Day 44 - climbing, hurricane winds and views (24.3 miles)
June 22, 2021
Miles: 24.3 miles
Woke up early, 4:50am, as Swift and I had a big day planned. We were trying for 30+ miles which would involve over 10,000 ft of climbing with ending just past the summit of Grays Peak (14,254 ft) which is the highest point on the CDT. I thought that might be a bit much and really would depend on weather as lots of ridge walks.
Swift left a little before me but ended up catching him not too long down the trail. The trail started off steep and rocky. I had been use to those mountain bike trails since Breckinridge. However, the rocks started to go away and was able to hike faster.
Wasn’t long until we were out of tree line. I made a comment to Swift that we need to find out when the CDT and CT split ways as the CT is very good with marking, not so much for the CDT.
It wasn’t soon after that we were following a CT sign and realized we were off trail, we found the split. Didn’t take us long to find the trail. That’s when the work started for the day.
We went up a lot of very steep summits, one after the other. It might had not been so bad but the wind was awful. It was probably a steady 40 mph with gusts up to 70 mph, maybe not that strong but it was almost blowing me over. I made sure I was no where near the east cliff as the wind was out of the west.
After awhile Swift got ahead of me, even that I couldn’t yell anything to him as he had missed the turn off the road onto a different trail. The notes said that the road ended. By the time I would have walked to him he would have hit the dead end so I kept going.
I just kept hiking on the ridge, up and down. The views were amazing but you had to work for it.
I kept looking back for Swift but never could see him. I figured he found a shortcut around those tough peaks. Then out of no where he appeared. He said he could see me the whole time.
We hiked the rest of the day together. Then got to a split in the trail where one heads down into the valley which is a little longer and the other stays high but harder ridge walks. Darker clouds were starting to roll in and we were afraid of an afternoon thunderstorm so we went down which is the official CDT.
The first part down was hard as we basically were free climbing down for some then trying to hike down on steep loose rocks. After that it was a gravel road walk all the way to the Argentine Pass Trailhead that would take us to the summit of Grays Peak. Both of us were pretty tired so we decided to find a campsite just up from the trailhead and get an early start to make sunrise on the summit. We have about 2,700 ft to climb over 4.4 miles.