Continental Divide Trail – Day 34 (31 miles)
Last night was a bit cold and I was glad we decided to stop a little early and camp in the trees. When I got down to the meadow the temp dropped significantly and I ended up putting my jacket on for the crossing.
I was very lucky to realize I took the wrong trail only a minute after. Memorising the flow of the next few hours of trail does come in handy sometimes, and is far more helpful in preventing extra miles on this trail compared to the well-signed PCT and AT. The quality of direction signage did dramatically improve halfway through the day when we hit the Colorado Trail.
Today was split in two for a number of reasons.
The morning was some of the most impressive scenery so far with a lot of exposed rock and a few enchanting alpine lakes. It was awesome and true high elevation hiking. We also had great weather once it warmed up.
The second half of the day was dealing with the smoke haze. It got to the point that @_clean_sweep_ went into bandit mode with a bandana across his face. It was interesting, to say the least, with not only the smoke but ash coming down on us like snow. The ash kept on getting into my eyes and causing them to get irritated.
As the smoke haze was at its worst, we walked past an old mountain hut, we contemplated for a few minutes if we head in there, but decided to push on. It might hang around for days and may as well get through it now.
The haze coincided with the final climb for the day. This was an interesting climb as it marked a 30ish mile section above treeline. And when in town last a decent storm was predicted for tomorrow.
We ended up camping in a fallen down hut right next to Stony Pass Trailhead. It blocked the wind nicely, and provide a warm spot in the exposed landscape. Before going to sleep I looked for a few bailout options along tomorrow’s route in case the storm overwhelms us.
I think today was my second favourite of the trail so far. The huge cliffs of the northern section of the Gila still remains on top.