CDT Day 113: 22 miles / 35 km

CDT SOBO: Mile 1582.5 – 1604.5

Wednesday August 7, 2019

Camping by a creek meant a cold start to the day. At least this morning the trailside vegetation was not covered in dew so we kept our feet dry. It was a steep 2 mile climb out of the Middle Fork Arapaho Creek valley.

Climbing out to a ridge, at 11,500 feet in elevation the views to the east and west opened up again. We followed this ridge, which undulated between 10,500 and 11,500 feet in elevation for another 6 miles. This ridgeline had quite unusual geology, volcanic rocks with conglomerate boulders eroded into hoodoos along the mountain sides. A cool breeze was blowing from the west and we were being warmed by the sun from the east. There was no chance to rotisserie and even out the exposure.

From the ridge we descended to a creek valley. Near one of the creeks we found a smouldering campfire. Kind of odd in the middle of the day and an odd place to have a campfire right up again a tree. As the creek was nearby we used our cooking pot to pour water over it and cover it with dirt.

We had to climb out from the creek and very soon struck the worst blowdowns we’ve experienced yet. Avalanche debris covered the trail and it was impossible to see how you might get around in spots. It was very slow going. It was frightening to imagine the forces that caused this destruction. We made it out with a few scratches and scrapes.

From here the afternoon got really hard. We were back out on a ridge which rose gradually and then very sharply to the summit of Parkview Mountain at 12, 300 feet. We were exposed on the narrow ridge and before we could make the top, an icy rain started to fall. Luckily the rain did not last long. I was keen to get off there as soon as possible. I can’t imagine how anyone got though this section of trail in the snow. The descent was just as difficult, zig zagging down the rocky slopes. We made it off the mountain without any mishaps. The sky was getting darker and I worried about getting caught in a thunderstorm before we could find a campsite.

We crossed Highway 125 in the late afternoon. A light rain had started to fall and a thunderstorm threatened. We stopped at the first flat campspot we could find. We stopped earlier then planned but I was ever so relieved to get horizontal.

Colorado smacked me down this afternoon. I was shattered when I lay down. My feet and legs were vibrating with exhaustion. Hammer, on the other hand being a cyclist, gets into his low gear and slowly and steadily grinds away at the climbs, arriving at the top feeling not so spent by the effort.