Lady night I decided I only wanted to do 18 miles today, that meant I’d leave the Cumbres Pass for tomorrow morning and give myself the whole afternoon to hitch to Chama. It also meant that Nuthatch and Party saver would have more chance of catching up to me. (I don’t think they have yet, I’m camping off trail a bit tonight so hoping they don’t pass me!)
Once again the day started off beautifully, I’m living the scenery and every climb I do is rewarded with stunning views! It just gets very frustrating trying to find the path! With the snow coverage I lose the path quite a lot and really the CDT markings are so few and far between that they often are of no help! I remember coming to a few buntings that had no markings but would suddenly find a random tree with a mark on it. Very frustrating!
I only got out of bed this morning at 8:30, so only left to start my day at 9:30! That’s like a hikers midday! But as I was only going 18 miles I wasn’t too stressed about it. Turned out to be a good decision. So much for the days of 18 miles taking a whole day! Even with starting late I got to my camp spot with 2 hours of daylight to spare! Anyway I’m getting side tracked. The path had been consistently above 3000m (10 000ft) and the had been so much snow on trail. It’s so exhausting walking over the snow and my pace slows right down.
The we sections where I could only see snow in all directions! At one point the trail was so hard to see, and I noticed a dirt road running near the trail. I hopped off the trail and decided to follow the road for about 3 miles. I’m not sure if it was a good idea or not! The road was covered in snow about half the time but at least I wasn’t walking through snowy forests looking for a trail.
I’m now camped in a dirt road just off the trail. It’s flat and slightly sheltered by some pine trees. I’m pretty sure no one is coming up this road as most of it is snowed in anyway! Right now I’m in my tent listening to the rain and seeing the occasional flash of lightning. I’m so thankful I’m warm in my tent and sleeping bag! It’s 9pm. Hikers midnight.
Some trail photos: