It has been a long time (a month or so now?) since my last blog post. A lot has happened in that month…
First, Badger met me in Grants, NM. We hiked together from Grants to Cumbres Pass, just into Colorado. It took nearly two weeks to hike those miles, and they were my most enjoyable on the CDT yet. Badger has been such a good friend, and with an ultralight pack and gear, he was able to comfortably keep up and enjoy himself. Basically we had an absolute blast. We also met a section hiker, Ducky, and we formed a group of three that hiked from Cuba, NM to Colorado, some 150 miles. We woke up late, took many breaks, and joked non stop about the chem trails left by planes in the sky. Clearly it has something to do with Obama’s gay agenda (extreme sarcasm).
The most memorable part of this entire Journey with badger will be the epic start and finish. Our first night on the trail we camped near 10,500 feet just up and over Mount Taylor. Just before dark, a wild storm swept in, dumped a crazy amount of hail, and was shooting out 15 bolts a minute at it’s peak. It was beautiful! On the last night we hiked together, I convinced Badger and Ducky to hike a big day (30+ miles) to Brazos Ridge, where I knew we would have a chance to see the sunset. Well I lucked out, and we got the most epic sunset/storm combo. Brazo’s ridge is in the southern San Juan Mountains, just a few miles shy of Colorado. We could see the entire Sangre De Christo Range, from Salida, CO to Santa Fe, NM. We could see the great sand dunes of Colorado. We could see the entire San Luis Valley. All of this was to the east of us, on a clear night. At the base of the mountains was a giant brewing storm, shooting lightning bolts out of pink clouds. It was a night I will never, ever forget. Hard to top something that beautiful. Here’s some picture highlights of the section I hiked with Badger.
Badger hikes above the clouds on the snow. The first night on trail, near the summit of mount Taylor, we got a crazy lightning and snow storm. It dropped several inches, and at it’s peak there were 15 bolts a minute! Really intense
So much barbed wire to cross under. Badger was a true trooper with it.
Doc Badgey Cakes descends off a large mesa and into the desert. We followed this low desert for so long, constantly seeing Cabezon Peak, which closely resembles Devils Tower in Wyoming. I really loved this area, a lot. It felt rugged and remote. The desert here was great!
Badger in the desert.
The sunsets in the desert are always spectacular!
Things you find in the Desert. My friend Not-a-chance joked that some day we will be finding old iPads and Kindles on the trail. Those will some day be the relics 🙂
Badger took some amazing photos. I just took photos of him taking photos
Teresa Martinez, Queen of the CDT, met up with us the night we were at Ghost Ranch, and the four of us (Myself, Teresa, Ducky, and Badger) all made the trek to Chimney Rock. It was a beautiful night, with great people!
Just loving life. We did a lot of laughing on this trip. So great to be hiking again together!
Badger on a large water crossing before Chama
one of the most beautiful valleys full of dandilions
This is New Mexico, Believe it or not.
What a blast we had! Here was our last night on trail together, on Brazos Ridge, just a few mile from Colorado. We camped up high above treeline, and had a view of the San Juans, and the ENTIRE Sangre De Christo Range from Salida, CO, to Santa Fe, NM. this is looking east, as the sun illuminates a giant storm behind us. We were watching as lightning bolts shot out of the pink clouds. It was truly amazing!
More from that last night. Looking east.
Same night, long at the actual sunset over the San Juan’s.
Badger left, Guy on a Buffalo Right. GUY ON A BUFFALO!!!
Duckey, Doc Badgey Cakes, and Twinkle. You don’t want to cross guys with such tough names.
Badger captures the moment.
We have arrived in Colorado!!
Dave and Kathy picked us up from Cumbres Pass, and brought us to Chama. They also got us Lunch at the Tavern. Such great people, seeing dirty hikers and going out of their way to be so nice to us. If you read this, thank you!
Mel’s Drive Thur. Yup. They didn’t change it. And it became the butt of many jokes.
Badgetown and I in a hail storm in the San Pedro Mountains. I think we got 2 or 3 hail storms together. This was one short and quick. Shout out to Ducky for the picture. Also notice how dry and protected we are under just an 8 ounce tarp. That’s all you need!
I literally had the best time with Badger. Couldn’t have had a better two weeks! Thanks dude!!!
Lord Badger hikes up Mount Taylor as the storm clouds rumble
When we arrived in Colorado, it quickly became clear that we were not at all prepared for the snow in the San Juan’s. I got reports from handy Andy and big foot who did the trail to wolf creek pass, under 70 miles, saying that snowshoes were a must and be prepared to hike all day and be lucky if you get 18 miles in. Add to that the avalanche danger was through the roof, and I decided to take some time off trail. Many people around me headed up to glacier to head south on the trail. That made a lot of sense, and if I wanted to keep on the trail I would have done the same thing. However, I had a week or two to kill, as I plan to hike the northern half of the trail with handy Andy. So, big foot rented a car, and my trusty friend Guthrie, who was in Silverton on his giant extravaganza throughout the American west, decided to head to Chama to pick me up.
