CDT Day 76: Switchbacks

Silverthorne Route mile 16 to 32.5: 16.5 miles

Total miles: 1093.2

The day started the way the previous one had ended, with us hiking downhill. There were a few uphill sections, but nothing arduous, and as we got closer to the town of Silverthorne we saw people out for morning walks, runs, and hikes. The trail spat us out in a neighborhood, and we winded down the pavement into town. There we walked to the nearest grocery, which happened to be a Target, to resupply. We’ve never resupplied at a Target before, but had success finding everything we needed for the next four day stretch to Grand Lake.

We’d been debating only carrying food for a day and a half, and then going into Winter Park/Fraser to get two and a half days of food to make it to Grand Lake, but decided we’d save nearly a day not having to hitch into and out of an extra town. After all of the days off we’ve been taking in Colorado, we figure we should get a move on north if we can!

We had lunch at Wendy’s, and then continued on out of town on pavement to the Ptarmigan Trailhead, which quickly put us into the woods and slowly hiking up switchbacks to the ridge. From there we walked in the side of the mountain to Ptarmigan Pass, and then continued in switchbacks down to the valley below.

We’d hope to find good camping by the river, but didn’t have much luck. We’ve become used to this. The CDT has many miles of beautiful trail, but established campsites can be hard to come by. We’re generally okay with this, we’re so tired at the end of the day it’s easy to fall asleep even if we’re on uneven ground. We also have a few tricks to help improve a bumpy spot, and our inflatable sleeping pads help smooth or a lot of imperfections. We were tired, and ready to stop, so we made due with what we could under a large pine. It turned out to be a great spot, because as we were eating dinner we watched a bull moose from across the river. Dinner and entertainment, it’s hard to beat that.