5/22: mile 665.7-3.5 (ghost ranch alternate)
Total trip miles: 548.8
It poured at least until midnight. At some point the rain turned to heavy thunderstorms but I was nice and warm and other than the occasional thunderclap wake up call I slept pretty well once I finally caved and went out in the rain to use the restroom (such a fancy word, bushes are the classiest of bathrooms out here although sometimes you do get some rocking views).
At 6am my eyes popped open like usual, it looked misty but it wasn't raining and there was only a little frost on the ground so I decided to pack up. I don't have big miles planned but after yesterday I'm working in extra time for getting lost and poor trail conditions.
I think I walk at a fairly average pace out here but by leaving just a bit earlier than everyone else I had the trail to myself the first few hours. It was a quiet wet misty world. Very peaceful and lots of time for introspection. I've been spending a lot of time with people lately and I appreciated the solo time quite a bit. I'm thinking that maybe had something to do with my grumpy fit yesterday. For me this is the beginning of the more intense snow and terrain that Colorado will be bringing to the trail and for safety I want to be in a group. Plus I really like a lot of the folks hiking around me. But at the same time I can see that I'll probably not get to hike with some of them due to various other commitments and goals. So there you go, melancholy thoughts in the morning mist. It's even got some good alliteration going on.
As the mist started to lift just a little I finally got a few glimpses of what was coming. I had seen a little bit of Mesa the evening before through the mist and sure enough that was my morning climb. Thankfully no where near as muddy as the last Mesa climb it still had its fair share of nasty patches. But overall I just love the climbs, especially morning ones.
About 9 miles into the morning I was pretty much done climbing and there were finally patches of regular sun. I found this odd wood CDT shelter type thing and figured it was a fine spot for a long morning break to dry my gear and let everyone else catch up. I was kind of sick of going in circles in my own head and company sounded nice.
After the break it was a little more climbing. I thought we might get some views but right at the top it was back to the land of mist. Back down we went, eventually ending up on a road for a bit. So very muddy and slow going, at least the laughter helps make it not so bad. Luckily we headed back onto trail soon enough and I got to fly downhill happily singing away. I stopped at the water source with a lot of hesitation. I really wanted water but that was some super unpleasant water.
We were trying to go slow, we weren't going to make it to Ghost Ranch in time for dinner and figured we would just take it easy and aim for lunch tomorrow. So lots of breaks, and lots of eating. We all seem to have packed way to much food, resupplying for only 2 days is surprisingly tricky.
Funsize thankfully found a glorious water trough full of clear water. I haven't been that happy to see a cattle trough in awhile.
We turned onto the Ghost Ranch alternate and started to think about camping. We passed a ho hum campground, toilets but no water. We stopped early and goofed around once we found a nice spot on the side of the road. We kept joking that today was a camping day not a thru hiking day and it was pretty fantastic. It of course started raining during dinner but at least we got a rainbow.
Cookie Monster, Dayglow and Giggles all showed up. It's looking like quite the crowd will be around tomorrow.
So I don't remember paying as much attention on the PCT but we were talking trail anniversaries yesterday and today is mine. It's been 30 days since I started this adventure and its beyond fantastic. I was just saying the other day that I loved the PCT but right now the CDT is beyond winning. I'm more comfortable with myself and my skills this time around. I have more rips in my gear than I did the entire length of the PCT, I've had more weather in 30 days than I did during my whole 4 plus months on the PCT and I've been lost more times than I can count. I'm terrified of Colorado and even nervous about the changes in the groups of hikers around me but right now I just can't get over how much I love this trail.