Miles: 13
Camp: CDT mile 734
Elevation at camp: 11700 feet

We were somehow blessed with minimal storms last night. It barely rained and everything was dry in the morning. We started the day with rosy optimism as the elevation profile looked pretty tame for the day. So we set off at our usual 5:15 after a little stretching session in camp.

Everything started out especially great with dirt trails that meandered through the forest without variation in elevation, and no snow! Gradually these things changed as we started up through a snowy forest that led straight to our first traverse of the day. It was icy, but enough people had passed before us to stomp in some steps on the slick slope.

After that, it was time to put on snowshoes as we started postholing across wide open meadows under steep avalanche ridden slopes. I realized I was still very tired, as yesterday took a beating out on all of us. I could tell by the moods of the others that they were also feeling out of sorts. We trudged through miles and miles of snow fields, and at one point I postholed in snowshoes and had to spend a good amount of time digging myself free. I got myself pretty frustrated…but I gave myself a little prep talk and soon enough we stopped for lunch.

At lunch storms were already accumulating on the horizon, threatening our calorie consumption but never delivering the punch. I shared my Skittles with the guys and we all perked up a smidgen before hiking on.

The afternoon was all ridge walking which meant we didn’t have to wear snowshoes anymore. We are all sick of them and talk often about the days when we don’t need them anymore. They weigh a lot and are kind of uncomfortable after the kinds of miles we do on late season snow. They are currently a necessary burden we all reluctantly oblige. It sure beats postholing for hours though, so I will definitely not send them off until I’m sure the coast is clear.

After our afternoon break we walked up a big ridge and everything changed; from our moods to the views. We all basked in the beauty of the trail which shifted our tired moods into delighted ones. Everything was right in the world again…and we all recognize that some days just end up being harder than others, but they almost always pay off.

Squirrel and I got a little lost as we looked for camp and it started to rain. We were having difficulty with our GPS in the storm and had missed an important turn that must have been buried by snow. We ran around in every direction until we finally realized our mistake. After that we raced to camp as the storm passed and found our friends waiting by a beautiful lake. This is our most beautiful camp to date, a fine place to rest for us weary travelers. Tomorrow has in store the notorious Knife Edge, the crown jewel of sketchy traverses. We have all heard tale of the abominable slopes, and we all hope for a good night of sleep in order to conquer it.

Tonight I doze near the sound of a waterfall, next to a lake, overlooking the world with my 4 companions. Life is good.

Dinner: ramen with jerky, kale, moon cheese, parmesan cheese and oregano.

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That is part of a 3 mile traverse
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That is supposed to be the trail
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This ridge is where the day changed for the better

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There is a waterfall in the middle of this shot

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Looking back at the trail we walked to camp

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Camp
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