Monday, July 25, 2016

Day 41: Mile 896 to Trout Lake

A lone marmot posed on a rock like a yogi, surveying the valley below
In his own version of the sun salutation pose. We caught only glimpses of the sun through a thin curtain of grey cloud, but magic happened when the sun touched the high alpine meadows. The sun brought color and life to the magenta paintbrush, golden sunflowers, lavender daisies, and other wildflowers that dotted the amber green grass. We reveled in the beauty. 

A solitary hiker crossed the meadow to meet us. He was finishing up a short section, and has been hiking small pieces of the CDT when he has time. We enjoyed talking with him. Even better, a few miles down the trail we discovered a bag of gummy Lifesavers he dropped. Thru-hikers at heart, we ate them!

Once again, the storms began like clockwork at 11:30. We huddled under a rock overhang flanked by two firs to eat our lunch. We were grateful when the rain finally stopped because the trail traverses a series of high exposed ridgelines. The trail is steep and rocky in places, and progress was slow. At times, I felt I was roller skating on marbles as I slipped on loose rocks. 

We planned to camp at Cherokee Lake, just before the Knife Edge. But there was no sheltered camping there and we decided to hike on. The rain started up again just as we reached the Knife Edge, named for its sheer cliffs above the trail and steep drop off below. Even with the rain, the Knife Edge was beautiful: rugged cliffs, great views, and a trail lined with wildflowers. And then we were treated to a double rainbow. Magic!

The CDT remains high and exposed for some time. So when we reached there junction with the the Williams Creek Trail, we took the short side hike to Trout Lake to camp. As we approached, we spotted two blue tents in the trees about a quarter mile from where we camped. Now, as we are getting ready to sleep, we hear the happy shouts of a family. Other than when we stayed at a car campground, such as Ghost Ranch, it is the first night we've camped near other people this summer. 

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