Continental Divide Trail – Day 87

August 18, 2023
Miles Today/ Total: 20.2 / 1,547.8

I was up and around quickly this morning. I was excited to get to the Cirque of the Towers alternate. I headed out on the trail and was happy to see a bridge over Sweetwater River. I thought I was going to have to ford it and get my shoes wet this morning.

The trail started climbing up into the mountains and there were some pretty steep climbs along the trail. There were several ups and downs and as I reached the top of a rather lengthy climb I was treated to a view of Little Sandy Lake nestled in the valley ahead.

The trail curved around the west and north sides of the lake and I reached the junction for the Cirque of the Towers alternate. There had been many reports of excessive blowdowns in the first 2 miles making the Trail difficult. I began following the cairns and I was pleasantly surprised that most of the blowdowns had been cleared or a well trodden bypass was visible.

This trail had many ups and downs as I made my way up Sandy Creek and past a couple of lakes. In several places it became difficult to follow the trail because so many social trails had developed. As a neared the saddle before temple Lake the trail disappeared. I began climbing up the side of the mountain and finally crossed over the trail. I was able to follow it to the top, but is disappeared in a large rock scramble on the saddle.

I met a family on the saddle who was camping by deep lake and had hiked up today. The lady was very interested in my hike and we talked as we hiked down toward Temple Lake. I slipped on some loose gravel and caught myself on a large rock. I was unhurt, but I tore a hole in the sleeve of my raincoat.

I continued on the trail around temple lake, again losing the trail a few times. The trail became better after the lake and continued down the valley toward Big Sandy Lake. I collected water in the stream feeding the lake for my dinner. I followed the trail around the lake and as it began to climb out of the valley I found an overlook and cooked dinner.

After dinner I continued up the valley toward North Lake and Arrowhead Lake. The trail became very steep and was actually a rock scramble in some places.

I reached the top of the climb and had a great view of the Cirque of the Towers. My legs were wiped out from the climbs today so I found a spot partially protected from the wind and set up my tent. The wind was cold so I jumped in the tent, cleaned up, and crawled in my sleeping bag. I should sleep good tonight.

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