Another sleepless night. What had looked like a soft mossy ground on the ridgeline of the Divide turned out to have many subsurface rocks that seemed to pop up out of no where as I struggled to get comfortable. I found by curving and contorting my body to accommodate the pokey things worked for a while, but as a notoriously restless sleeper, that position only worked for a short while. Oh well, I’ll sleep when I’m dead.
Since I was ridge-top I had reception on my phone soon after hiking and called my parents who were on their way to meet me, I decided I wanted to see them today, this being a really tough week with setting myself on fire, destroying some of my gear, losing and breaking some of my gear, and just plain tired from the 100+ miles from the last few days.
And am I GLAD I did.
I ended up having one of the roughest days on the trail so far. Maybe my legs were really tired from the long miles. Maybe I was tired from not sleeping well. Maybe I was just needing some TLC from my folks…regardless I walked for 12 hours barely eating and not taking any breaks. First I wanted to make good time to meet my parents at highway 50, then I started to encounter snow which slowed my progress SIGNIFICANTLY.
It was patchy and then just down right blanketing the tree-bound north slopes, luckily I had some trusty footprints to follow, who ever had hiked before me kept to the trail like a moth to a flame. Thats always helpful!
I reached Marshall Pass about 11am, and spying some ATVers, I approached them and soon was drinking a delicious bright blue energy drink and posing for photos for the curious Texans. Then a couple of guys from Minnesota rolled up wanted to go for a run on the CDT, and when I informed them it was snow to the south, and looking at the profile for the north and seeing a steady climb, most likely snow to the north, they weren’t sure what to do, but we had a good chat and I continued north. It was only 5 miles to where the Colorado Trail intersected the Divide, I thought I might take that alternate since the next section reaches almost 13,000 and most certainly will have some sketchy snowy exposed sections.
Maybe a mile after Marshall Pass the snow started. And this was knee/thigh deep snow. This was swimming snow. This was tiring 1-mile an hour snow. Ugg.
I pushed on, knowing the sunny exposed slopes near the ridges will probably have less snow. Nope! Snow, lots of snow. I struggled, cursed, walked, just kept going forward, walking, swimming, sinking, postholing, despairing. Again, great footprints to follow, but I must be hiking later in the day than the others and would sink lower with each step. Keep going! Your parents are meeting you!
When I saw the divide and the corniced slope where the footprints went I just had to laugh. You are kidding! This trail takes me places I wouldn’t normally go, but when it’s the only way forward, you suck it up and go.
I reached the crest and breathing hard up the steep exposed slope, praying that the thunderclouds above would wait just another hour or two, I found more snow. And do you know who my constant companions were in the snow? Mosquitos! In what circle of hell do I have to posthole for hours while being bothered by mosquitos???
So I made my way to where the Colorado Trail dips down Fooses Creek and just crossed my fingers that I wouldn’t have to cross over some scary cornice to drop down. Wow it was steep, but I saw some footprints going down, I’m not the only one getting out of this snow.
Time to glissade! And man, conditions were ripe for a wet avalanche, but I kept to the treed sections thinking they would help anchor the snow, and just went for it…and success! for a while…continue the postholing for another hour, but i knew I would reach dry land eventually! And it was getting later and later. I couldn’t stop. If I stopped I might not start again…keep going!
Thankfully the storm that was overhead waited until I was out of the snow to unleash its fury. It started pouring, but i was on trail. Trail!
But I was beaten. I walked and walked and tried to be optimistic but just felt completely done through and through. I barely made it to the road where my parents rounded the corner on the highway, and started balling. It was so good to see them, especially when I needed them most. I’m 38 and still need my parents, I’m not ashamed!
Oh the joy of sitting down after 12 hours and eating, they had fruit! I hadn’t really eaten all day, the snow taking every last bit of my concentration and energy, I just had no time for food, and I felt like crap because of it.
Oh the joy! My folks had their RV out from Illinois and were in a campground just down the road from where I popped out on the road. Before I knew it I was sitting inside, showered, drinking a beer, and feeling a million years from where i was an hour ago.
Wow you made it, what a brave and courageous Lady your are! Happy to read that you are well. Time for your parents and a big steak, you certainly deserve it! Have a good rest…
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Thanks! Feeling much better now!!
Good for you!! This is an honest question and not criticism, would snowshoes have been helpful or not? And, I can’t get over the mosquitoes…you are tough!
I dont think it would have been worth it to carry snowshoes…over a hundred miles and only 5 or so miles of snow where they would have been useful, and some other hikers said even with snowshoes the snow was so wet and slushy they sank in anyway…no real good way to travel during these conditions! But it’s melting fast.
I hope you are right now being pampered, rejuvenated, reapplied, items replaced. AND well fed.
You certainly deserve it 🛀 🍔 🍺
Thanks all, I’m feeling much better, well fed and rested!
I did type resupplied, not reapplied .. ah the wonders of autocorrect.
Hope you are still enjoying your family.
It was a great visit!
I like the ‘Seriously?’ pic. I would’ve sat down in the snow and blubbered. Then I would’ve called mom and blubbered some more.
That same cornice was there in 07 and I remember people carrying their bikes over it! Crazy! I wish you dry trail ahead and 4 mile an hour downhill style too! You look pretty tough already. Get you some sleep lady…. the bears are where it’s at.
Thanks dear, I’m doing what I can. Helps to know bad-ass ladies like you have gone before me!
Hoping you get a new TAR and some sleep 🙂