Day 69

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Carson Saddle to Spring Creek Pass
19 mi ::
822 mi ::
Light thunderstorms

It’s snowing pretty hard when I wake up, so I go back to sleep. An hour later the sun is shining, but there are still little patches of dark clouds in various parts of the sky.

I start with a climb to the highest point on the CDT on Coney Peak. On the way I meet Andy, all decked out in Go-Lite gear. He’s the first fellow hiker I’ve met actually on the trail, he’s surprised to learn. He’s doing a high-speed through-hike of the Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango at 30+ miles per day. His pack is half the size of mine. He tells me I won’t need my boots, ice axe, and crampons anymore – nice to hear except that I still have to carry them a hundred more miles. He also advises against going up Snow Mesa above Spring Creek Pass in the afternoon as there is no escape from lightning up there. I was planning to camp at Spring Creek Pass anyway, so that clinches it. We wish each other well and tromp on.

I have breakfast at the trail’s high point around 13,300 feet. I can see the Rio Grande Pyramid south of me now, and many distant peaks to the north and east. I get going when it starts to snow on me again.

The snow flurries continue throughout the day, with a little thunder to keep me moving downward. I find I am descending from the San Juan mountains, each rolling green peak smaller than the last. I’m a little sad to leave them.

It’s not yet 5 pm when I reach CO149 at Spring Creek Pass. I’m glad to see a little no-fee campground with picnic tables there. I know that Ann came over this pass, probably two days ago. I think I can safely reveal now that she’s driving to California to surprise her family by showing up at her grandma’s 90th birthday party. I think of her driving while I sit alone in this little disused campground, trying to garner some enthusiasm for the new mountain range I will explore tomorrow, La Garitas.

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