CDT Day 120: 23.5 miles /37.5 km
CDT SOBO: Mile 1745.0 – 1768.5
Wednesday August 14, 2019
Camp (10, 200ft) – Santa Fe Mt (13,100ft) – Sullivan Mt (13,100) – Geneva Mt (13,240 ft) – Webster Pass (12,100ft) – Whale Peak (13,100ft) – Glacier Peak (12,800ft) – Missouri Gulch (10, 950ft) – Georgia Pass (11,800ft) – Camp (9,950ft)
It was another early start this morning. The sky was covered in stars, we hoped for another blue sky day. From our campsite we followed a rough jeep track straight uphill. About a mile up we had to stop for water as there is a 21 mile dry stretch ahead. Oh joy, carting lots of water while going up a couple of thousand feet in elevation.
The jeep road ended abruptly and from there it was a cross country traverse up to the saddle. I can only think this rough traverse was in order to avoid hiking near an abandoned mine. The hike up looked straight forward until we started up. It was a loose rock scramble with a snow cornice on top. It was a real effort to cling on to the slippery slope and not slide downhill. It was slow going, took us an hour to go a mile. And just when we though the worst of the trail was behind us at Mt Edwards.
Once on the saddle we followed the ridge which undulated around 13,000 + feet. This included a tricky traverse of Santa Fe and Sullivan Mountains followed by an even trickier Geneva Mountain.
We followed the ridge all morning leaving the view of Grays and Torrey Peaks behind us. A cold gusting cross wind was our only other companion apart from the mountain goats. The wind was mentally exhausting but we were ever so grateful that the sun was shining and it was not raining.
The wind was being funnelled from the valleys below. From the ridge we could see quite a few abandoned mines below. We looked for a spot out of the wind to get a break from it and have lunch, hoping to recharge mentally and physically for the rest of the day. We found a spot near a big snow cornice just below Webster Pass. From our lunch spot we had brilliant views of Grays and Torrey Peaks.
After lunch it was time to brace against the wind for more ridgeline hiking. To our right was a chain of snow topped mountains with a huge ski field above the town of Keystone. The wind was so strong it was knocking me sideways.
Around 4pm we arrived at Georgia Pass and here our day improved immeasurably. We dropped down into the forest, out of the wind and onto the most beautifully groomed trail we’ve hiked on so far. It was such a sudden change it was unbelievable. It was wonderful to inhale the beautiful warm scent of the pine forest. And the silence of the forest was bliss. And pretty soon we saw a CDT sign on a tree, something we’ve not seen for many days.
From Georgia Pass the CDT and the Colorado Trail are on the same path for a couple of hundred miles. That explains such an excellent trail. We dropped down to North Fork Swan River where we stopped to camp. It was a beautiful established campspot. And half an hour after getting horizontal I was out like a light.