Daily Log: Day 50

Day 50 – Monday 8/31/2020 – 2084.2 – frost on tent and ground, some clouds, cool, monsoon sprinkles, no rain. I woke at 5 am. I was slow to get going. Frost all over my tent. It wouldn’t fit in stuff sack. It was very heavy with the frost both on the inside and the outside. I just stuck it as-is in my backpack’s mesh net. When I stopped for my 10 am snack I opened it up, shook off the frost, and tried to dry it a little. That helped make it weigh less. After that I did three climbs. At one point I got off trail for 0.2 miles. Also Guthooks trail path looks to have an error, but figured it out and continued on. The last climb was the biggest at 2000’. I had to push and push to keep going up and up. In the end I got to the top of the last climb and assumed the descent was immediate. But no! On and on I went at altitude for over a mile. Finally I began to descend. It was quite late for me. I think I finished at 4:45-5:00 pm. Twelve hours – yikes. I found a tiny space behind and within a couple of pine tree and clumsily set up my tent. These trees are blocking the wind. I’m at over 12,000 feet in altitude. It’ll be cold again tonight. I’m wearing my puffy and all my other cold weather stuff. Tomorrow I see Justin on trail! Yippee!

Selfie of Justin at Wolfe Pass preparing to hike northbound to meet me with my next resupply of food. (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Panoramic picture as I hike southbound toward Justin from Stony Pass to meet him.
The sun comes out, the coat comes off and the hat gets switched. (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)

Daily Log: Day 49

Day 49 – Sunday 8/30/2020 – 2066.8 – clearing, sunny, monsoon rain, sunny, cool. I woke at Stoney Creek Pass about 5 am. I packed up and hoisted my heavy back pack. Off I went. I’ll see Justin in three days. Today I have four climbs. Just before the third and biggest one I took a bad turn and went off trail about 0.5 miles down. So back I climbed. I don’t need to have any extra climbs especially today. As I’m climbing the monsoon rain begins to sprinkle. I put up my umbrella. Near the top I stop for lunch and met another hiker. As we’re talking the thunder booms. We stop our chat and he moves off. Then it really begins to rain about noon. It’s a cold rain and I stop to put on my ear muffs, buff, rain jacket, gloves and rain gloves. And I take off hiking to head to a lower elevation. I pass another hiker but I keep going. And then at 1:30 pm now lower the sun comes out. So I stop again and take off my extra protection and continue. The trail is thick with stiff bushes which are all wet with rain. As I brush them I get wetter and wetter. But as time goes by the hot sun dries me off. I stop for my final water and afterwards I start searching for a dry and flat campsite site. I find a plot, and put up my tent. I’m in a valley and more rain clouds are threatening. As I’m laying in my tent it gets sprinkled, but luckily nothing more. I’m tired and it’s 4:30 pm. It’s been a long day…

Daily Log: Day 48

Meetup: Day 48 – Saturday 8/29/2020 – 2050.1 – cloudy, cold rain at 7-9 am, clearing, sunny, more rain twice, cold. I woke at 5 am and packed up. It’s another slack pack day. I put my regular backpack in Jeep. My tent is wet inside. I need to remember to keep one door open to reduce inside condensation. I headed out at 5:50 am. I have 6 climbs, but with light day pack they are easier. I met two northbound CT hikers. The scenery is spectacular. Justin met me on the trail about 1 mile before the Jeep. We got to Jeep at 1:30 pm. Justin is Mr. Social and entertains the hikers as they passed by us with free sodas. Our dinner was sausage, rice and lentils. It is quite tasty and warm. When I’m not hiking I get chilled so I went and sat in the Jeep. Here we are above 12,000 feet altitude. Tomorrow we have the longest section. It is 80 miles. To break it up Justin is going to drive the Jeep tomorrow to the end of the section and then hike back to meet me in the middle. I’m going to hike southbound 3 days by myself and Justin is going to hike northbound 2 days until we meet up.

