Guthook CDT mile 844.6 to mile 854.4
(9.8 miles, +2,500/-1,800 feet).
So I learned something last night: sometimes a site can be too slope-y!
My sleeping pad kept sliding down the floor of my tent, and I kept sliding down my sleeping pad. At one point I tied my pad to the tent, which helped a little, but I still needed to reset once every half hour or so. After about three hours I finally fell asleep.
The downward pressure on the tent actually pulled one of the uphill stakes out of the ground by morning, but the other two stayed in so I didn’t need to get out and fix it.
One thing I definitely could have done better is set the tent up lower on the slope. My spot was flat(ish) at my legs, and if I could have put my torso there I probably would not have slid so much. I’ll try that next time.
Anyhoo, I wasn’t going to let lack of sleep get in my way! At 6am I was up and eager for the day once again.
By 7:30am we were on trail again, passing by a waterfall from the Lake Ann outlet above.
There were actually cows at the headwaters of the Middle Fork of the Conejos, and every once in a while we could smell them.
On the other side of the river we started ascending with amazing views of the valley below.
We took a nice break near the headwaters of the North Fork of the Conejos River where Vogue got a nice shot of some Columbines.
About 35 miles into our trip we spied our first trail marker.
The trail got pretty tricky mid-day as we had to follow the trail into some overgrown areas reminiscent of the chaparral in Southern California (except these plants were really wet!).
Once we got past the overgrown part of the trail, it traversed gently up and around.
At the top of the traverse the trail flattened out above tree line.
We then started descending, first across snow and then onto a steep grassy slope packed with wildflowers.
We made it to the headwaters of the Adams Fork of the Conejos River (geez, this river has lots of forks!) and promptly got lost. The trail had been rerouted by the river, but we thought it must somehow cut through the vegetation. I plowed in and nearly lost a trekking pole bushwhacking through the thicket. I was laughing and enjoying myself because this was new for me, but when we finally got free, Vogue said “never again.”
Back on the trail we met a northbound thru-hiker named Tour Guide who had flip flopped from Cumbres Pass up to Wyoming and was just now finishing up this part of the flip. It was lucky she saw us because she was on the wrong side of the river!
We talked with her for a while (as it turns out she hosted Wired for her Great Divide Trail thru-hike) and she and Vogue compared notes on other thru-hikes. I really enjoyed the encounter, but all too soon it was over and we were on our way.
We had to continue up the basin towards the Divide, but storm clouds were once again gathering.
Once again the wildflowers were thick and beautiful.
The sky got really dark at about the same time we could not find a single sheltered place to set up out tents. We kept ascending and hoping for the best.
Finally, nearly all the way to the pass, we found an okay established camping spot (with copious horse poop!) next to an outcrop of rocks that sort of blocked the wind. It was 2pm and we decided to set up here because the next 10 miles or so are all way above 12,000 feet.
Vogue said storms usually happen at 3pm, and sure enough it started raining at 3:08pm! We hung out and talked (loudly) through our tent walls while the rain poured outside.
There was a break in the rain about 5:30pm, but it looked like it might rain again so we decided to stay put. I felt a little antsy, so I grabbed my umbrella and scampered around a huge snowfield to check out the pass.
I got distracted by three bars of LTE at the top of the pass, and suddenly it was thundering again. I hurried back down, and just moments after getting in my tent it poured again.
As we laid in our tents, I shared texts with Vogue from his sweetie, and also relayed the news that Trumpcare was dead (yay!). We made dinner inside and talked a few more hours before drifting to sleep.