Day 32 - walking in snow fields in the afternoon is no fun (16.9 miles)
Updated: Aug 10
June 10, 2021
Miles: 16.9 miles
Slept ok but felt a little tired when I woke up so just laid there for awhile, no point in rushing as not many cars will be passing at that time of day.
Finally got to the highway around 7am. Took me 45 minutes to get a hitch but really not many cars passed by heading south. Then a see someone drop off several hikers. I was hoping she was a trail angel in town and would give me a lift. Sure enough I was right. She crossed the road and offered a ride. Turns out she went to some kind of horsing school in Oklahoma.
Arrived in town and she dropped me off at a restaurant to eat. She even offered to come back later after work to drive me back but I said I shouldn’t have a problem hitching out and didn’t plan to stay in town long.
For breakfast I had pancakes, sausage and biscuits & gravy. I was pretty full so no need to stay around town for lunch.
I had at least a days worth of food and almost decided to skip going into Pagosa Springs and hiked straight to Creede as its only 2 days. However there was some gear I needed to get.
After breakfast I went next door to the gas station and got a few things. Then went across the street to the outfitter to get a water filter that would better than the little one I had. Also picked up a sleeping bag liner as it’s been colder than I thought. Then updated my blog and called home.
It was nice to have everything I needed right there on the edge of town and there was lots of traffics heading out. I thought for sure I would only have to wait 5 minutes to get a ride. I was wrong, took 45 minutes. I did have one guy early on stop but he kept telling me to back off then just drove away. The person that ended up giving me a ride was a hiker that lives in the area.
Got back to Wolf Creek Pass a little before 12pm. I knew I had a quick uphill towards the top but wonder when I would see the snow.
It took about 2 miles before I ran into any snow. It funny as you don’t think there will be any snow since you are looking at the south side of the mountain while hiking. However the south side melts so much faster than the north because it gets more sunlight.
Once I hit the snow I was hiking on slushy snow for most the day. Would have been much easier had I started early in the day when it would have been more frozen. I was postholing up to my knees a lot of the time.
After about 9 miles I finally was getting out of the snow only I had a big climb coming up. Right as I was getting ready to start the snowless section I see some hikers way up the ridge. I knew the trail didn’t go up there but it did look to be a short cut. I almost did the same thing but I remembered yesterday going off trail following footprints I knew were off trail. I glad I listened to myself as I caught up to them and they realized halfway on the ridge they had to get down, it was a waste of time but did get a good view.
I made good time all the way to the top. That’s when the wind really picked up as I was hiking along the ridge, almost lost my hat. It was nice and level and with very little snow.
Right around 7pm, dinner time, I got to the turn off to Creede. The next section of the actual CDT for the next 70 miles or so is suppose to be worst than what I’ve seen. I had already decided to hike this alternate as it’s saves a lot of time.
I had a steep downhill through snow which didn’t last long. Then that’s when the fun began as there really wasn’t much of a trail, basically followed the creek to the bottom. There wasn’t any snow but lots of down trees.
As soon as I got to the bottom I was looking straight at a moose across the creek behind some small trees. Once it saw me it looked eyes. It then kind of looked like it was going to go after me then turned around and headed off in the opposite direction. Then I see a baby moose. I knew I needed to get out of there.
I kept following the creek downhill on really no trail but there was no where else to go. This was a burn section so lots of fallen trees.
I finally got to the bottom and had to cross a fast moving creek with my campsite just on the other side. Glad I did it at the end of the day rather than the beginning.
I’ve got 24 miles to Creede so hopefully the trail gets better. I should be done with the snow for at least a day.