CDT Day 26: CDT Mile 556.7 – 582.4 (25.7 miles – 41.1 km)

Sunday May 12, 2019

How can the birds sing when it’s so damn cold?

The air was still, the birds were twittering and the ground was crunchy under our feet as we left our beautiful campsite. The Aspens in this location are yet to burst into bud.

The sky was clear blue and when we came out of a valley onto a rise. The warmth of the sun felt like a caress on my face. It’s going to be a bright bright sunshiny day, or so I hoped.

We went up through several gullies, out of the sun it was freezing cold. The frost remained on the ground till mid-morning.

We went past a grove of Aspens exposed to the morning sun. These were getting their spring coat with bright green leaves crowning their tops. So majestic and so beautiful in the sunshine.

As the morning progressed I started to feel really weary. There was a strange quality to the light this morning as the clouds started to appear. We’d left the Aspens behind and were hiking though an open pine forest. It was nice to have soft pine leaves underfoot. It was ever so quite.

There was a change in the light and looking behind I could see that clouds were gathering. Mt Taylor and surrounds were enveloped in this low hanging dark grey cloud. It looked rather nasty. Hammer was feeling pleased we were not approaching Mt Taylor now. A rolling thunderstorm soon started behind us. It was not long before the clouds caught up to us and we were in wet weather gear. Yet the blue sky remained ahead.

We hiked on in silence, at least we were hiking on a trail. The rain mixed with a bit of snow eased as we got to our water source. We stopped here to filter water and have lunch. By the time we finished lunch, the sun was shining. We were off a trail and hiking on a dirt road. This was probably the toughest road we’ve hiked on so far. It was like a rough cobblestone road with occasional deep muddy patches where our feet would stick to the mud. Looking at the map I realised we’d be on this road for a while. So better make peace with it.

We had terrific views back towards Mt Taylor which was now clear and sparkling with a crown of snow on top. It started to rain again, so we were back in our rain gear. We hiked less then half an hour and the rain stopped and we got too warm, so off with the wet weather gear.

Another hiker, Ricky Bobby caught up to us and we hiked with him for about an hour. He was an air traffic controller from Michigan and was hiking the last of the triple crown trails. It was pleasant to have company, it made the tough dirt road miles go faster.

We parted company when we stopped for a short dinner break. We planned to hike till about 6.30 and then start looking for a campsite. Lt Dan and Aeroplane Mode, who started back on trail with us yesterday, caught up to us and we hiked with them till we found a campsite. It was a nice way to end the day. The sun was shining and it was not all that cold. Such strange weather, it felt like three seasons in one day.