From there, Bigfoot, Guthrie and I hiked in Durango, white water rafted the Animas River, explored black canyon of the gunnison, and hiked all around dinosaur national monument. We then met snorkel and pi in flattop wilderness and hiked up to the Devils causeway. It was a great several days of keeping our legs fresh and seeing much of Colorado.
Guthrie in beast mode on the Causeway.
Making our way across the Devils Causeway.
Bigfoot on the way down. He’s a boss.
Lots of snow on it too!
Devils Causeway, a narrow (roughly 3ft) ridge with 2k foot drops on both sides. Both sides. It was awesome!
Guthrie and Bigfoot on the Devils Causeway
Snorkel, Guthrie and Pi on the way up to the Devils Causeway.
So much snow! I think they called this the Chinese Wall (not the same one as on the CDT). It was beautiful!!
Guth on the way up to the Devils Causeway.
Same spot, different time 🙂
Flattop Wilderness Area. This is Flattop Mountain. We camped here 🙂
Yet I’m not impressed. jk, jk.
So much beauty in Dinosaur
More Dinosaur National Monument. This amazing canyon is where the Yampa meets the Green.
Pic courtesy of Bigfoot. He’s very, very talented with his camera! He takes beautiful pictures!
Home for the night. This is how I wake up ever day, in awe.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Guthrie doing man things. He’s taking this rig all over the US, where ever he pleases. He’s been on the road living out of it for several months now. He’s really getting a grand adventure!
The unbelievably beautiful, and huge, Dinosaur National Monument. This view is from Ruple Point.
Dinosaur National Monument. If you haven’t been, you should go! I need to get back there and explore more. I was blown away!
Just Hanging out at Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Hobos. Yes, We’re hobos.
Sorry Mom, I know you don’t like when I stand on cliffs.
I then went and spent a few days in Denver, spending a lot of time with my sister, Cactus, Grace, and other friends. After this, Grace and I did a mini San Juan adventure, doing the alpine loop from Lake City to Silverton, again rafting the Animas River, hiking and exploring around Durango, and did the via Ferrata in Telluride. The Via Ferrata was amazing, so beautiful.
Grace (left) on the Bear Creek Trail near Ouray, CO.
Hiking near Ouray, CO
Grace hanging on to the cliff. Bridal Veil Falls in the distance, with the mighty San Juan Mountains looming. Incredible!
I sometimes wear shorts that go to my knees. But it’s rare.
The Via Ferrata is absolutely amazing. Telluride, CO. If you haven’t been, you should. It’s a beautiful place!
Grace, just hanging out on the cliff.
Grace on the VIA FERATTA!!!
Grace on Animas Mountain. Durango below.
A beautiful meadow with the Grenadiers in the background!
Silverton, CO. Love that town.
Animas Forks ghost town, near Silverton, CO, on the Alpine Loop.
mining ruins near Animas Forks.
Grace’s 4runner near Engineer Pass. THey had just plowed this the day prior!
The Alpine Loop. I thought of my dad so much when I was out here, he would love this place!
On the way to Engineer pass. I had been off trail for two weeks at this point, and it was still this snowed in!
Beautiful woman, beautiful mountains. From Cinnamon Pass
The mighty San Juans from the Alpine Loop.
Cactus and bigfoot rock hunting. Digging for gems! For real though, we went rock hunting at a place Cactus knew of.
Cactus, Aroo, Bigfoot and I made a side trip to Devils Head mountain. This view looks south from the summit towards Pikes Peak. Devils head also has the last remaining fire tower lookout in the front range. That’s pretty neat.
Cactus doing man things. This guy is fearless, extremely knowledgeable on so many subjects, and just a genuine dude. He’s been a great friend in Denver.
From there, Grace drove me to Cumbres pass, where I restarted the CDT, solo once again, to tackle the snow from Cumbres Pass to Wolf Creek Pass, some 71 miles. I will post a separate update on that at a later time!
Thanks again for checking in. I’m sorry for the lack of posts! When Badger came out, I knew he had limited time, so I stopped blogging and focused on enjoying our time. Then I took time off trail and just fell behind on any updates. As of right now, I’m sitting in Leadville, having hiked from Cumbres pass to Monarch Pass. Much has happened, and much will continue to happen. Starting today, I’ll begin my Nolan’s 14 style route through the Sawatch, hitting 14 mountains over 14k feet. Lets hope the weather cooperates and I’m able to complete the route as I have mapped and planned. More to follow….