Wolf Creek Pass(861.8) to Stealth Site(883.1) 21.3 Miles
Total Miles: 957.1
I slept like the dead last night. If Turtle hadn’t woke me up to go to breakfast I might still be asleep. I never even heard my alarm go off. Mangas, Julie, Turtle, and I all went to The Rose for breakfast. I really wanted to get the breakfast burrito that I got there last time, but I knew I would regret it as soon as I started hiking. I went with the Country Benedict instead. I also had that last time we were here. I left a little on my plate so that I wouldn’t be stuffed. We went back to the hotel so Turtle could finish packing. Mangas and Julie picked us up after they went to the bakery and market. We didn’t get back on trail until almost 10. It was a much later start then I wanted to get. I have enough food for 5 days at 17 miles per day. I had really hoped that the snow levels would be greatly improved, but conditions were better than my wildest dreams. It was a night and day difference. I kept expecting to round a corner or climb a hill and enter into hell, but that never happened.
Start of the day from Wolf Creek Pass
Only snow we hit today
We only hit one little patch of snow today and it was no big deal. After leaving Wolf Creek Pass we climbed over 800 feet. There were a few sections on trees blowndown, but once again it was no big deal. This is how I imagined conditions would be last time I was in Colorado. I still can’t believe how much things changed while we were in Wyoming. I spent a good portion of the day above 12,500 feet. I figured the snow line would be around 11,000-11,500 feet.
Too good to be true
I was definitely feeling the extra gear in my pack today. I’m glad that the ice ax and microspikes were unnecessary, but it sucks to have the extra three pounds on my back for no reason. After having another 3 days off from hiking it took my body awhile to adjust today. On top of that I had to break in new shoes. Even trail runners take a few days to mold to your feet. I didn’t get any blisters or anything, my feet could just tell that something was a little off today. I still managed to kill the first climb. It didn’t take long before I pulled ahead of Mangas and Turtle. I took a break after the first four miles and they caught up to me there. We hiked together briefly, but Msngas and I ended up pulling ahead of Turtle. I had to work hard to keep up with Mangas and his long legs.
When Mangas and I took a break around mile 9, Turtle caught back up. We decided to try and hit 20 miles for the day. With our late start this was an ambitious plan, but we had a little dry stretch ahead of us. No one wanted to carry a ton of water up 3 difficult climbs. Today was the most elevation change we have seen this entire trail. I don’t think I have had a single day of climbing more than 4,000 feet until today. I climbed a total of 5,097.4 feet and dropped over 4,000 feet. By the time I hit the last 800 foot climb I was absolutely beat. I ended up hiking 45 minutes longer than I wanted to, but I got camp setup before dark.
Nice alpine lake
I’m really hoping that this entire stretch continues to be better than expected for the snow levels. Today was really the first enjoyable day I’ve had in Colorado. The San Juan mountains are incredible and should only get better the farther we go.
Small snowfield, but not covering the trail
I drew lines to show where I hiked across this mountain
“The hardships that I encountered in the past will help me succeed in the future.”
- Philip Emeagwali