Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Colorado: Wolf Creek Pass to Molas Pass (Pagosa Springs to Silverton)

Thirty days hath Septober
April, June, and no wonder
All the rest eat peanut butter except grandmother who rides a tricycle.
(thanks Pop!)

Greetings from Silverton, Colorado.  It's a sweet little old west-style tourist town and only needs a better (read:  cheaper) grocery to be a perfect trail town.  Taking a zero today to do chores, recharge and avoid some storms rolling through.  Mixed precipitation is already falling outside town!  Getting here required leaving the CDT and hiking down a beautiful canyon on the Colorado Trail (CT) about 14 miles.  For the next 170 miles or so, the CT and CDT share trail and soon we will have opportunities to bag a few 14ers...I'm really pumped!

The last week was ~90 miles loaded with snow, challenging trail & terrain, wild winds, lung-busting climbs and more stunning views than I can possibly photograph.  We knew it would be tough and gorgeous and expectations have been exceeded.  Many hikers opted to take the "Creede cut-off" which is a shortcut that avoids most of the San Juans and thus a lot of snow & high elevation...we took the high route and have no regrets!!  Many stretches of CDT are still snow-covered and show faint old tracks so we've been effectively breaking trail, sometimes postholing, slipping or just falling down.  It's a good bit more work than cruising on packed dirt.  I finally got to use my ice axe traversing a steepish snow slope on the Knife Edge (google map it!)

That said, I am behind schedule and will be upping the mileage out of here.  The snow is melting quickly and we are well-conditioned for living at 12,000+ ft.  Afternoon storms have begun to pop up as expected, so more miles must be crushed earlier in the day.

After the first week out, my appetite increased and I dropped weight like a meth junkie eating only lettuce.  I just checked my picture from the southern terminus and thought my face looked, uh, fat?  I'm totally ripped!  Upping the caloric intake has helped counter the effects of elevation and stabilize my weight though.  My body has held up pretty well.

Yesterday I shampooed my hair for the first time in a month or so.  I have yet to brush or comb it...maybe today?

So far I've seen a coyote and lots of elk but still no bear or mountain lion.  Because of the late spring and snow, we have not had to contend with mosquitos yet!

Unlike many hikers, I don't know my pack weight.  Don't care!

Check out the pic of the baby elk just laying on the trail...I came around a turn and at first thought it was dead or injured or sick or something.  Its mother was maybe a hundred yards away, going totally nuts.  Just as I decided to slip past, it jumped up suddenly and ran up the hillside!  It scared the crap out of me.

For those of you on Facebook, there is a CDT group of some sort I recommend peeking at.

My next town stop will be Salida in about nine days if anyone wants to send me some goodies (hint, hint)!

Enjoy the pics and hug somebody for me.

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