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Hungus - Colorado Trail Journal - 2017

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Hungus and Pace
City: Roxbury
State: New Jersey
Country: USA
Begins: Aug 12, 2017
Direction: Southbound

Daily Summary
Date: Sat, Sep 9th, 2017
Start: Saddle on Ridge
End: Alpine Pond
Daily Distance: 17.5
Trip Distance: 393.2
Hours Hiked: 10
Daily Ascent: 3678
Daily Descent: 3760
Min Elevation: 11975
Max Elevation: 13271
Entry Lat: 37.804
Entry Lng: -107.5326
Min Temp: 36
Max Temp: 60
Breaks: 5
People Met: 5

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 300
Journal Visits: 6,249
Guestbook Views: 55
Guestbook Entrys: 1

Colorado Trail Map

(Click image for full size)

Pace at Alpine Pond Camp

San Juan Mountains


Pace and I tried a new morning routine. Instead of eating breakfast and drinking morning beverages we just packed up and hiked. We had grand plans to catch the sunrise at the highest point on the CT but our sleep last night did not help. Around 10pm the wind kicked up from an opposite direction that it had been blowing all day. We were sheltered from the winds initial direction but this switch left our tent taking the brunt of it on the broad side. The rain fly was constantly squeaking against the tent poles and the vestibules were flapping in the breeze. I jumped out after enduring this for about 30 min and tightened everything down so hard I was concerned the fly was going to rip. This helped but it did not solve the noise problem completely. It simply changed the sounds. Around 11:30 it started to rain and hail. This actually helped us sleep a bit since the sound was at least constant. Around 1 the storm finally passed and we were able to get a deeper sleep. When my alarm went off at 5 we gave it a big hell no and sept until 6:30.

Leaving camp without breakfast and coffee made the first 2.4 miles to the high point challenging. I felt like I was running on empty. When we got up there we fired up the jet boils and chowed down on our pop tarts. I felt instantly better. The high point on the CT is 13217 ft and the views were pretty impressive up on the high meadow. We hung here for about an hour cooking and eating and soaking it all in. Two hikers passed, a nobo and a sobo. There were high clouds all around but the sun still peaked through frequently. We hiked down from the high point to Carson Saddle where there was an old mining village. 4 old cabin remains and white mining tailings were all that remained. The trail continued on a jeep road before continuing back on single track into a new valley. We took a break before the uphill started. Both of us were feeling the effect of a horrible night sleep and we're dragging. Me more than Pace. She took off ahead of me up the valley. About 20 minutes into the climb a hail storm developed overhead. We deployed pack covers but not rain jackets since we were climbing uphill and we're already sweating. We seemed to be just ahead of the heavy hail. The steep peak to our left was covered in white as if it had just gotten the first snow of the season. Luckily this storm didn't get big enough to thunder so we continued to out run it and got over the pass.

Down into the next valley was an entire new world of mountains and valleys. These San Juan mountains are so impressive. Every valley and surrounding ridge seemed to have its own unique geology and topography. Some valleys were jagged with shear rock cliffs and scree slopes extending down to the creek beds. Some were smooth like sand dunes. All various color rock and gravel. Each pass offered a whole new experience. Walking through without stopping to spend the night seemed like taking them for granted. Nevertheless we needed to cover some miles. We stopped at Cataract Lake for lunch and just as we took our packs off another storm popped up overhead. We decided to set up the tent in a "fast fly" configuration. We used the tent body as just the ground cover to hold the poles in place and put the tarp over that. This worked perfectly and we enjoyed a dry lunch as rain poured down. After about 20 min of rain the skies cleared again and we broke down the tent and hiked on. We climbed back up and into an alpine tundra. The wind was blowing pretty hard so we put on rain jackets and hats to stay warm. At the base of the tundra we stoped for another break before the next climb. I actually took a 5 minute nap which felt amazing.

After our break we started another climb to another pass into another valley. Today was the day of endless ridge and valleys. At the top of this pass we then descended into Cuba Gulch. This valley was the greenest of them all with multiple waterfalls cascading downhill to the main creek drainage. We descended into the gulch then right back up to another pass and down into another valley. After about 10 min into this next valley we got hailed on again. This hail was starting to get old. Besides the obvious of getting wet, It made the hiking very uneasy. These storms could intensify to thunderstorms at any moment so we would constantly be scanning the surroundings for places to take cover. Today there weren't many places, we were so exposed. Luckily this storm was short lived and the hail stoped for the next climb. The top of this next saddle offered some amazing views of a whole new prominent mountain range. I'm pretty sure we are heading towards those jagged peaks tomorrow. With one final down then up, we pushed on. This day was extremely challenging for us. Running on no sleep pushing through this roller coaster of passes and valleys while getting hailed on 3 times. Minimal sun for warmth this was definitely the coldest day on trail so far. I think the jaw dropping scenery was what got us through. On the final up we reached our campsite. One of the most beautiful campsites I have ever stayed at. A tiny tucked away alpine pond at 12820ft with near 360 degree mountain views. The stresses of the day seemed to be instantly forgotten. We chose a spot carefully to help protect from possible wind. We took extra care in our staking and tightening procedures to ensure the best possible pitch. Temps were cold. It was probably in the 40's when we got to the pond. As soon as we had the tent up we put on all of our warm camp clothes and started cooking dinner. About 30 minutes into dinner two hikers rolled up and set up nearby. Bacon Fossil and a girl whose name we never caught. We chat for a bit before they crawled into their tent. Pace and I finished dinner as we watched another hail storm off In the distance as the sun set. As the stars started to peak overhead we jumped into our nice warm sleeping bags.

Hammock Site - No. We didn't see a tree all day.

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Journal Photo

Hungus And Pace On The CT

A journal to document the adventures of Hungus and Pace on their 2017 south bound thru hike of the Colorado Trail.

Check out Hungus's 07 AT NOBO Thru Hike or 08 Cordillera Huayhuash Thru Hike

Click the link above to check out our 2012 AT NOBO Thru Hike. There is also a link for the 2013 Long Trail but only a section was documented online. Hungus finished his last LT section in October 2016.

Follow us on Instagram @HungusBrews and @Paceitout


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