Because I walked the highway into Chama and the trail spits hikers out on the other side of the Colorado border at Cumbres Pass, I needed to hike the 12 miles from Chama to Cumbres pass to connect my footsteps. The plan was for Restless (maybe Natty) and I to get a ride up to the pass tomorrow to continue our hike north.
Restless’s friend Andrew was in town to visit, so I asked him to drop me off at the pass and I would slack-pack (hike with just minimal gear in my pack) back the road the 12 miles to town. When we were leaving the train was just taking off up the mountain, and we got to see the engine puffing away up the grade. It was raining, then snowing. Uggg, it just doesn’t stop.
Up top Andrew took a few photos for me, and I started my hike down to town. It was snowing HARD the first few miles. Then it poured on me. All this fresh heavy wet snow would create even more avalanche potential in the mountains we would be soon hiking through. I will definitely not be afraid to bail out if the conditions are this nasty. There is a forest service road in the valley below the CDT that we can walk if we need to, and as i pushed through the wind and rain and snow I realized this would be a real possibility. It is not a matter of skill level in the mountains or on my skis, it is a matter of getting caught in very risky situations in the mountains. The trail goes through some perfect avalanche terrain. I won’t be afraid to go low if I need to.
So as I was walking down the road I could hear the train coming up, but the visibility was about 20-30 feet….I could smell the fumes and could tell the train was incredibly close, but couldn’t see it. Pretty trippy!
I made good time down the mountain and celebrated by buying an ice cream cone in the local fudge shop. Go big or go home!
The rest of the afternoon was pretty chill….caught up on some blog posts and just visited with other hikers. We made a nice dinner and Ben, Jill and their 2 kids who are renting out their upstairs to us came up with some homemade strawberry shortcake for dessert. Natty had picked up a pecan pie, so we indulged and just had a grand ‘ol time.
Oh, and we decided not to leave tomorrow. More rain and storms on tap….so we’ll leave the day after…I promise! Otherwise i might have to change my residency. 🙂