September 15th, 2019
Squaw Creek mm 2109 to Piedra Pass mm 2131.2
Distance in miles: 22.2
We have good intentions, mileage-wise, for today but the mountains and weather say otherwise. We are off to a great start and the morning has fine weather. The fire-haze dissipates some and the sun comes out as we climb up to the divide for the billionth time. We will stay pretty high the rest of the day.
Early on, we pass someone in their tent with a dog standing guard at the entrance. The dog doesn’t bark or even move, just stares at us. We think it might be Dogma, a hiker that Relentless knows and we met briefly in Montana. We spot a bull moose in a meadow and another in a pond. Then we meet two hikers that at first I can’t recognize but it’s Copenhagen and Trailbride! We attended their wedding in Wyoming and I don’t immediately recognize them because they are now in their hiking attire. They have flipped to hike Colorado northbound. It’s so great to see them again and I’m sorry I didn’t get a picture of all of us together. We wish them luck and continue on.
The trail has a lot of unique passages today, from rocky traverses and spines to broad ridge-walking. It’s all high and pretty exposed, so I’m glad for good weather. But high clouds move in around10 am and get thicker throughout the day. The forecast was for a mostly sunny day with a small possibility of thunderstorms in the afternoon. This looks more like a front moving in. But it makes for fast hiking. It’s so cool that I put my pants on when I stop for lunch.
Relentless continues to struggle with his foot problems and I continue to want to push the pace all day. There is a big climb over a 12,800′ peak at mile 24 for the day and I’m worried that we won’t make it. There is no water for a long ways beyond the peak, which creates another dilemma. But if we can do a big day (27-30 miles), we will have a much shorter day to get into town. Around 3 pm, the mountain and weather gods make the decision for us. It begins to sprinkle, then drizzle. I would like to push on over the peak but I know that the weather may get a lot worse up there. Perhaps it will be better in the morning?
It’s a wise decision to camp just before the climb, but I hate stopping so early in the day. It’s not the first time that these mountains have stopped me short and it won’t be the last. At least I find a nice spot nestled in some small pines and get my tent set up before it starts to rain again, this time heavily. Ah well, I have some extra time to blog and sew the hole in my skirt, so no time is wasted. More importantly, I’m dry and warm.