17.2 miles hiked
Camping @ 8921 ft
Our tent has turned into an igloo. Ice on the inside, ice on the outside. The ground is covered in frost and when I try to step into my shoes they have frozen solid.
So so so ccccold! Thankfully the sky is blue, although the sun isn’t particularly warm just yet. With all my layers on we hike down past 2 beautiful lakes and up around a corner to our first pass of the day. There is nada left in me today. My body forgot to do that thing where it recharges overnight, and I am struggling to climb. I find Grizzly and Tigerlilly at the top – the sun is finally out, so absolutely everything in our packs is spread out over rocks to warm up and dry out. I find out that they too are running on empty, so I feel a little better about my broken legs. My food bag has pretty much turned into a rubbish bag with not much left to eat, but I dig through the rubbish while we are sitting and find an oat bar hiding at the bottom! Yeow!
Finally our things are satisfactorily dry so they get stuffed away and we hike on. 2 more climbs and we all catch up at the junction of the CDT and CT. Tigerlilly is continuing on the CDT – we already hiked down thay way when heading south on the CT / CDT, so we are to exit the trail via the CT to get us to Silverton.
It’s very cold so we say our goodbyes, take a couple of photos and take our separate paths. I realise we’ve all been hiking together for 10 days! That’s a long time in hiker land, and awesome to have such great company.
A tiny bump then we start the great descent – 10 miles downhill. An epic mountain of switchbacks descends into a beautiful canyon. A creek meanders next to us, getting larger and smaller as we head down. The canyon quickly towers; the rocks massive above us.
Raspberry bushes appear on the sides of the trail and we take lots of much needed stops to eat as many as we can. Om nom nom.
The trees grow taller and aspens grow denser around us. We finally reach the bottom of our 10 mile descent, and find a campsite near the rushing Animas river and a railway track. It’s actually flat! Amazing! Surrounded by tall mountains, we’re at 8921ft- a far cry from the 12500ft we were at earlier today. We eat the last little dinner rations from our food bags. We are still so hungry, but tomorrow is the last little section and then there will be food! All the food! Colorado has kicked my butt. The combination of altitude and cold has stolen my insulation layer I have been closely guarding pretty much my whole life. There are new bones I can feel poking out that I don’t remember ever feeling. Must eat more foooood! Today has been a stunning day. It gets an elephant stamp and gold star for sure.