The snow situations on the CDT this 12 months are forcing us to get fairly inventive with our routes. In my final submit I mentioned how many people hikers have been making an attempt to resolve the Colorado downside for ourselves—whether or not to enter the San Juans, whether or not to flip as much as Wyoming, whether or not to simply flip the hike right into a southbound journey and head as much as Canada. Ultimately, I selected an choice that hadn’t occurred to me earlier than, however is certainly a extra Frankenstein-ish model of the path than I ever thought I’d find yourself doing.
After I left Ghost Ranch and hiked into Cumbres Cross, I spent 4 days climbing alone, postholing and snowshoeing, and “having fun with” three to 4 thunderstorms a day. I improvised and snowshoed cross-country when lightning stored me off of ridgelines, and I accomplished New Mexico and made it to Colorado. The climate I had was simply unhealthy luck, however the mixture of situations left me feeling lower than nice about continuing on the excessive route.
After a number of dialogue with different hikers in Chama, I made a decision to take the Nice Divide Alternate, which is actually the mountain bike route that runs east of the San Juans after which bridges again to the CDT at Monarch Cross. I used to be apprehensive I might be disenchanted on that route, however the surroundings was attractive and it nonetheless ran as much as Elwood Cross, so I used to be capable of get again as much as 11,000 toes shortly after that for scenic, snowy mountain views.
I did, nonetheless, fear about reconnecting with the CDT too early. There have been some experiences that the part proper earlier than Monarch Cross was actually sketchy, and so I made a decision to chop the Nice Divide Alternate brief and street stroll into Salida. I wasn’t tremendous glad about that, however it ended up being fairly enjoyable passing by a couple of small cities that I might most likely in any other case by no means see.
I didn’t flip to a different a part of the path for timing causes, so my purpose is to proceed to search out methods to maneuver north, hopefully with extra path and fewer street. After as soon as once more leveraging the hive thoughts, I’ve determined to hike the Colorado Path as much as Twin Lakes. It parallels the CDT at a decrease elevation, so must be a bit extra nice to hike. I’ll then rejoin the common CDT and see the way it goes. If you wish to see the entire particulars of the route I took, and can take, you may take a look at my detailed path journal. You may also see extra images there, or on Instagram at @UnfetteredFootsteps.
It was onerous for me to make these choices. I used to be glad to take care of my steady footsteps from Mexico to Canada, however I hated to overlook the San Juans and a few of the excessive elevation views. That mentioned, I do know my limits and, given the circumstances, I believe I’m making sound selections. I’m tremendous excited to get off of roads and again onto path tomorrow!
I’ve heard it mentioned earlier than that the CDT requires persistence and adaptation. That couldn’t be extra clear at this juncture! My thru-hike is beginning to really feel slightly like climbing with Frankenstein. Each evening I evaluation my route and proceed to patch it collectively and attempt to make it stick in order that I can proceed to hike north. I’m hoping for rather less Mary Shelley and slightly extra Robert Frost: that, in the long run, the street much less traveled will make all of the distinction. We will see.
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