldn’t be too hard as the snow was pretty hard and I had my micro spikes so it was just like walking normally. The hard part about the morning was navigating the trail since the snow does a good job of hiding it.
Around mid morning I started to pass other hikers. I think in all I saw 5 hikers on the day.
As the day went on the snow started to melt making it turn into a slush just like yesterday. At times it felt like I was barely moving but I think I was able to average over 2 mph during the day.
I had a lot of snow fields to cross which wasn’t too bad.
I did have some scary crossings on snow where I was walking on the snow on a very steep slope. Best not to look down on those and I went very slowly as not to slip.
Towards the end of the day I had my final downhill for the day. There was a lot of snow so going downhill can be scary and slow. Unless there is a nice enough slope to glasad down, sitting on your bottom and sliding down the mountain.
I saw 2 people down below, 1 near the bottom and the other half way. It looked a little scary but I decided I might as well since one of them made it. I got a lot of speed and was hard to control it. I made it to the bottom in one piece. After I went the 1 that was half way decided to give it a try. She was very out of control and almost smashed up into the rocks.
After that I had to find the trail again since I took a short cut.
Right before getting back on trail I ate my dinner before chugging along another mile. However I was never able to find a camping spot. By now I was starting to make my way back up out of the valley which I didn’t want to do.
I saw on the map a possible camping spot but turned out to be under snow. I was get worried now as it was getting dark and couldn’t find a spot. Just as I ran out of daylight the trail was wide and flat enough to pitch my tent. I normally wouldn’t do it but I don’t think many people if any will be night hiking. Plus I’ll get up early so shouldn’t be an issue.
Hopefully I can knock out another 20 miler tomorrow. I will say I’m pretty exhausted and should sleep well.