WINDY RANCHES AND MEADOWS
CDT Day 132: 27.5 miles /44 km
CDT SOBO: Mile 1979.5 2007.0
Monday August 26, 2019
Camp (10,050′) – Great Divide Alt Jn (9,759′) – Cochetopa Creek (10,210′) – Camp (10,200′)
What a incredibly beautiful sight to wake up to this morning, an inky blue sky, with millions of stars shimmering like diamonds. And a waning crescent moon shining bright. It was a lovely campspot with hardly any tree canopy to crowd out the sky.
We broke camp and were on our way around 5am. We reached Highway 114 in the dark and followed Pine Creek valley just as it started to get light. The hours before sunrise are the coldest especially when hiking through a creek valley.
Apart from the occassional squirrel, it was peaceful and very still and quite. The squirrels chirped away at each other in the treetops like squeaky toys.
The trail came out of the trees and we started on a long, open and windy dirt road walk through ranches and rolling meadows. The wind was strong enough to be mentally challenging but not cold or strong enough to be knocking us about.
We stopped for an early lunch in the shelter of some trees. It was just like being back in New Mexico, dry cow pats all around. Fed and mentally reset we got going into the wind again.
The open meadows that the dirt road passed through were covered in brilliant yellow flowers and were kind of beautiful in a sparse and barren sort of way. Particularly contrasted against the brilliant clear blue sky.
The open meadow section of trail lasted for pretty much most of the day. Late afternoon we entered a forested section of trail. Such a relief to get out of the wind.
The forest soon gave way to a huge creek valley and we followed Cochetopa Creek for the last couple of hours of the day. The creek was flowing swiftly. So nice to see a flowing creek after the last couple of days of creeks that were drying up. The bridge across the creek was out. It was bliss to have to take our shoes off to cross. The cool water was such welcomed relief.
The trail continued above the creek along a steep bank. There were very spots to camp. We stopped at the first flatish spot we came to.