Miles: 21
Camp: CDT mile 590.5

It is only a rare occasion that I will get out of my tent to pee in the night, but last night I did and it was snowing. I was bleary eyed and trying not to wake myself too much from the activity so I merely noticed my tent drooping at the foot at first. I went over to tighten the line and that is when I noticed a couple of inches of snow on my tent and all around me. It was very dark and cold so I didn’t spend a lot of time checking it out.

When I woke up later I even let myself go back to sleep…’gotta let the snow melt,’ I thought. Finally, I gave in to the call of oatmeal and coffee at 7 am, the time I usually depart camp. I knocked the snow off my tent and went about my morning chores. Surprisingly, I was out of camp at 7:45…and I thought I was taking my time. I think I just have things more dialed in now.

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Thin layer of snow at camp

I walked in the fresh snow which ranged from 1-2 inches depending on where I was. It was quite beautiful and refreshing, a mere pinch of the amount waiting for us in Colorado.

After about a mile I caught up with Handstand. He was just breaking camp and said Beaut and Tank had just left…but the girls were somewhere behind us all. I found that surprising, but was happy to know my friends were all around me. Now that there is snow and we are going up over 10000 feet of elevation in this leg, I’m happy to have people around me again.

We all walked together after our first break…which was in a parking lot where we were all able to dry our tents. We walked through thick fields of snowmelt, which made it impossible to keep our feet dry. It was either slushy snow, mud or streams right down the trail. Sometimes we would walk on top of deep frozen snow in the trees, but it was mostly wet. I even took an impressive face plant into the mud today. My shoes are definitely ready to be replaced…2.5 more days on these bad boys before they are retired though.

After lunch we kind of split up and hiked alone. I didn’t see anyone for hours, and as a storm rolled in blasting loud thunder, I decided to sit for a bit and ride it out. I took a long break and just as I was packing to go, Handstand and Beaut caught up to me. We all went to the river crossing ahead and looked at the situation. There was a log meant for crossing, but it had turned and was very precarious to cross.

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None of us felt up to the task, so we bushwacked down stream to a better, safer looking crossing.

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My biggest outdoor anxiety is still rushing water. I don’t know why it stresses me out, but it does. I spent my whole crossing focused on the log…never allowing myself to look into the rushing river below.

Safely on the other side, Tank caught up and we all walked a couple more miles to a smaller river. We set up camp here early and are having a peaceful evening. I haven’t camped with others in a while and I like it. It is nice to have friends nearby sometimes. We all have the same goals to get through this stretch, so we will be together for a few days.

The last 8 miles of this stretch are supposedly pretty rough. There is a LOT of snow and postholing is about to be our everyday fare. We go up over 10000 feet tomorrow and don’t go any lower until after Colorado. It is about to change everything. I think I’ll really miss the desert this time.

As for now, warm snuggly tent time.

Dinner: mac and cheese with chicken, coconut oil and salsa.

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View from the loo
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