7/12/19 – Today would complete our July outing and would require the steepest climb and descent of our CT adventure thus far. The trail would climb from the Silver Creek Trailhead, 2,450 vertical feet in 3.3 miles, and descend an equivalent elevation and distance to the Avalanche Trailhead and the end of our hike.
Segment #13 (beginning): 6.6 miles – 2,459′ elevation gain, 2,494′ elevation loss
After breakfast, we packed up and headed out on our morning climb at about 8 am. This was definitely a challenge for us, but we continued putting one foot in front of the other and soon we reached a plateau, of sorts. We stopped there for a rest and found an old log cabin.
Mark and I in an Abandoned Log Cabin – Segment 13
At Silver Creek (mile 2.5) we stopped to replenish our water supply. The snow is melting fast now and all of the streams are filled to capacity! While we were there, a young CDT through hiker stopped as well. Her trail name is Double Shot. Apparently she had a Starbucks coffee explode in her pack earlier in her hike, thus earning her this moniker. She said she was originally from New Jersey and that she was currently working on her PhD from the University of Michigan. Her advisor, she said, is an outdoorsy guy and allowed her the 6 months away to trek from Mexico to Canada. As with many hikers this season, snowpack has required some course changes. She and another hiker she’s been hiking with skipped north to Lander, WY, and hiked south from there, allowing some time for the Colorado snowpack to diminish.
After reaching the top of our climb, at 11,889′, we were surprised to find about a dozen people resting and/or lunching there. We’d come across many of the southbound hikers over the past few days, but several were new to us.
We Made it to the Top – WooHoo!!
We also had a beautiful view of Mount Princeton to the south from up there.
Mt. Princeton to the South
The descent was challenging as well, but in a different way. Some sections were very steep, and the footing precarious. Trekking poles were a critical aid to getting down safely. We passed two older ladies who were making the descent as well. One of them had no poles. We commented on this and she said she took very small steps. Her companion said that at 70 years old, she could do that… Although they weren’t carrying heavy packs (they were apparently out for a day hike), the descent would still be a challenge.
We had a great view of the Avalanche chutes as we approached the Avalanche Trailhead.
Fresh Avalanche Chutes From the Winter of 2018-2019
It felt great to have completed that challenging section of the Colorado Trail. It gives us confidence that we can tackle whatever lies ahead. We have now completed 14 segments (of 28) on the Colorado Trail and have hiked over 250 miles since we began our quest last summer. Hope to get out again in August for another hiking adventure!!
“Wilderness is a necessity. There must be places for human beings to satisfy their souls.” John Muir