CDT mile 1081.1Miles hiked 27.3

Wildflowers galore

Let’s just today was a love-hate relationship with the trail.  I loved the high country, wildflowers, sweeping views and wonderful scenery.  I hated the altitude, the long endless climbs, rocky slow downhills and crossing steep snow as the day turned to night.

We started out the day knowing we had to go at least 25 miles to make our arrival in Grand Lake by Thursday night.  We worked our way up through Herman Gulch it was stunning with columbines and other wildflower displays.  The surrounding peaks were wonderful and stunning.  We ground up to a ridge and then walked along it on our way to Jones Pass.  There was a lower road option on our maps but when we arrived the road was buried under snow, so Cheesy and I stayed true to the CDT and kept on up the next ridge.

Berthoud Pass

We descended and forest and saw a giant mine in the valley below.  It’s amazing how much mining exists out here in the Rockies, I can say I would rather see logging than mining when I hike, trees grow back and are renewable but the scars left by mining last forever and the ore is not replenishing itself.

As we approached the last stream for 8 miles we spotted buttercup on the ridge above us, we gave a holler and he gave a wave.  It would be a few hours later when I would find him sitting at Berthoud Pass waiting for us.  When we arrived it was 6 pm and we had gone about 22 miles, Buttercup said let’s go to this lake in 6 miles on the north side of Mt Flora.  Cheezy and I asked to try to camp earlier but Buttercup really wanted to make the lake.

A distant storm motivated us to get moving downhill

We all set off up Mt Flora, buttercup quickly got ahead and left cheesy and I to the climb at our pace.  The twining us created the summit at 8 pm and saw the rocky descent that lay ahead.  We picked our way down the rock field wondering where camp would be.  As we descended we watched a spectacular lightning display on the next mountain ridge to our north and we knew we had no choice but to keep on dropping down.

As the sun set and the day was turning to night time we were side hilling across scree and then snow. We followed Buttercup’s tracks and we cursed him for pushing so far.  The two of us were tired and hungry and the last thing we wanted to do was cross snow.  We finally spotted a fire below in the distance and heard Buttercup yell for us.

Ridge walks and flowers

We finally made camp and filled our water.  Dinner was a lovely treat of mass calories.  I crawled into my tent and prepared to go to bed, we all agreed to sleep in an hour at Cheezy’s request.  It took only minutes to fall fast asleep and try to recover from one of the toughest yet most beautiful days of hiking I have ever had.

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