CDT Days 44-47: Lake City to Salida

Day 44: 20 Miles

Lake City locals are awesome. As we were trying to hitch a ride out of town and back up to the pass, a local saw us and texted her husband to come give us a ride. He did, and took some hikers back down with him as well. What a nice town! Back on the trail we had a lot of climbing to do, back up over treeline, then down and back up again.

We had a few drops of rain and a tiny bit of sleet, but nothing that persisted fortunately. Hopefully the rain will help some of the fires South of here. We still had great views all day, panoramic 360 degree views of the mountain peaks surrounding us. In the afternoon we finally descended a bit, and will drop even lower tomorrow. The Colorado Trail is relentless with the elevation changes. The skies are clear tonight but it feels like it’s going to be a cold one.

Day 45: 28 Miles

Today might have been the easiest day in Colorado, as far as terrain is concerned. We mostly went down today, all the way down below 10,000 feet. The mountains seemed like hills as we followed the valley downward, but every little uphill reminded us quickly that we are still high up.

It rained off and on today. The morning was clear, the clouds rolled in early and it rained around 11:00 am. Five minutes later the sun was back out, only for the clouds to roll in and rain some more. It was never really hard enough or sustained enough to put on rain gear except for one short stint with hail around noon. It rained again in the evening so we set up camp in the trees for some shelter. Tomorrow we go back up again.

Day 46: 28 Miles

Today might have been our first cold day on trail. We’ve had some cold nights and mornings, but today we had a cold rain that persisted most of the day. It was a soft rain, but enough to make everything damp after awhile. Fortunately, about mid-day we ran into an AT class of 2016 alumni who was hiking for the weekend and packed out a 12-pack to give out some trail magic.

We all enjoyed a beer with him before heading on. We had lots of little ups and downs today, and after the terrain of the San Juans it almost feels easy. The sun finally made a brief appearance in the evening, but the rain is supposed to continue tomorrow so it will probably be a cold night tonight.

Day 47: 24 Miles

It was another cold and rainy day today. The morning was nice, overcast and cool but dry. Shortly after 10:00 the rain started. It was a soft rain but it persisted all day, until eventually we were thoroughly damp.

The temperatures were in the 40s, so we had to hike fast to keep warm. We got a short burst of sun around lunchtime but the rain returned shortly after. The trail today was along a multi-use area, so we saw many mountain bikers and dirt bikers. They are courteous along the trail, but their tire tracks make the trail very muddy and slippery. We reached Monarch Pass around 4:00 pm, thoroughly wet and cold. We met up with another hiker at the convenience store there, found a hotel room to split four ways and started begging the tourists for a lift down to Salida.

Our room is strewn with wet tents and sleeping bags as we’re airing out all the gear we can tonight. We are so glad to be dry and warm indoors!