Continental Divide Trail – Day 47
July 9, 2023
Miles Today/ Total: -0.3/ 793.6
The trail started out with some ups and downs through an alpine meadow. There was still some snow patches here and I put on my crampons for one particularly steep one. About a mile in the trail entered the trees and I got to climb over and around deadfall for the next 3 miles as the trail gradually made it way to the top of a ridge line.
From here the trail followed the open ridge line for the next few miles before crossing over a ridge line ridge right on the edge.
The trail passed above a meadow high on the side hill and then began climbing upwards to the ridge line. This ridge line is known as the knifes edge and the trail walked right along the narrow ridge for a few hundred feet. There was still a lot of snow on the knifes edge and the trail was crossing over them several hundred feet above the valley floor. As I followed the trail out there were several rock slides that had covered the trail and between the rock slides and the snow crossings I decided I didn’t want to risk it.
Turning back was not an easy decision. I spent some time seeing if there was any way around, but there wasn’t. It is 11 miles back to a possible trail that will take me to the creede cutoff or 21.5 to the official trail. I started heading back knowing it was the best decision for me.
The return trip was pretty much non eventful except for a section I slid on this morning. I decided to drop down below the snow and cross all 4 sections on this hillside and then climb back up. Getting down was slow and tedious as I followed animal trails across and down. Getting up was extremely difficult. The area I needed to climb up was extremely steep and I climbed through brush to keep from sliding down on the wet mud. I spent so much time on the balls of my feet that they began to hurt. Once I reached the top and back on level ground, I checked my feet for blisters. I didn’t seem to have any, but the balls of both feet felt like I did.
I also had a sobo hiker come up on me almost 9 miles from the knifes edge. He had made it across, but had dropped down to the valley floor and then climbed back up after passing the snowy areas. Quite a feat and one I considered, but the climbs were just too steep.
I passed by the campsite I used last night and selected one just a little further down the trail. I had a nice spot just above a big snow covered area on the mountain.
I hated to turn around, but I should be in creede in 2 days and it was at least 4 more to Lake City. This will help me keep to my schedule since I’ve had a slow start. Well off to sleep and get rested up for another exciting day tomorrow.