Day 49 - lost in the clouds (34.8 miles)
Updated: Aug 11
June 27, 2021
Miles: 34.8 miles
I kind of wanted to sleep in but my body had other plans as I woke up at 6am. Thought about going back to sleep but figured I best get moving.
As soon as I got on the road hiking it started to rain. Didn’t last very long but it would rain off and on all day.
Because of the big fire in Rocky Mountain National Park last year the CDT trail that goes through is still closed so had to hike about 5.5 miles on highway 34 until I got to the road crossing of the trail which is open heading north.
Once back on the CDT I had a 3,000 foot climb, mostly in the woods until the last half mile where I went over Bowen Pass. With all the other passes I’ve gone over this one was easy.
From there it was downhill into another burn section. This one seemed fresh as you could almost smell the fire but I’m pretty sure it’s from last year.
I had one more climb on the day, longer and steeper than the first one. I had lots of trees to step over which slowed me down but overall it wasn’t too bad until I got above tree line and entered the clouds.
Not only could I not see much but it got steep. Also there wasn’t much of a trail as I had to follow markers but they were hard to see because of the low hanging clouds. I got rained on and the wind started to pick up right near the top.
At the top was a shelter at over 12,000 ft and believe the last time I’ll reach that elevation on trail. I thought it was going to be much bigger and had planned to sleep in it but once I got there I had second thoughts so I ate dinner then took off down trail. However I went in the wrong direction and wasted about 20 minutes, should have checked my map closer. To be fair I was following a trail just the wrong one, that’s the CDT for you.
The visibility got worse as I headed down but the wind had stopped. Navigating was not easy and kept getting off trail like before I was following markers in the ground. I could maybe see 50-100 feet in front of me.
Then finally a visible trail could be seen only it was getting dark. I ended up hiking with my headlamp the last 20 minutes until I got a saddle with flat ground to camp.
Going to try to get as close as I can to the road to Steamboat Springs tomorrow so that the next day I can get there early morning.