Day 62 6/30
Yesterday after leaving the supermarket we ate some noodles at Pho Real(Vietnamese restaurants have the most clever names) and headed towards the free bus back to the trail. On the bus I met Bug Juice who is back home in Colorado while taking a few weeks off from the Pacific Crest Trail waiting for the snow to melt. I guess it’s been a really tough year to hike that trail since the West Coast got pounded with snow this past winter. I never met Bug Juice before but last year he was just ahead of me on the AT and he had a stamp that he used in all the trail registers with his name and avatar on it. It was nice to put a face to the name that I saw so often last year. Check out his blog if you just can’t seem to get enough of this sort of stuff at gobugjuice.com. He carried on to Frisco while QB and I got off at the trailhead and picked up about 9 miles before finding a spot to camp on the side of a ridge with a decent partially obstructed view of the sun setting over the 10 mile range.
This morning we followed the trail through forest for about 10 miles gradually climbing most of the way on nicely graded switchbacks. These were the last miles that the CDT coincides with the Colorado Trail and we met lots of southbounding CTers. They’re just starting their hike and are about to get into the first town; Breckinridge. The CT has so much in store for them, they’re so lucky and they don’t even know it, or maybe they do. When we reached Georgia Pass the trail splits and the CDT opens up onto a huge ridge for miles and miles. We had huge expansive views in every direction and climbed up over 13,000 feet for the first time on trail(Elbert and Massive were off trail extracurricular activities). After awhile of ridge walking QB and I took an alternate of our own creation. We took a steep dirt road into a valley and walked through the tiny but awesome town of Montezuma. We then rejoined the CDT and walked for a few miles Argentine Pass Trailhead that leads to Gray’s Peak where we found a place to camp with views of the Argentine Spine.Gray’s and Torrey’s Peaks the beefy Mt GuyotIt’s Hammertime in Montezuma
Day 63 7/1 17 miles
Today is one I won’t soon forget. I woke up to a frozen tent. It might have been the coldest morning of the trail so I figured it would be best to try to sleep in a little since the sun wasn’t yet shining in the valley where we were camped. This ended up being our latest start yet at 7:55 by over an hour(excluding days starting from town). Once we got going we started climbing up a steep narrow path to Argentine Pass. The trail passed 4 icy patches of snow where I put on my micro spikes and carried my ice ax in my hand. They weren’t horrible but definitely a little dicey, one or two worse than the others. We met Little Buddha near one of these snow patches and snacked out with him for awhile before carrying on to the ridge. Once we got to the ridge it seemed like a straight shot to the top of Gray’s Peak but after we summited the 13,817 foot Mt Edwards we got a good view of the Argentine Spine. This thing had super steep cliffs dropping off both sides and the only option was to carefully navigate upwards and forwards along the top of it. I thought it was pretty scary. I did see 5 goats up here including a baby and these animals walk around up here all the time so I knew it couldn’t be too dangerous. The Spine went on for about a mile and we took our time and safely made it to the switchbacks that led to the summit of Gray’s Peak. The summit was packed with people and we enjoyed our lunch up there taking in awesome views in every direction. At something like 14,278 feet this is the high point of the CDT, supposedly it’s all down hill from here. Just across a saddle maybe a mile away is Torrey’s Peak coming in at 3 feet shorter than Gray’s. The trail to Torrey’s summit was steep but clear of any snow or other obstacles so it was a bit of a no brainer to go off trail and hike up and down that one also. Once we got back to the saddle we followed the main trail for a few relaxing miles downhill to a parking lot. While we were eating snacks and drying our gear in the sun some lady asked me if I had any extra water but I could barely hear her over the sound of a raging river 10 feet away. We crushed about 8 more miles this evening going under I-70 and then camped about a mile north of the major highway. We were uphill of the road and could see headlights but the noise was drowned out by flowing water nearby. Gray’s PeakQB walking up to the Spinewe had to walk over and around stuff like thisTom Brady the dastardly Argentine Spinethe view from the top of Gray’s Peakon top of Torrey’s PeakTorrey’s Peak
Day 64 7/2 20 miles
Today was incredible and very productive even though we had a bit of a slow start this morning. Shortly after breaking camp we ran into Garbelly and Critter who we haven’t seen since the south San Juans and caught up with them for awhile. Then I proceeded to jabber jaw with every day hiker for the first few miles before finally settling into a groove. The trail climbed steeply out of Herman’s Gulch and onto a ridge for about 15 miles. We topped out around 13,200 feet early on and stayed up high outrunning potential weather for most of the day. There was one point where the the winds became super fierce so QB and I ducked below the top of the ridge and let it blow over our heads. It was about 3 minutes of weather, most of the afternoon the clouds were threatening but we only had 3 minutes of heavy winds with a snow/hail/sleet/graupel blend. It cleared quickly and we followed the trail a few more miles down to Rt 40 at Berthoud Pass. We put our thumbs out and after only a couple minutes Jen and her dog Milo scooped us up and brought us to the town of Winter Park, not before seeing a moose on the side of the road though. I haven’t slept inside for a few weeks so after stuffing my face with cheeseburgers and tacos I’ll be enjoying the comforts of a hotel room. QB powering up Herman’s Gulchcheck out my insta for more pictures and even a goat video @endlesspsummer
PS All My Love!!!