Day 37: 5 Miles
Today was a great town day. We slept in a little, since we were right by the road at Wolf Creek Pass. We broke camp and headed to the road to hitch into town. It didn’t take too long before someone stopped, a really nice guy named Daniel who was headed into Pagosa Springs for the weekend. He kindly offered to bring us back to his parent’s condo to shower and do laundry, and he also stopped and had breakfast with us. While laundry was going and he was taking work calls, we showered, resupplied, played with his dog, and organized our gear for the next stretch.
He then dropped us back off at the center of town so we could stop at the outfitter and grab a bite before hitching back up to the pass. Great trail magic from an outdoor enthusiast. We had a great day. We got a ride back to the trail in the late afternoon, and hiked up to a small lake at 11,300 feet. We packed out sub sandwiches and chips for dinner and enjoyed our camp spot for the night.
Day 38: 22 Miles
Today was a tough day. We crossed many high mountain passes, with steep ups and downs all day.
There was not too much snow travel, but even with no snow the trail is still difficult. The ruggedness of these mountains reminds me of the North Cascades, except out here we are twice as high. We stopped a little early tonight, partly because we are tired, partly because continuing means going over another pass before getting to a decent place to camp. We’ve got a really nice view to enjoy the evening.
Day 39: 21 Miles
Today was another day of crazy ups and downs, and another day of spectacular views. We had a few challenging snow traverses today along the knife’s edge, but it wasn’t as bad as it sounds.
Probably the biggest challenge of the day was battling the wind while we were up on the ridges. Although we are camped at a low point between two passes, we are still above treeline and it is a little windy tonight. We are huddled up next to some shrubs which provide a pretty good wind break. We’ve got a great view of the sunset, red from the smoke of nearby fires.
Day 40: 23 Miles
Today was a little easier than the last two days, although that hardly made it easy. We had fewer logs to climb over, less snow to deal with, and fewer exposed ridge walks. Still, we had some huge climbs over several passes and a lot of overgrown trail.
The views were awesome all day long. The wind has been blowing much of the past two days and it has brought in smoke from a wildfire. As the afternoon went on the visibility went down and we started seeing ash floating in the air. Tonight as we are camped up over 12,000 feet we are breathing in air that smells like a campfire. Hopefully the wind changes direction and clears the air for us tomorrow.