Sunday, July 24, 2016

Day 40: Wolf Creek Pass to Mile 896

The beginning of the end. Our final section to complete the CDT. 

We met several people within the first few miles: a pair of mountain bikers careening around a blind corner, two weekend backpackers, and a day hiker. And we heard young voices bellowing out the song BINGO at the top of their lungs. And then there was no one. Just the complete solitude we've come to expect on the CDT. 

If we were hoping for a sunny, dry section, we were soon to be disappointed.  The first thunderstorm began shortly after 11, starting with a few spots of rain and quickly escalating into a downpour. We huddled under a pair of scrawny fir trees for lunch, then trudged up the trail, slipping in mud and crunching on hail. 

The rain teased us all afternoon. We added and removed layers frequently as the rain stopped and started on fits and spurts. Thankfully, the thunder did not return with the rain, and we were able to safely navigate several beautiful miles high on the ridge. 

When the trail finally dipped below 12,000 feet, we decided to make an early camp. If we continued, we would have at least 7 more steep, high elevation miles before camp. Instead, we decided to call it a day and enjoy a relaxing evening. Unfortunately, camping was scarce. We finally selected a sandy spot just below the ridge. Although I was nervous because the camp was more exposed than I would like, most of the clouds cleared to expose a dark sky full of bright stars. 

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