Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Day 36: Green Mountain Junction to Mismarked Road Crossing

Inch by inch, we slowly worked our way through the big, moving from one tuft of swamp grass to another. All too often our efforts proves pointless, as the tuft of swamp grass quickly collapsed into the muck, leaving our feet submerged. 

The secret to crossing a swamp quickly?  Wet feet. The question is not whether your feet will get wet but when. The sooner a hiker accepts the inevitability of wet feet, the more quickly that hiker will move through the swamp, taking the most direct route. Yes, water and mud will ooze through the mesh, holes, and cracks in your shoes. But this will happen anyway, no matter how much time and care is taken. 

Eventually we escaped the swamps and reached the Highway 70 crossing.  From there we followed the CDT route on well marked trail and dirt roads.  Thunderclouds gathered and it rained off and on all afternoon, even hailing briefly.

The trail left the aspen and pine forest, opening out into rolling, high desert hills. Yellow star shaped flowers, red paintbrush, purple lupine, lavender daisies, and small round cacti were scattered along the hills. 

We met Jeff at a trailhead and agreed to meet again on a dirt road crossing in four more miles so we could all camp together. Sierra and I ran from cairn to cairn over the rocky hills, exhilarated by the joy and freedom of running.  We dashed in and out of aspen and pine forests, leaped over downed logs, then ran back into the open hills.  

We quickly reached the dirt road crossing. No one was there. A few panic-stricken minutes later I heard Jeff's voice, calling from the other side of a cattle fence. The data book listed the wrong forest service road number for the crossing, but Jeff had somehow managed to find us anyway. Relieved, we continued down the road together and made camp.

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