Continental Divide Trail – Day 57
July 19, 2023
Miles Today/ Total: 19.9 / 984.0
I slept very well again last night and was up and on the trail about 6:00am. The trail continued down the valley about another mile then turned off onto the timberline trail and began an ascent.
This trail went through some of the best forest I have seen in Colorado. It was a combination of Pine and Aspen and there was very little pine beetle kill. The trail gradually worked its way up the mountain and followed a stream that had some magnificent waterfalls. Most were buried in trees and I couldn’t get very many photos.
After about 7 miles of walking through this magnificent forest, the trail turned off as nd began ascending toward Ann Lake Pass. This trail was also very nice and ascended on switchbacks in the trees until it reached the tree line. The trail continued up to the pass on switchbacks making the ascent quite easy.
Once on the pass I could see the cornice that everyone had warned me about. it was no longer an overhang, but a big snow mound covering the whole pass. I could see a path and walked out to investigate. There was a nice set of steps cut into the snow where people were going up or down. Since I was still carrying my crampons I put them on and quite easily descended the cornice.
Back on hard surface I scrambled across the rocks and made my way back to the trail. Descending into the valley there were several other snow patches to cross, but all were very well traveled.
Once in the valley the view of Lake Ann was fabulous. Snow still clung to the mountain on the back of the crystal blue lake. The gradual slope to the lake would make a great camping spot – if it wasn’t just 11:00am.
I worked my way down the valley and was met by a couple handing out trail magic. They gave me a bag with carrots, cuties, fruit snacks, a cookie, and several gun size candy bars. I ate most for my lunch and saved a few bars for a snack later.
The trail led deeper into the valley and soon the trees were replaced by willows. The afternoon sun was getting pretty warm. I finally reached the beginning of my next ascent up to Hope Pass. I was back in the trees, but the steep trail left me sweating and panting. About 1/2 mile up the trail I stopped and filled up my water bottles and then after another 1/2 mile I came to a campsite. I had ascended over 1300’ in the last mile and was completely wore out. I decided to stop here for the night and set up my tent.
I cooked dinner, ate, and crawled into my tent ready to get some rest for another great day tomorrow.