Friday, July 29, 2016

Day 45: Abandoned Mine to Spring Creek Pass (Finished!)

Our last day. With mixed emotions, we packed up our gear and tent for the last time on the CDT. 

We again wore all our layers and climbed into the sunshine, peeling off the extra clothes when we reached the high point of the Colorado Trail (13,274 ft), also the high point of this summer's section of the CDT. (We reached the actual high point of the CDT, Gray's Peak at 14,261 ft, in the summer of 2014). Then we enjoyed meandering along the high alpine ridges, with incredible views of the San Juan Mountains, beautiful golden wildflowers. Shy pika chirped as we passed, then dashed out of sight. Bold marmots also chirped at us, but stood proudly on nearby rocks. A herd of bighorn sheep grazed in a meadow below. 

Throughout the day we met Nordic Track (PCT '15) and a handful of other hikers. But mostly we met Colorado Trail mountain bike racers, some looking strong, others looking wiped out even at the beginning of the day. All of them agreed that there was a lot more hiking than biking involved in the race, but what incredible terrain to hike a bike through!

We dropped down into the trees and then crossed the Jarosa Mesa, where a large herd of sheep were grazing.  Our pace quickened as we descended into the trees. We knew we were close. 

"Daddy!"  Sierra shrieked, as she started running down the trail. In the distance, a tall figure began running up to meet her. The two collided into a big hug. Then, together, we hiked the last mile down to Spring Creek Pass, where our CDT adventure started. 

Our CDT adventure over, it was time for celebration.  We reminisced a bit, compared starting and ending photos (wow, she's grown!), and waited for it all to sink in.  It took three summer vacations, but we finally did it!  We hiked the Continental Divide Trail!

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