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CDT CO Section 7

Day 27: Near Verde Lake

The beds at the Avon are honestly very comfortable. My bottom bunk was a little close to the ground, but I had no desire to leave it when the light started coming in.

But there was ice water and a k-cup maker in the lobby that would clear my brain fuzz and wet my dry mouth. I went down to have some coffee and water.

I decided to take advantage of the open kitchen offer instead of paying for breakfast, and spent the next hour or so making a couple of spicy bacon breakfast burritos from ingredients in the walk-in fridge and open shelves, along with a heaping bowl of microwave cheese grits and a banana. I was pretty full and didn’t spend a dime, which is 20 dollars less than I would have had to spend to be less full at one of the breakfast restaurants in town.

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CDT CO Section 8 Off-trail

Day 26: Silverton

I slept in a bit late in the cold gulch. There was no avoiding the condensation and frost on my tent, so I took some minutes to towel it off as I was packing up. I started walking around 8:30.

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CDT CO Section 8

Day 25: Deadwood Gulch

I was groggy when I first woke and couldn’t get going like the previous two mornings. I slept in until 6:30 and started hiking about 7:30.

First, back up to the trail. Then, up a long creek valley to a pass backed by a strong freezing wind. I wished I still had my coat on desperately when I stopped for a snack.

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CDT CO Section 8

Day 24: Nebo Creek

I woke at 5 again. I heard Pilgrim cooking breakfast as I was preparing for the day in my tent. The cold wind, which had been absent the night before, was whipping our tents. It made packing our tents up like a solo game of parachute. The wind would be a theme of the day.

I came out to finish packing up around 6. The sun was up, but not over the mountain, and there was only a little bit of sunlight visible on the far side of the creek. I kept my coat on against the cold wind as I hiked out at 6:15, again beating Pilgrim out of camp.

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CDT CO Section 8

Day 23: Pine River Tributary

I woke up at first light and actually started getting ready. As a result, I reached the point of exiting my tent at sunrise and got to watch it.

Even though I stopped to collect water on the way out of camp, I left well ahead of Pilgrim. I kept looking back for him as I climbed up to Knife Edge, but he wasn’t on my tail. I also saw a weasel of some sort.

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CDT CO Section 8

Day 22: Cherokee Lake

Knowing I was doing a short day for sure, I slept in an extra half hour and then spent some time sewing up my shoe and my glove. I started packing up at 7 when the sun first hit my tent and immediately started warming it up. At that same moment, flies started gathering on the outside of the rainfly. I started hiking between a quarter and half past eight.

I thought it was going to be miserable in the early part of the day with lots of blowdowns, but it wasn’t that bad. The only thing slowing me down was taking needlessly long breaks, but why not when you don’t intend to go far? Waldo passed me quietly and without a word during such a break. No idea he was behind me. Doubt I’ll see him again.

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CDT CO Section 8

Day 21: Headwaters of East Fork Piedra River

The walking was much drier and smoother today, and my cough, though still extant, seems to be improving somewhat.

I woke up with the birds before 6 again, wishing I could sleep more and knowing I shouldn’t, feeling a bit sore from the lumpy and slightly tilted ground. As usual, I started hiking at 7:30.

For the most part, the trail stayed high on the ridges and mountaintops, where rocks were many and trees were small and clustered in patches. For the most part, the only large wildlife up there is marmots, pikas, chipmunks, and swallows gliding on the cold breezes that varied across place and time.

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CDT CO Section 8

Day 20: Divide Overlooking US-160

Is it really almost three weeks I’ve been out here now?

I woke up before 6, before my 6:30 alarm, wishing I could have slept longer. I couldn’t, despite my immense grogginess. I figured coffee would help, but the breakfast room didn’t open until 6:30 and it was clearly going to be too much of a hassle to find a place to plug in the little single cup maker in my room. So I just looked at the internet until 6:45 and went back to the breakfast room…just in time for both carafes to run out of their first batch of the day. What luck. But there was juice, and I didn’t have to wait long for a fresh batch.

I had a banana and a yogurt, but I didn’t intend to subsist entirely on Continental breakfast. It was just enough to keep me going until I was ready to leave.

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CDT CO Section 9

Day 19: Pagosa Springs

I woke up with the cough still hanging on. Sleepy and slowly getting my things together, again, I got started hiking around 7:45.

The trail was on the shady side of the mountain, so there were a lot of snow piles in the trail among the blowdowns. After a stop at a small stream to get some water, I decided to follow a suggestion in a FarOut comment, and climbed straight up to the ridge to avoid the trail issues. It was a steep and difficult climb, even once I was out of the trees and deadfall and snow and onto the rocks. It took over 15 straight minutes just to get to the nearest ridgetop.

The traveling and views and breeze were much better up there, sure, but I don’t know if it was worth the extra effort. A half-hour or so later, I reached the warming hut tucked into a low part of the narrow ridge. I was feeling washed out from the heat and the hard climb, and just went inside and took a seat. There was good cell service, so I watched some videos and made a nice drink and chilled for half an hour.

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CDT CO Section 9

Day 18: Alberta Park Reservoir

I woke with first light again, the birds and all and some early riser quietly walking past my tent. But despite the rattling of the wind on my tent, I managed to get back to sleep until 6:30, thus earning myself a full eight hours.

From the moment I first sat up and all day long, I suffered from a dry cough. Not like my usual morning cough that subsides. In fact, late in the day, I actually coughed something up. I don’t feel sick in any other way, and I don’t know what I could be sick from after no real contact with other humans for three days…