July 22nd, 2019
Mm 805.7 to mm 834.2
Distance in miles: 28.5
What to say about today? Well, it was another tough day, mostly because of all the short, steep climbs at the end. But overall it was pretty good. We are treated to a great sunrise as we walk along the open sagebrush prairie in the morning. Then we begin climbing up towards a pass on the south side of Garfield Mountain.
Samson camped a little down the trail from us last night but we join up with him for the morning. We all have lunch at the pass, admiring the Red Conglomerate Peaks. We try to escape the flies as best we can by sitting high in the breeze. Giant horse flies pester me all morning. I have never seen so many and they hurt when they do manage to bite, like a hypodermic needle. There are several other kinds of biting flies, too.
Then it is down, down, down one of the fingers running from the range. And it gets hotter and hotter the lower we go. We skirt the foothills for awhile in the afternoon, going in and out of watersheds that are absolutely wrecked by all the cows. Good thing I don’t need water. We are supposed to turn sharply to go up a valley at some point but are led astray by CDT markers. It’s only by reading the comments in the app that I am warned about this issue. They rerouted the trail but never removed the old markers. Silly me for trusting that the trail markers are correct. At least we don’t go too far off the actual trail.
Then it is up, up, up another finger (the middle one) to the ridgeline and the Divide. What a climb it is. Thankfully some clouds move in to cool things down for the late afternoon. Our troubles are just beginning once on the ridgeline, since there are so many little peaks. A faint trail runs up and down every nob…fun if you have wings but not if you are a land mammal and your legs are already shot from the previous hard days.
Elevation profile of the ridgeline hike…ouch!
A spring lies ahead at a saddle, making it 28.5 miles for the day. We have to go about 0.1 mile down from the ridge to get to the spring and once there, I am too tired to go back up. Plus, it’s threatening to rain and lightning, so it wouldn’t be prudent to continue on the exposed ridge.
The spring is built-up to dump into a cow trough, but it no longer holds water and so there is no recent cow activity (as in lots of poop and mud). Whoever constructed this watering hole created a flat spot just big enough to fit two tents. Perfect! Most amazingly, there are hardly any flies or mosquitoes. For the first time in awhile, I am able to cook and relax outside. It ends up being such a great campsite, especially considering that there isn’t anything else but exposed ridge for almost 10 miles in either direction. Sad to say, we see Samson walking past on the ridgeline. We yell and wave at him, hoping he’ll camp with us but our camo tents seem to cloak our voices as well as our position. He doesn’t see or hear us. Oh well.