Day 31 - less snow but for how long (25.8 miles)
Updated: Aug 10, 2022
June 9, 2021
Miles: 25.8 miles
That was not the best spot to camp. I thought I had enough cover from the wind but I was wrong. I didn’t sleep very well as I kept thinking someone or some animal would be running down the trail. Luckily that didn’t happen.
The one nice thing about camping on the trail was it made me get up early and pack up quickly. Also that extra mile hiking last night made the morning climb much shorter to the top.
Started with a gradual climb to the open peak. Got a great view of where I had come from. To me, it didn’t seem like the trail went the most direct way.
After the climb up I had a quick downhill covered in snow. I started following the footprints in the snow rather than the map on my phone. That was a mistake as it took me too far down the mountain and had to climb back up. This caused me to walk across very steep snow to get back to the actual trail, even had to break out my ice ax to help. I should have looked at my topo maps rather than my phone as I would have seen what I was getting myself into.
After the slow way back to the actual trail I ran into another situation where I was trying to follow footprints. I tried to stay on trail as close as possible but ran into a sketchy section in the snow. I noticed I could glassad down even though it looked steep but leveled out at the bottom with no rocks. I got some good speed and wasn’t too bad.
I was off trail again so walked back to it across the snow field. At this point I was starting to see less and less snow. However the snow was melting fast and was postholing pretty good at times.
Took a short break around 10:30am to fill up on water. I was about 2 miles from Elwood Pass. This is when I really started to have just a dirt hiking trail and almost no snow. This lasted all the way to my lunch break.
After about 2 hours of resting I got going again. I thought I was done with all the hard part until after Wolf Creek Pass. Once again I was wrong, I should never assume anything on the CDT.
I started to head up the mountain through thick forest which meant blow downs and snow.
After climbing out of that mess I got to the top where I could see for a long ways. I then started to hike along a very narrow trail right up against the mountain. It was pretty steep drop off and the trail was full of tiny rocks so was slippery.
I kept thinking, I’m sure glad there is no snow, then soon enough I had to cross the snow on the narrow steep trail. Didn’t phase me too much as I had done much harder stuff earlier in the day.
I was still making pretty good time and thought I could possibly get to Wolf Creek Pass by the end of the day rather than tomorrow. Then I turned the corner and look at Wolf Creek Ski Resort. The mountain was covered in snow on the north side which was the part I was going up.
I had to battle going up steep snow banks and going over blow downs, it was very slow going. I was thinking I was probably only going to make it to the summit of the mountain and camp.
I finally reach the top and had a nice ridge walk all the way to the top where the ski lifts are located.
The top was covered in snow so I knew I had to head down but it was only a mile and half to the pass.
Once at the bottom I look and see no place to camp. I was hoping there might be some trail magic but it was kind of late, already 8pm. So after looking around for a good spot I went back to where I came from, about a quarter of a mile, and found a camping spot.
Going to try to wake up early and see if I can get a hitch into Pagosa Springs.