CDT mile 1529.9, miles hiked 19.2

The group at North Lake

Everyone tells you that if you hike the CDT you have to do the Cirque of the Towers alternate in the Winds.  The Cirque of the Towers is a large glacial cirque with some of the most stunning sheer granite walls and peaks you have ever seen.  To get there we started our day walking along temple lake where we had camped the previous evening.  These lakes were long and deep, the far shore was a sheer granite wall so we felt like we were in a canyon more than mountains.

The Cirque of the Towers

The boys got a bit ahead hit stopped for some morning business so Cheezy and I kept going and told them to catch us.  We took a break below Jack Ass Pass at North Lake, we decided to split into pairs since maverick and buttercup are faster uphill, so we agreed to meet later at a spot past where the CDT and the alternate reconnected.

As Cheezy and I climbed up we first ran in to Larry a 70-year-old guy who had stated the CDT in April but had to get off so is now hiking sections.  Cheesy had met him in Lordsburg the day before she started.  A half mile later and we meet two guys who hiked the CDT with Pod and Disco, they gave us the tip to take the climbers route and avoid jack ass pass as it was less elevation and easier.  We took their advice and enjoyed a climb around a lake and a small Boulder scramble to the cirque.

yup it was worth it

Holy cow! We were both in awe when we reached the pass and got our first glimpse of the cirque.  It was every bit as stunning as described and even though the route was kicking my butt I was so happy to be there.  We worked our way down the valley to the lake and then climbed Texas pass.  The pass was a bit confusing but we made our way up.  The last part was over boulders and for some reason I wasn’t on my game and down I went.
Now last year I did the sierra high route and I spend plenty of time on talus at home but for some reason my head was in the clouds and down I went.  My knees looked like kid who wiped out on his bike, raw and bleeding.  Cheesy and I stopped at the top of the pass and did some first aid and then descend the crappy loose scree to Texas Lake below.

We walked along the lake shores and then  took a break by a creek.  We were moving slow because of the terrain and we felt under the gun to catch the boys so we could cook dinner and then hike to camp.

Camp amongst the boulders

We eventually made it to the CDT and started up our last climb of the day.  We found the boys at the lake they were bummed because they had gotten skunked fishing.  We cooked dinner and then had a talk about the rest of the time in the winds.  Cheezy and I love hiking with Buttercup and Maverick but the thing is we only really see them at breaks or at camp.  So we talked about what to do so no one feels stressed.  So tomorrow we will each shoot for 25 miles and if we make camp together great, if not no worries.  Worst case scenario well regroup in Dubois next week.  Not ideal but what needs to be done, Cheezy has told me repeatedly that I should hike with her and Johnny when he arrives so I might be the third wheel but better than hiking alone I guess.

a little late night snack, fresh brook trout