CDT CO Section 9

Day 17: Montezuma Peak

I woke at first light, around 5 it 5:30 with the birds. I wished I could have gotten more than five hours of sleep, but it was clear I wasn’t going to get back to sleep, and I did have a lot of hiking to do.

For an hour, I just ate and wrote the last post, but eventually I forced myself to slowly start getting ready for the day. I think I started walking around 7:45.

And right off the bat, I had more snow traversals to do before I could get into the valley I had been approaching.

That’s how it was all day. Half the time I would be climbing out of a valley toward a pass, and the other half I’d be descending across massive snowbanks into a valley. Some were firm enough to walk atop, some had me postholing up to the top of my thigh, and one I even had to slide down on my butt.

Meanwhile, the climbs were pretty slow too, even when clear of snow, as I don’t yet have the stamina to push up them at speed.

By lunchtime, I had only gone 3.5 miles. I saw some other hikers around, one way above the trail going over a pass, and three more with a dog that came down the same way I did and then turned to go a different way. No one came close to me.

By dinner time, I had just barely gone ten miles, not counting the extra distance I did losing the trail in the snow or avoiding the snowbanks where possible. And I had a big climb ahead.

The climb was mostly clear and put me on top of a 12000 foot plateau. The trail up there was pretty level and mostly snow free. What snow there was could be avoided, though sometimes that involved walking on rocks or a short steep climb.

By 9:30, it was clear there would be several more miles before a descent or any kind of wind protected campsite would be available, so I just pitched my tent right next to the trail. There were some serious gusts of cold wind in the night vibrating the tent, but it’s not winter, so a winter sleeping bag was enough to resist the cold.

Trail miles: 13.7

Distance to Wolf Creek Pass: 22.6 miles

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