Continental Divide Trail – Day 29 (approx. 25 miles)
Last night was interesting again! Not only was I still sick and had to get up a few times throughout the night, but I had a bear visit me in bed. I woke up with the cuddly bear 3ft away trying to jump into my bag with me.
I slept in the next morning and still felt like death warmed up. It is officially not food poisoning, maybe norovirus? By this point, I had not eaten for 35hrs and did not have a lot of energy.
I, therefore, took some time looking at my maps for a possible bailout option. 10 miles ahead was the best looking option. It was no shorter but would take me down to the East Fork of the San Juan River and a gravel road. I figured if I got worse, there might be traffic or at least I’ll be on a flat road.
I eventually got up the pass that left the divide, and started to make my way down. The trail I saw on the map had large swaths washed out at higher elevations and I spent much of the time heading cross-country.
Once down below treeline, the trail became easy to follow, but with a lot of down trees due to the bug killing them. It was mid-afternoon by this stage and over the last few hours, my energy level had picked back up. I tried to eat again. It was just a few crackers, but I managed to keep them down. I was a little excited about the possibility that this was finally over.
I dropped down to the road and started walking. After an hour I was out of the forest and onto private land. This is where the next fun thing happened. There were endless “no trespassing” signs next to the road mentioning the private property. I was exhausted and set up camp right next to the road. An hour later the rancher came past and got a bit angry at me. I mentioned to him that I’m practically on the road and the road has to have an easement and that I apologise but I think I’m on public land. He relented and let me camp there after I also explained my ailment.
I was asleep well before sundown. Oh, and I managed to get down a light dinner.
I never want to have an equivalent adventurous day again. One and done.