We ended up spending a zero day in Lander with a thru-hiker friend we met on the Arizona Trail, Pod, who let us stay at her rented house and showed us around town. Lander is pretty sweet, it isn't as touristy as Pinedale and is still fairly close to the Winds. We met up with K2 and Ridgerunner and the 3 hour drive to Battle Pass saved us about 200 miles of really boring dirt roadwalks and cow water.
We managed to keep up with K2 and Ridgerunner for a few days but they eventually blew past us when I forgot Rachels In-Reach at camp just below Lost Ranger Peak. So, it was back to just Rachel and I and we hiked through the beautiful Zirkel Wilderness and to Rabbit Ears Pass. On the way to the Pass I talked to two women walking four big dogs. They immediately offered to give us a ride into Steamboat Springs, our first Colorado town! One of them even offered their extra backpacking food from completing the Colorado Trail just a few weeks earlier. When we got there she pulled out one huge bin of backpackers pantry type meals, fancy bars and home made oatmeal packages, then a second bin, then a giant box! They could have hiked the trail twice with that much food! We basically resupplied for free, then spent the night at their house. It was awesome!
The next 600 miles have been the most scenic of the CDT by far. Colorado has been tough, lots of high altitude ridge walking up and down 12,000 and 13,000 foot tall peaks while looking down at entire hillsides covered in golden aspens. We stuck to the official route over Grays Peak, the highest point on the continental divide at 14,278 feet, bagging neighboring Torrey's Peak as well. The trail continued for a knife edge that scared the beejesus out of Rachel. We had a tough time with the altitude and eventually figured out Rachel had contracted Giardia. She tried to get tested in Leadville but the nurses dismissed it as a possibility since she didn't have any diarrhea. I gave her my course of Flagyl antibiotics from the PCT and she immediately improved. We bagged San Luis Peak, our third fourteener and just finished the northern San Juan mountains. Today we finally took two days off to wait out some bad weather and will finish the last 70 miles of Colorado in three more days - meeting up with Cumbres Pass, where we flipped up to Glacier from last June.
|A moose just outside Rocky Mountain National Park|
|Rachel on the Knives Edge between Grays Peak and Mt. Edwards|
From there the plan is to hike the Grand Enchantment Trail from Albuquerque back to Arizona near Phoenix. It overlaps about 100 miles with the Arizona Trail which we already hiked this year so we should be home for Thanksgiving!
Colorado Photos are here!