Wow, today was a tough day! I did a 25 mile day because of a mix up with the route and it was over some of the toughest terrain I’ve faced yet.
This morning started off beautifully, I woke up a bit late because of the cold and wind but the morning hike was stunning! Big open fields and hundreds of Aspens. Also there was water everywhere so I never needed to carry more than a litre.
The afternoon was where it became rough! The hike was uphill but it didn’t look too steep so I wasn’t worried. Pretty much straight off the bat I missed a turn but according to the map there was a potential alternate route that way so I decided to continue. At first it was fine but when I was supposed to make a turn to rejoin the main track I was suddenly faced with steep drops, dead trees and worst of all bear prints in the mud. As I weaved my way around tree debris and cliff drops I kept singing out loud to chase off any nearby bears! Eventually I found a boundary fence that lead to a road that lead to a path! Not the best way to start an ascent.
However, after reaching the actual path, things didn’t get much better. There were so many fallen trees I was doing about a mile an hour! I felt grateful every time I saw 100m stretch with no trees across it! Eventually I emerged from this hellish forest and meet up with the snow! I’d climbed high enough that the path was still covered in snow. Thankfully it was pretty compact so there wasn’t much post holing.
This is what the path looked like for about 4 miles!
It felt like the route stayed up there far too long and was just trying to torture hikers! I also think the elevation might have taken something out of me.
At last the descent began but just before I was going to stop for the night, about 2 miles before, the signs for the CDT changed compared to the map. The signs would cut off about 4 miles from the route on the map but that would mean I miss my water source and couldn’t camp till the next one. Naturally I opted to shave off around 4 miles and hope for water along the track. Well, there was no water. My 22 mile day got extended to a 25.5 mile day. At least on this section the trail was well maintained and fairly straightforward. It’s dark, I’m in my tent and food is calling!