Well I'm trying to be a more efficient blogger for those of you that are reading this, so I'm writing this blog entry as I sit on the side of the road hoping for a hitch in Lake City, CO. We weren't planning on getting into town tonight, but the hiking has been miraculously free of snow and we figured since we made it to the road, we might as well try for tonight.
Snow. Ah, snow. This past section had a fair bit of it, but while it the coverage wasn't bad, the quality of the snow was. The melt is currently in full force, and while the temperatures are dropping below freezing at night, the snow is staying warm and soft, and by mid-morning the snow no longer supports our weight and we break through the top layer of ice, anywhere from a few inches all the way to the waist. I hate to gripe about the snow, but there was one day where it felt like Sweet As and I did nothing but post-hole from about 9 am until 7 pm. Our ankles are scratched and bleeding and the skin looks like it belongs on some extinct dinosaur. But we still did our miles, and then some!
We hiked with Sunshine and Balls out of Pagosa Springs, and had a fantastic ride to the trailhead nice and early-ish from Beacon. The mountains were exceptionally rugged looking, and we were happily impressed with the vistas we were rewarded with. We hiked around "knife's edge" which had a reputation for being a very challenging traverse, but due to crummy rock coverage, we ended up having to traverse below to actual trail and walk through rotten snow. It was my most exhausting day yet of the trail, though it was only 20 miles, but we did have alot of rewarding ridge walking.
By the end of this section the trail cleared up nicely and we were back to our normal pace of 3 miles an hour. We hit the junction of the Colorado trail, found delicious trail magic candy, and topped out at 13,274 ft. We have hiked anywhere from 800 to 1000 miles based on what source you use. We learned to put our shoes in plastic bags in our backpacks at night to prevent 15 minutes of pain in the morning from putting on frozen solid shoes. And I discovered that my new exciting orange hiking Spandex do not tolerate UV light well. Ombre Spandex anyone?