CT mile 211 – marshes and passes

at 38.8533, -106.3871

It rained most of the night last night, but I slept contentedly and well. Too well, in fact. I didn’t get up and out of camp until after 8, a shockingly late start. The climb up to Lake Ann Pass was slowed by snow and steepness, although I was hurried by threatening skies. A cold gale was blowing through the pass and I did not linger.

The CTF had been saying on their FB page that the Collegiates were sketchy due to snow, but this is being ridiculously over cautious. Probably a hundred CDTers have already come through, and I’m sure the snow was much worse for them in the San Juans. There is a cornice at the pass, but it was easy to bypass by climbing to the left.

mile 199 – approach to Lake Ann Pass

mile 200 – Lake Ann Pass

My hopes for clearer skies on the other side were not realized. Taylor Park was blanketed by low clouds which were riding an escalator of wind up the mountain sides. But there were clearings, and through them I got my first views of the San Juans, over a hundred miles distant and my destination for next week.

Taylor Park and the Elk Mtns from Lake Ann Pass

The wind eventually swept away most of the clouds, and I enjoyed blue skies for the first time this week. I was able to spread out my tarp and my socks and give them a good drying. Between the late snows and the recent rains, much of the trail is a marsh and the many stream crossings are high. My feet are generally soaked within the first hour of hiking and stay that way throughout the day. Good thing I brought extra socks.

Only 16 miles today due to the late start, and the fact that the next 10 miles of trail are on steep mountainsides above tree line, offering little opportunity to camp. I’ll have to make up for it tomorrow.