Continental Divide Trail – Day 33
June 3, 2023
Miles Today/ Total: 22.8 / 650.5
I had a terrible nights sleep last night. My air mattress was leaking and I wound up laying on the ground about every hour. I would blow it up and it would be down the next hour.
I got up as the sunlight came out and was on the trail about 6:30. The trail was wet and muddy most of the day and I tried to keep out of the deeper mud by walking up on the sides of the trail or around the puddles. The trail continued to climb and as it reached over 10,000’ there was quite a few snow patches as well.
Climbing over the snow patches was always a challenge. You could posthole or just slide into an existing hole. Some drifts would be 3-4’ deep and could have downed trees underneath. Most of the snow patches were pretty short before rejoining the trail, but I did get off trail a few times following footprints and would have to find my way back to the trail.
As the trail descended the snowdrifts disappeared, but there was still plenty of mud and flooded meadows. The big obstacle for the day was going to be the Rio Vallecitos. Several hikers had crossed this river, but most had crossed in the early morning. I wouldn’t get there until about 4:00pm and wasn’t sure how the daily snowmelt would affect the levels.
When I arrived, Slytherin was there also. He had tried to cross at the trail crossing and retreated when the water level reached mid-thigh. There were notes about a shallower crossing upstream about 0.1 miles so we walked up there to try. The water there was flowing faster, but never got over knee high. The big issue was the river bottom was covered with slick boulders, making it difficult to find a spot to put your foot.
We both made it across without incident and started up the trail. We were ascending again as the trail would it’s way up a canyon. As the trail leveled off I came across a backpack setting beside the trail near a spur. I waited a few minutes and decided to continue down the trail when I heard someone holler. It was The Professor. We hiked the 0.4 miles down to rock creek together and started collecting water for the night. Slytherin soon joined us and we all filled up on water and began a search for a campsite.
It was a short search as we found a good spot just around the bend in the trail. We set up camp, cleaned up, and I got some soapy water to find the leak in my pad. I was able to locate it. It was actually leaking where I had previously patched it on a bend. We all cooked and ate dinner together then returned to our tents for the night. I was able to patch my sleeping pad and hopefully I will have a better sleep tonight.