Tried to find a spot to set up my tent near the Jeep for protection from the wind. (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
While we were there a film crew arrived to document Legend’s attempt of a Fastest Known Time (FKT) for an Unsupported Hike of the Colorado Trail. (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Sunset made the pass glow.
While I decided to stay in my tent Justin briefly met Legend as he came through the pass. (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)

Daily Log: Day 47

Meetup: Day 47 – Friday 8/28/2020 – 2034.4 – woke to no morning rain, clouds in night sky, sprinkles started at 9 am, cold rain continued until 11:30, started at 1:30, then stopped, so far hasn’t returned. I woke at 5 am. I packed up backpack, and tent. My tent was wet inside. I put both of them in the Jeep. I am slack packing today. I left camp at 5:50 am. After 2 miles saw Apollo getting water. She camped about 1/2 mile back when yesterday night’s hail and rain struck. After saying hi I continued on. I was a man on a mission trying to get done before the next rain started. At mile eight I passed a tent, but quietly went by trying not to disturb whoever it was. Then the rain started and I got on my rain jacket and rain gloves but no pants. I put up my umbrella. Doing those thing helped. My hands were cold and my pant legs were wet. I was doing my climbs easily, because of the lighter pack. There were times when the rain stopped and thankfully my pant legs began to dry out. However my shoes and socks never did. I got to the highest point for today around 12:30 pm and down to Justin about 1:30 pm. I felt good, but I was glad today’s hiking was done. Immediately behind me was Apollo who wanted to do 6 more miles to a lake. Good for you I thought, but for myself I’m done. Justin made me hot chocolate to warm me up. Also I made a dehydrated Chicken and Rice dinner for some calories. Although I wasn’t shaking the food was helpful. All afternoon we stayed at the Carson Saddle Trailhead. The only problem is it will probably rain again tonight and I’m worried about the wind coming over the saddle. Justin moved the Jeep to block some of the wind. Goodnight, tomorrow’s another slack pack to Stony Pass Trailhead. And then our longest section of 80 miles.

Beautiful double rainbow as Justin waits for me at Carson Saddle Trailhead. By the time I got there the rainbow was gone and rain was threatening. I worried about the wind coming across the saddle so he parked the Jeep so as to try to block it. (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)

Daily Log: Day 46

Hiking Together: Meetup: Day 46 – Thursday 8/27/2020 – 2017.6 – clear, sunny, gusting wind, cool, hot, monsoon rain with hail, clearing. I woke up at 5 am at Middle Mineral. Several tents had appeared overnight. I quietly packed up and was on trail at 5:50 am. I had only 10 miles, but started with a 3.5 mile climb. I dunno why, but it was harder than I thought. Then the descent included a long rocky path. Then crossing a mesa was just up and down. Around 9:50 am I saw a hiker coming towards me. IT WAS JUSTIN! It was so nice to see him. We still had about 3.5 miles to go. I stopped for a snack and a 7-Up to get more energy. Onward over this mesa we went. Then we began a 2 mile descent. It was steep and rocky and just never seemed to end. Finally we got to the parking lot around 11:30. The hiker Rewind stopped by to chat. I dried my tent on the ground held down by rocks. I was worried about getting caught in the upcoming rain. The clouds looked threatening. We went 0.1 mile up trail to find me a camping spot and Justin a parking spot. It was early afternoon. We talked to Buffalo and Apollo who were going on. There is not much water via CDT Guthooks but Colorado trail says there is some in 2 and 8 miles. I’m planning on slack packing tomorrow. Then around 5 pm Honey Buns, Cheech and her brother stopped to camp here. Unfortunately it began to rain and hail and we watched them, while sitting in the Jeep, try to set up their tents in the downpour. OMG! Nevertheless they were successful with their tents and drove off to town. When it stopped about an hour later my tent was ok. I hope the other earlier hikers who went on weren’t caught in it. Tomorrow the weather is dicey. We shall see.

Justin hiked northbound and met me on the trail with a hug and a soda! (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Justin explaining to me that the trail leads down through the rocky valley in the distance and then to Spring Creek Pass. (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)

