9/18/19 – At about 1:30 am, I woke
up hearing a snorting, or grunting sound. Half asleep, I wondered what it
might be…maybe an elk? Then I heard Glenn unzip his tent. The
snorting sound then stopped. When I didn’t hear Glenn zip his tent back up, I
decided to get up and check out what was happening. Still bleary-eyed, I saw
Glenn on his hands and knees, halfway out of his tent and shining a light back
toward the trees at the edge of the clearing we were camped in.
“There’s a BEAR”, he said. I looked over where he was
shining the light, and could “bear-ly” make out what he was looking
at. Thankfully, Mr. Bear wasn’t interested in getting any closer to us and
wandered off toward the nearby creek (where, incidentally, we had hung our
food-bags). The bears are very active this time of year, packing on the
pounds and getting ready for their long-winter’s nap! Needless to say,
there were a few sleepless hours after the bear sighting!
I got up again at about 6:30 to find
a thick layer of frost on the grass and on my tent. Fortunately, our
visitor in the middle of the night didn’t get to our food bags!! It was a
cold morning, but we warmed up with a fire and a hot breakfast. We packed
up our frosty gear and hit the trail before the sun came over the hill on the
other side of the creek. We hiked about 2.5 miles to the end of Segment
19 at the Eddiesville Trailhead. By then, the sun was warm and we stopped
briefly to shake the frost off our tents (looked like snow falling out of it)
and dry them out a bit.
Segment #20: 12.7 miles –
3,104′ elevation gain, 1,478′ elevation loss
As we continued our ascent up the
Cochetopa Creek valley, the grade of the trail became increasingly steep.
Fall colors were just starting to emerge from the aspens along the way.
Fall Color Just Starting
We ran across a lady and her 2 big
dogs going the other way. She said she was on her way home after spending
10 days in the wilderness. While we were stopped for lunch, another hiker
came by going the same direction as us. Darrell said he was from Denver
and was hiking 2 segments this week and was planning to knock out 3 more next
week. He plans to finish the CT hike next season.
We were still in the La Garita
Wilderness area and had hiked a total of 10 miles when we arrived at another
crossing of the Cochetopa…this time with a bridge!
Bridge Over Cochetopa Creek
We found a nice campsite above the creek at an elevation of 11,750′. This time there was plenty of shelter from trees. Beef stroganoff for dinner, a nice fire and off to bed…