The pièce de résistance of the CT is the San Juan mountains, and we got deep into them on day 13. The views were simply stunning, one after another. Physically, it was a tough day. We had to make up time lost from weather on the prior day, and 20 miles of the riding was bouncing (4000 ft) between 12,000 and 13,000 ft. But the final descent of over 3200 ft from Stony Pass down into Silverton put huge grins on our faces.
Heading to the CT Summit
We made the right decision to stay put in the fog the night before and enjoyed a great sunrise.
By 8:30 am we made it to the high point of the Colorado Trail.
We continued on the path toward Bent Peak.
Then we started up toward Carson Peak, and ran into through-hikers John and Sarah from Denver (they had passed us in the fog the night before). Their water system failed that morning and they were boiling water stream-side. They had at least a day or two before hitting Silverton. I believe in trail karma, and since Kyle and I both had Sawyer Squeeze systems, I gave them mine, and they were so thankful. The positive karma worked out too, as even though it got really dark and grey, we didn’t have any rain for the entire day.
We then continued our climb up the valley below Carson Peak. At one point we heard a huge group of coyotes crying.
In the next valley we came upon Cataract Lake.
At about 3 pm we ascended the final climb of the day up to Stony Pass. We heard a huge herd of sheep on a distant mountain all bleating their brains out. It was a cool sound to listen to.
At Stony Pass, we cyclists have to get off the CT because the Weminuche Wilderness is protected, and I was prepared to be disappointed riding the road down into Silverton, but I was wrong. It was a wicked fun and steep descent through huge wildflower meadows with stunning views. CT hikers don’t get to see this, but I’m so glad we did. We’ll come back and hike the Weminuche some year and have the best of both worlds.
We have come 350 miles and ascended 60,000 ft. We get back on the trail tomorrow, and have only four segments left.