Day 45 on the CDT – Two Days in One

Two days in one - one easy and one hard. I started hiking at my usual time. Last night’s relatively warm temperatures continued into morning. I dropped down to dry Archuleta Creek then slowly gained elevation, first on a good dirt road then on old logging roads for 4.5 miles. The trail descended steeply to Pine Creek. As I crossed the barely flowing creek, I noticed a mouse-sized animal swimming in the water. Its slender snout, gray coat, and stubby tail told me it was a water shrew. A first for me. The trail ran north along the willow-clad creek then turned northwest to cross Lujan Creek (I got water) then crossed CO Hwy 114. A road walk for 4 miles of gradual climbing took me to the Lujan Pass trail head. Thus far, 10.5 miles of easy walking today. Then the trail started climbing the Continental Divide following it on a ridge with lots of ups and downs. Hard hiking but at least the deadfalls had been recently cleared. After 5 miles, the trail descended to Razor Creek where I got water as mosquitoes bit my legs. Upward for 2 miles to Middle Baldy. Along the way I met a bow-hunter scouting for elk on his 4-wheeler. I stopped at the Baldy Lake trail junction for a short break. The trail again ran along the Continental Divide through Cochetopa Hills. Lots of dead spruce, fir, and lodgepole pine trees. Campsites were scarce on the rocky ground but I finally found one at 6 pm. The climbing during the second half of the day wore me out. 24.1 miles today.

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