Monday, September 7, 2020

Day 26- An Elevation Game

Friday September 04, 2020
Spring Creek Pass(357.9) to Stealth Spot(367.4) 9.5mi
Total Miles: 415.4
Elevation: 12,063ft

We managed to stay up a little bit later than in Salida. WanderLost fell asleep first, she made it until 10:30. Kelsey through in the towel around 11 o’clock. I stayed up until 11:30, only because I had to write my blog. Once again I didn’t bother with an alarm clock. I managed to sleep in until almost 8:30. While I waited for them to shower I began to pack up. I realized that I didn’t charge my external battery pack. That thing takes hours to charge, so now I’m relying 100% on solar power for this last leg. I think it will be ok, but now I have something to worry over. We bought microwave burritos last night so we wouldn’t have the expense or time suck of going out for breakfast. We were packed up and out of the room by 9:45. I tried to charge my battery pack in Kelsey’s car, but her outlet wasn’t working. I settled for connecting it to the solar charger and leaving it in the front windshield. We stopped at a gift shop on the way out of town so they could buy koozies to keep the boyfriends happy. We were on our way to the trailhead by 10:30. After traveling almost exclusively at 2.5mph I don’t do very well in a car. Kelsey was driving and WanderLost let me ride up front. The drive up was very twisty and had sharp curves. I was a nervous wreck and just stared at my phone the entire drive up. Kelsey is a very safe driver, but I felt like I was in a NASCAR race. I ended up giving her the trail name Danica Patrick, or DP for short. 

We arrived safely at the trailhead at 11am. DP and WanderLost decided to hike with me for the first 30 minutes. I wish the trail had been better for them. We hiked on a Jeep road the entire time. At least the views weren’t too bad. Shortly after they turned around to go home the views became spectacular. I forgot just how awesome this section is. 

Me, WanderLost, and Danica Patrick(DP)

Sad to see them go

I realized that today would be a very short day on the car ride up the Pass. I was scanning GutHook to check for water sources when I noticed a slight hiccup in my daily mileage plan. After 9.5 miles the trail went up to 13,000ft and stayed there for almost ten miles. With my late start there was no way I could get in 18 miles so I could camp at a reasonable elevation. I decided to see how the day went and make a decision when I got to the start of the big climb above 13,000ft. I really need to stay on target for this section. Snow is in the forecast on Tuesday night and I really don’t want to deal with that. If I stay on target I will finish Tuesday afternoon before the snow moves in. 

View while I was hiking with DP and WanderLost 

1 mile after they had to turn around(4, 14ers in view)

I was making really good time considering the late start. No matter how I crunches the numbers I couldn’t seem to make it work for hiking the 15 miles I needed to get in today. I have been barely start warm enough at night camped below 12,000ft. The nightly low is going to keep dropping every night until the snow moves in. I don’t need to cook dinner tonight because I packed out leftover pizza, so I considered hiking until past dark. With the full moon and being above tree line that seemed like a reasonable option. My pack feels heavier today than it has the entire trail. I’m o my carrying 4.5 days worth of food, but now that my hunger has kicked in 4.5 days of food is heavier than ever. What really sealed the deal on my daily mileage was the water situation. For those of you that read my 2018 CDT blog you might remember the time I missed a water source and almost got myself into trouble. I got lucky and bummed some water off of some people on 4wheelers. Well you guessed it, that was this section. I wasn’t sure I could carry 3L of water up to 13,000ft with a fresh resupply and town legs. Once I cleared to the 13,000ft stretch I would still be camped on a saddle at 12,5000ft. It killed me and hurt my pride, but I made the decision to setup camp short of the high elevation section. I made it to camp at 4:15. At least I’m not the only hiker to come to this decision. I passed an area just after the yurt and last water source where 8 hikers had already setup camp. 

Big mountains 

I did see one guy going for it. He passed my camp at 6pm. I asked him if he knew what he was in for and he said he did. He looked like a really strong hiker. I could see him at the top of the first ridge twenty minutes later. He had climbed up over one mile and 700ft. I’m pretty sure he will be alright. Once again my pride kicked in and I thought about breaking camp and heading up. I swallowed my pride and stayed put. The next few days will be rough trying to make up my missing miles from today. Although the promise of snow Tuesday night is one heck of a motivator to keep me moving. The last stretch of any trail is always the most difficult. It is just a mental thing and I will just have to push through it. I sure do wish I had an extra few hours of daylight right about now. It looks like the next few nights I’ll have to camp above 12,000ft. I totally forgot about that on this segment. I think I did this segment in early July on the cdt. I already miss those warmer temps and long days. 

Yurt platform(Yurt not setup due to COVID) I camped there in 2018

“He who knows no hardships will know no hardihood. He who faces no calamity will need no courage. Mysterious though it is, the characteristics in human nature which we love best grow in a soil with a strong mixture of troubles.”
- Harry Emerson Fosdick


  1. You are good to monitor and adjust. I remember you riding with us from the AT into Hanover & back to the AT after the Zero day-not easy to go car fast.

  2. It’s better to make adjustments than second guess, better safe than sorry. Put a push on the next day to get home before the snow. 😘