CT mile 158, rivers, packs and skeeters

at 39.2692, -106.4325
Crossed over Tennessee Pass this morning and thus into the Arkansas drainage. This is the third major river basin the trail has crossed in its first 150 miles: the South Platte, the Colorado (via the the Blue and Eagle Rivers), and now the Ark. I will be hiking south through the Collegiate Range for the next 150 miles or so, paralleling the Arkansas headwaters.

mile 140 – snowshoe hare

Shortly after the Pass I encountered the second trail magic of the hike, a cooler full of cold sodas next to the intersection of the trail with a jeep road. It was just the thing for a hot hike.

mile 145 – trail magic

Saw quite a few hikers today, both CDT hikers headed to Canada, and CT hikers headed south to Durango. Besides direction, the distinguishing mark between the two sets is pack size: all the CDT hikers, who have already come over a thousand miles, have packs in the 20 lb range, while the CT hikers are carrying packs of 35+ lbs (mine is about 20).

Many of the CT hikers have done only weekend hikes, where the wear down from hiking 20 mile days, day after day, is not an issue. CDT hikers may also have started with large packs, but they have either slimmed down or dropped out by now. It will be interesting to see what the average CT pack size is by the time I get to Durango.

Beginning to do a lot of running and hiding from the skeeters, which are becoming increasingly heinous. I don’t have a tent, a bivy sack with a screened top is my only refuge. It may not be enough.

mile 142 – Mt Elbert