Day 45 – 18 Miles (696 miles from Mexico)

Ok, yesterday. Well the two last days. If I was on a ski touring trip or a ski mountaineering trip will all the proper gear, it would be gnarly, but probably a lot of fun. As a hiker wearing boot-ski bindings, I probably did the best of all those going in the mountains…although I would have much appreciated a full touring set up AND a pair of snowshoes. The terrain so variable, the snow slushy to icy, steep to miles of ridge ski terrain…all I can say is WOW and about two days of it was all I could take.

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Exhausting, exhilarating, scary, we did our best to stay warm, although Restless has some cold injuries on his feet…we did our best to stay safe, although the Continental Divide Trail does just that, stay on the rocky crest of the HUGE MOUNTAINS and sometimes took us where we shouldn’t be with this much snow.

It will be WEEKS before any trail can be found under the snow. It snowed on us the past three days. It’s on the verge of going though…once the clouds clear and there are some warm days, watch out for the flooding creeks. There’s always something on the CDT.

So this morning as Restless and I were packing up from our second snow camp, up snowshoes Mark Trails and Number 2. We quickly joined them and I realized my skis, even with the skins on, were not going to cut it as we made our way down an icy canyon. I started hiking…for a bit…until it was postholeing. ARRRRRRR Postholing can suck it.

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But we made it to trail!!!!!! We had decided to hike an alternate that dropped down to some forest service roads in the valley below, and judging by the only other footprints we had seen in the mountains so far, so did the other hikers ahead of us. The next section is SCARY for the heavy wet avalanche danger. The week of rain and heavy snow on the snowpack means supersaturated conditions. The steep ridges would not be keeping all that snow much longer with the warming trend. Not a good place to be right now. Once it stabilizes hikers will be much safer out there.

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We all were beat up from the snow and weather and difficulty of travel, and dropping onto the trail in a beautiful valley was the best decision any of us could have made.

Beautiful day, easy miles on the road, scenery to rival what we had seen on top. We laughed and marveled at what we had just done for two days and were here to tell the tale. EPIC

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