CDT Day 126: 22.5 miles /36 km

CDT SOBO: Mile 1869 – 1891.5

Tuesday August 20, 2019

Camp (10,100ft) – Lake Anne Pass (12,600ft) – Texas Creek (9,970ft) – Camp (11,500ft)

The creek flowing through the valley we were camped above sounded like a distant hum of constantly moving traffic. Most of the morning we hiked up alongside Clear Creek towards Lake Anne Pass, rising 2,500 feet in elevation. Being deep in a river valley meant that the sunrise was slow to reach us. As we got higher it got colder, there was frost on the ground. I was so happy we camped where we did last night. It was a comfortably warm spot. The sky was clear and the moon was still high up over the the mountains. It was quite a spectacular morning. We were blessed with sunny skies and once in the sunshine it was lovely and warm.

But the pass just did not seem to be getting any closer. Once we were out of the trees the really hard work of climbing up the Pass started. The trail was almost vertical in sections. And where it traversed across the mountain, through a tallus field, it was difficult to follow. Even the switchbacks were steep. It was brutally hard and never ending.

Lake Anne looks like it may be a glacial cirque. It sparkled emerald green in the morning sunshine. We passed a hiker coming off the pass and Hammer stopped to chat. His name was Jonathon from Arkansas. He and Hammer talked for what felt like ages while I continued upwards. Jonathon was the only person we saw all day.

We got to the top of the pass close to 11am. We have been climbing since leaving our campsite this morning. It was a tough start to the day.

The descent off the pass was also steep. It felt like walking on ball bearings. And with heavy packs, it was precarious. The Texas Creek valley below with a huge lake looked like one giant bog.

Once we dropped down into the pine forest there was a beautiful warmth. We stayed under this warm canopy for some time. The pines would give way to aspens with a drop in elevation. There was an incredible peaceful stillness, it felt like a walking meditation.

By late afternoon we crossed into the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness and started to hike upstream along Texas Creek, crossing its tributaries a few times. After crossing Texas Creek we started to ascend to Cottonwood Pass.

I don’t know if the ascent was steeper then what we had hiked before or it was late in the day but my legs refused to work. I was moving through treacle, each step felt like an enormous effort. Hammer was feeling OK, keeping to his usual slow and steady rhythm. We stopped at the first suitable campspot. I was feeling absolutely trashed and Hammer said he could have kept going for a few more hours. I had barely enough energy to finish writing this blog before I fell asleep.