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Rlhdancer - Continental Divide Trail Journal - 2017

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Split & Two Step
City: Pleasanton
State: California
Country: USA
Begins: May 1, 2017
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Thu, Aug 17th, 2017
Start: CDT mile 1852.4, Pinedale
End: CDT mile 1862.2, Upper Jean Lake
Daily Distance: 16.3
Trip Distance: 1,619.7
Hours Hiked: 9.2
Daily Ascent: 3289
Daily Descent: 1779
Max Elevation: 10823

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 361
Journal Visits: 47,011
Guestbook Views: 682
Guestbook Entrys: 57

Continental Divide Trail Map

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First Fremont Creek crossing

Back into the Winds

Back into the Winds

Our ride was Happy's friend and former co-worker, John. This was the second day in a row he was losing out on sleep to help out CDT hikers. Yesterday, Happy wanted to be at the trailhead at 5:45am. We were not in such a big hurry, and a 7:00am departure from the hotel after eating a huge breakfast was much more palatable to us! John would have done either, but we hoped we had made his life a little easier, since he had certainly helped us immensely.

We were headed back out on the Pole Creek Trail by 7:45. We had decided to take a different route back to the CDT. We would hike about five miles on the Pole Creek Trail, and then take the Seneca Lake Trail to an outstanding lake. It didn't hurt that we would miss two wet river fords by choosing this option. ;-)

Pole Creek Trail was practically empty this early in the morning, but during the two hours it took us to retrace our path, eventually we passed a few groups of hikers. We had seen two individuals and a group of three on the way out, and we all remembered each other. We had a pleasant impromptu reunion each time. We turned off at Seneca Trail, and expected to see fewer people, but a slow trickle of hikers continued to appear going each way.

The Seneca Lake Trail was a fortunate choice, and we stopped often to admire the many lakes we passed, each crystal clear and set against a backdrop of mountains. An occasional tent was perched among the rocks surrounding these lakes, providing a stellar view of one after another of these blue gems. It was about ten miles to Seneca Lake, and we enjoyed the changing vistas as we circled its edge. As we reached the far end, two campers started waving and yelling at us. What??? It was Bad Camper and Motown. They were taking a zero day on the trail to let Motown's feet recover, so we joined them for a leisurely lunch.

We have a total of 54 miles to hike in the next four days to reach the center of the eclipse zone, so we have planned for short mileage days. We had six miles to hike after lunch, so we took plenty of time to enjoy the scenery, and I took too many pictures. We did have one challenge. We would cross Fremont Creek three times. The first crossing was on a large bridge - the first bridge we've seen outside of a city in Wyoming. The creek was wide and deep and fast, and I became concerned about the next two bridgeless crossings. As we walked, we could see large snowfields and glaciers above us, and cascades of water pouring off the mountain sides - clearly the source of Fremont Creek. In about two miles of uphill climbing we came to the second crossing, well upstream from the first. Its water volume was about a quarter of that downstream, and although it was challenging, we were able to cross the creek via a rockhop with dry feet. Feeling confident, we moved quickly forward 0.2 miles up the trail to the final crossing, but there was no way to do a dry crossing. Somewhat dejected, I waded across in my shoes, but Two Step removed her shoes and walked across the rocky-bottomed creek barefoot, then put back on her dry shoes.

It was only 0.6 miles to our destination, Upper Jean Lake, and we arrived just before 5:00pm. Two Step located a flat spot that was slightly sheltered from the wind, about 100 yards uphill from the lake. The lake with its backdrop of snow-covered mountains was idyllic, and the early quitting time allowed us to set up the tent and enjoy some time in the sun. Unfortunately, with frequent cloud cover and a cool wind in the low 50's, my attempts to dry my shoes and socks was only partially effective, and completely toe-chilling. It is definitely time for an early retreat to a warm sleeping bag.

P.S. Today's mileage forward - towards Canada - is a little tricky to count, so we've decided to just enter the total mikes walked today. Since we only counted CDT miles on the day into Pinedale, this at least avoids any double counts. With so many possible routes, counting miles traveled forward is challenging.

From the CDT,
Split and Two Step

Entry 115 of 136
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Journal Photo

Split And Two Step's CDT Adventure

The Continental Divide Trail is a national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada via New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. This unfinished trail can potentially span up to 3,100 miles. Learn more:


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