Continental Divide Trail – Day 43

June 13, 2023
Miles Today/ Total: 11.3 / 767.3

I was up early again to beat the soft snow. It got colder last night than any of the nights before. My shoes were frozen and even though I had loosened the laces last night, I still had to fight to get them on.

The trail from camp began ascending up the mountain and with the hard snow underfoot and crampons on, I was able to get around pretty good. The trail went through the forest and I was able to follow foot prints of previous hikers for most of the morning.

As the trail worked its way up toward Wolf Creek Ski Area I lost track of the foot prints. As the day heated up, I reached a couple of steep areas and slid down the softened slope on one of them. Working my way back to the “trail” red line I could find no indication of tracks even though I was right on top of it. The trail led through trees on a rather steep slope as it slowly ascended the mountain. Around noon a storm blew through and it snowed on me for about 20 minutes. It was blowing the snow right into my face and I found a pine tree to get behind and just let the storm blow through.

Back hiking, I was soon crossing into the Wolf Creek Ski Area and started seeing ski slope signs. The trail led to the ridge line and although covered with several feet of snow I was able to walk the ridge line until dry trail appeared toward the top. The dry trail circled to the south of the crest and lasted for about 1/2 mile before returning to walking the snow on the crest of the mountain again The trail followed a service road for awhile and then descended down one of the manicured ski slopes.

The last 1/2 mile the trail turned off into the trees and once again I lost the trail and worked my way down to the highway. I exited the trees about 1/4 mile from the actual trailhead and walked up the highway to the crest where there were pull-offs on both sides of the road. I started hitching for a ride and got a ride within 10 minutes. It was a lady driving back from Buena Vista and had hiked part of the Colorado Trail a few years ago. She wants to get back out and hike some more, but life keeps getting in the way. She was excited to hear about my journey.

She dropped me off at the San Juan Motel and I checked in and showered before heading down the street to Kips Grill & Cantina. I had some great tacos there and a couple of beers before heading back to the motel for the night.

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