CDT Day 92: 26 miles/42 km

CDT SOBO Mile 791.6 – 817.6

Wednesday July 17, 2019

Hammer was woken through the night by another lightning thunderstorm which passed right over us. I slept through the whole thing. This morning the sky was a blanket of tiny fairy lights, its been a while since I’ve seen stars in the sky. It promised to be a beautiful day. It was lovely to wake up to a clear sky morning after such a stormy day. Even putting on cold, wet socks and wet shoes did not seem so bad.

As we broke camp and headed out it didn’t take long for the sodden grasses lining the trail to soak our feet. Just as we were getting comfortable with Montana in summer, it throws us another curve ball. Time again to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. We were walking on frozen feet, with a cold wind blowing.

We followed a narrow river valley on one side and then crossed over the creek to walk the other side in a big V shape. Glimpses of the imminent sunrise could be see on the tops of the mountains. But it will be hours before we see any sunshine. Light clouds had rolled in and removed any chance of an contact with the suns rays.

It took a couple of hours to get out of this valley and drop over the pass to a another narrow creek valley. This one was so beautiful. Deadmans Creek fed into a bright green lake, Deadmans Lake. The sun was burning off the clouds and finally our morning started to turn around. The sweet smell of sage brush was released as we walked past. Feet were still wet and cold but there was a prospect that we may dry them at lunchtime.

By the time we stopped for lunch we had climbed down and back up out of three creek valleys. It was a tough morning. But seeing Deadmans Lake and Creek was quite rewarding. And of course by the third creek valley, the sun had come out which made everything feel so much better.

After lunch we started on a long rolling ascent. It was open grassy rolling hills as far as I could see. It looked like interesting geology. With rocky outcrops here and there. At the top of a pass we were surrounded by huge white limestone boulders limestone at 8,600 feet above sea level, with coral structure still clearly visible in the rock. How amazing and so surprising. I know nothing about the local geology.

Just before reaching this pass we met up with 2 northbound hikers. They are the first true-through northbounders. We spent a bit of time with them hearing about their Colorado and Wind River Range experiences. They both crossed Colorado on skis. They spoke of avalanches occuring on 24° slopes in Colorado. So far out of my depth. We were even more happy with our decision not to hike in Colorado until the snowmelt.

From the limestone pass the trail was not so discernable. The marker poles were hard to see. So it was a fair bit of bush wacking through sage brush. It was frustrating and slow. Where the trail entered the forest it was easier and nice to be back under the cover of trees. It was lovely to see a stand of Aspen.

We camped on a bit of a sloping site by not far from a creek. We are 32 miles from our next resupply in Lima.