Miles: 13.5
Camp: CDT mile 757.5
Elevation at camp: 12300 feet

I woke up early to catch up with Squirrel who had camped a little ahead of us. We didn’t notice until after we made camp, so I wanted to touch base with him this morning. I had a Bruce Springsteen song stuck in my head, it was the piano intro to “On The Dark Side,” going over and over as I began my hike before sunrise. I haven’t even listened to any music while in the mountains…I save that for road walks and mundane times. The mountains provide all the music I need out here: the wind, birds, bees, rivers, waterfalls, thunder. Sometimes I play the game, “plane, thunder or avalanche?,” when I hear something especially loud. Top it all off with the scenery and my senses are loaded enough out here. I just can’t soak it all in before the next great thing.

After I caught up with Squirrel, we began our first climb. As we did so, dark clouds moved over the mountains. The sun was barely risen add the first snow of the day began. It made for a beautiful view.

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It didn’t stay long, but clouds lingered persistently all day. Snow coming and going, sometimes a light rain and now hail. It’s been a wacky weather kind of day.

The trail took us down a series of valleys today, all of the way down to 10400 feet. We haven’t been that low since we left Pagosa Springs, and we all reveled in the extra oxygen.

Once as low as we could go, we stopped for lunch and began discussing plans. There is a cool mountain called the Window and they’re is an alternate that takes you up there. Charge and Handstand were eager to do it today, but I noticed the other side was north facing and would have lots of snow, so I lobbied to do it in the morning instead. I saw a lake on the map right by the Window and suggested we camp there, only 4 more uphill miles with 1900 feet of elevation gain…then do the Window at sunrise. That is what we ended up deciding on, and it has turned into a great choice. The Window is super cool! We have been seeing it all day, and now we are right below it. It’s going to be awesome at sunrise!

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The Window from the valley
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The Window from camp

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It has been on and off stormy or sunny all day long. Right now the wind is flapping my tent around and new snow is melting outside. I have finished my dinner and “late night,” snack of peanut butter m&m’s. Now I will read until I fall asleep…probably won’t make it to sunset, but one never knows. We shall see.

Dinner: spinach fettuccine alfredo with salami and kale.

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View from the loo
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