CT mile 303 – the Cochetopa Hills

at 38.2105, -106.5963

A hike through dry and lonely country today. The trail mostly followed the Divide, staying above creeks, gullies and springs, and the landscape is relatively arid. It is green and forested, but what few creeks there are tend to be ephemeral trickles. I’m camped by one now – Pine Creek – which is all of about 6 inches wide.

The Cochetopa Hills connect the Collegiates to the San Juans, a series of 10-11,000 foot hills and ridges that separate the Gunnison Valley from the San Luis Valley. There were a few views of the Sangre de Cristos, including the Great Sand Dunes, and of the San Juans, but mostly it is just forest walking. With few distractions I had little trouble covering 25 miles today. And as there was only a 20 minute hailstorm, I ended the day with dry feet for the first time in a long time. I hope the drying trend continues tomorrow.

Crossing Sargents Mesa, bidding farewell to the Collegiates

mile 285 – Sand Dunes from the Cochetopa Hills