Daily Log: Day 45

Meetup: Day 45 – Wednesday 8/26/2020 – 2006.9 – clear, sunny, cool, no rain, heard thunder in afternoon. I woke at 5 am. I skipped morning poo. It is not raining, but I still put on rain pants and jacket. I was on trail around 5:50 am. I have four climbs today. I’m also racing the weather if it decides to rain in the afternoon. My first climb was long and the grade medium. I met a husband and wife couple who needed water from Justin a few days ago. I passed them and kept going. We played leap frog for a while. Then I got ahead permanently. The second climb was shorter but steeper. It went straight up the front of the hill. I really don’t like those. I stopped at the Creede Cut Off for a snack and to take off rain pants. The third climb was the longest and also steepest. It had few if any switchbacks. It had a long long descent too. I stopped at East Mineral stream for lunch. Then I did the last climb. Although shorter it went straight up the hill. I was getting tired. I descended to Middle Mineral campsite. No one else was there yet. I got there about 1 pm. It took me seven hours to do twelve miles with four big climbs. Ugh! I setup my tent and laid down for a short rest. The water here is three cascading beaver dams. Wow! Those animals are amazing. I’m looking forward to seeing Justin tomorrow. Only 10 miles to get to him. So far no rain has happened today. Then at 5:30 pm I got hail and then rain with thunder. Here’s hoping that it’ll stop and be clear again tomorrow. We shall see. We shall see. I seem to be saying that phrase a lot recently.

Justin scouting out our next meet-up point at Spring Creek Pass where I’ll meet him tomorrow. (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)

Daily Log: Day 44

Day 44 – Tuesday 8/25/2020 – 1995.0 – clear, sunny, hot, monsoon clouds, monsoon rain, rain and hail, thunder. I woke at 5 am. I packed up. I was on trail at 5:45 am. I was zooming along. The first one was a medium climb. I loaded up with water at mile 14. I got done at mile 17.8 and my campsite about 1:45 pm – early! I walked 0.3 mile up trail to get even more water so I could have candy and guzzle a bottle. At 3 pm I had a monsoon rain with hail, but then it turned into regular rain, that is, low threatening clouds all over. The temperature dropped. I’m in my tent protected, but tomorrow might be a new adventure if the rain is still here. Tomorrow is four climbs in 12 miles to Middle Mineral. Noodle and Buffalo are at the campsite too. Justin just sent me a note that rain might go through Saturday. It’s only Tuesday. Yikes!

Daily Log: Day 43

Meetup: Day 43 – Monday 8/24/2020 – 1977.1 – clear, sunny, hot, monsoon cloudy, no rain. I woke at 5 am. I packed up. I found the trail was a road walk. I went by parking/trailhead. I got water to fill two 0.7 L bottles. The trail slowly climbed up to pass. I went by two women hikers – Honey Buns and Cheech. The first climb was steep but a short one. Then there was a long down hill. I stopped for snacks and guzzled one bottle of water with lemonade. So much better than yesterday’s lack of water. Then I did more road walking. It was hot in the sun. I got to Justin about noon. Yippee! I had lots of 7-Ups. I drank three of them. Sugar, sugar, and more sugar! When I got there Apollo was there enjoying a soda. Later two other women stopped by. It’s surprising that everyone wants a soda or beer if it is after 5 pm. We had about five to eight hikers stop by the Jeep. Justin is now well known for his kindness. For dinner he made me pork tacos – carnitas tacos. Yum!

Just arrived and enjoying Justin and the other hiker’s company. (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)

Daily Log: Day 42

Day 42 – Sunday 8/23/2020 – 1962.7 – clear, sunny, hot, monsoon clouds. I woke at 5 am. While packing up I thought I had lost a tent stake. I spent 5-10 minutes probing the soil and searching only to realize that I had already gotten that stake out. Sheesh! Where is my brain at? I was on trail at 5:55 am. Late because of the wasted searching. Today the trail has lots of ups and downs. I estimate there were 5-6 of them. Water was scarce and I was shooting for a stream 10 mile away. Both Rewind and I got there together. But there was no water. We had passed a slow moving cow-poop laden stream about 0.5 back. So I went back and got an ugly 0.7 L bottle of water. When I got back Rewind gave me a chlorine tablet for my ugly water bottle and one for my dirty bottle. He didn’t have to do that. He’s a quite a nice guy! The next water was beyond my 16 mile goal. Regardless I set out for it as did Rewind. It was 2:30 pm when I got there to the water. Rewind was already there. I drank my last 0.7 L good water, filled another bottle and my dirty bottle. I walked with Rewind and did a mile more looking for a flat campsite that wasn’t in a meadow. I found something on a small spur road but Rewind wanted to continued on. All told I did about 19 miles. I have about 14 miles to get to Justin tomorrow. Not exactly what I had expected, but things worked out and I’m fine with that.