CDT Day 52: back to the CDT

Wolf Creek Pass to mile 876.9: 15.1 miles

Total miles: 759.6

We slept well at the First Inn of Pagosa Springs. It had the typical low price of most trail hotels; however, it is one of my favorite hotels we’ve stayed in on any thru-hike. The rooms are clean, the beds are comfortable, and the staff is friendly. It doesn’t hurt that they have cinnamon rolls for breakfast, either.

At 8am, Nancy picked up Garrett and me, along with Shadow and Mouse, and drove us back to the trail. I met Nancy when I went to have my check-up, and she was nice enough to offer us a ride back to the trail. It was pleasant ride back to the pass, and soon enough we were back on the CDT after a week away. I felt good, and ready to return to hiking, but the week at a lower elevation made adjusting the to altitude a challenge. That, along with six days worth of food in our packs, and the trail trending uphill for most of the day made for slower than average travel. After we have a day to adjust, and eat some food out of our packs, we’ll be able to pick up the pace again.

Around five miles in we started to have to deal with some snow. It was much less arduous than the terrain we’d been traveling before our break, but still we needed to exercise some caution picking through the snow. There weren’t any steep snow slopes, just snow to post-hole through. More people have been through than last time we were on the trail, so there were footsteps to follow making it easier than last week.

We lunched at a small lake, and continued on. The afternoon went a little better than the morning, as the patches of snow were easier to figure out the best path around or over. Before one patch we did spend a little time figuring it the best way to pass, so much that a pika came out from under the rocks to find some food. We watched it for awhile before it realized we were there, and scampered back into hiding. To round out the day we had one final two mile climb up to about 12,7000ft that went smoothly, albeit slowly. After the top, we had a gentle hike downhill to a saddle where we found a somewhat comfortable campsite as it lightly started to snow. Unlike the AT or even the PCT, flat campsites are have been hard to come by as there are few established spots. We don’t mind, as it’s a small price to pay for the beauty of unspoiled mountains.