CDT Day 40 (NM & CO – Chama to Pagosa)

Welcome to Colorful Colorado


  • Stevie Evac. Alt.: 47.4-61 (13.6)
  • CDT Miles: 780-782.6 (2.6)
  • Total Hiked: 708.2
  • Elevation Range: 7,870-10,290

“How you gon’ win when you ain’t right within?”Lauryn Hill

Waking up this morning I had a potential plan laid out for the day, but you never know how things will play out. I started by organizing and packing some since the contents of my pack had been strewn all about my motel room. Feeling pretty good about it, I took off a little before 7:00am for the same coffee shop/bakery that I visited the day before. I loved the place so why walk further.

No fainting today thankfully, but I was joined by another hiker again. Blaze and I shared a table and mainly perused on our phones, but kept a conversation going throughout too. I learned that she, Google, Katherine, and Detour have grouped up somewhat and will likely hit the trail on Monday. They seem fun and I hope I run into them up ahead.

I got a surprise when I saw Gump and Libby (aka Mooch and now aka Juniper) walking by. I went out and had a nice reunion. They started the CDT on the same day as me and were the first folks I met in Tucson at the train station. The couple came in to the bakery and chatted for a while. I ended up hanging for a good three hours. Then, it was back to my room to finish packing and checking out.

Remembering where and how my ice axe attaches on to my pack took some time, and all the added gear I have now makes things quite bulky and heavy. That’s what it takes to be a super mountain backpacker in the early season I suppose.

I made one last stop in the grocery store to get a single ramen packet I wanted and to get cash back. Then, hit the road to start my walk up to Cumbres Pass, to Colorado, and back to the actual CDT! Sort of, I had about two miles in town still and I made some pit stops before I actually started doing my serious trekking.

First stop was to Subway to get some lunch to “pack out.” Seemed pricey to me until I remembered the sub of the day deal, which today happened to be black forest ham. Perf.

Onward I went to the “downtown” of Chama. There were hikers wherever I looked. Everyone seems to be congregating here due to the forest closures. As I passed one hotel, I looked up to its second floor deck and saw a bunch of folks milling about that were clearly hikers, some of who I recognized. I stopped in and said hey to Mountain and Lion, Bird, Sledge, Bright Eyes, Soccer Mom, and Ponderosa. Fun stuff. Most are hanging at least til tomorrow before hiking again. The skies were looking dark while hanging there and I still wasn’t discounting the idea changing my plans and staying at the campground at the north end of town.

After eating my sub, drinking my Vitamin water, and getting caught up with folks I felt the call of the trail. It was right around noon when I headed out of Chama. The weather couldn’t make up it’s mind today. It’d be sunny one minute, then sprinkling rain on me the next. It looked like the sunlight was small patches in an otherwise cloudy sky.

Chama has a scenic railway leading up into the mountains and when its season is open, wouldve taken me right to Cumbres Pass. Instead, I walked the road and observed the meandering track criss-cross every now and then.

A few miles from the trail, I left New Mexico and entered into Colorado! There were signs to help me recognize and celebrate the occasion!

The walk to the pass was understandably all uphill. Overall, I’d say it was steady and gentle, not too bad actually. The last two miles the grade increased slightly though as we wound up and around this rock outcrop…

I made it back to the CDT right at 4:30pm and was pretty stoked to be done with the forest closure Stevie Evacuation Alternate road-walking experience! This is me attempting to hug the sign post while taking the photo simultaneously.

I signed a log book at the trailhead and included the quote up above. Got to go in with a positive attitude, right!? And believe I can do this!

It took all of about 2 minutes to get my first snow patches, but they didn’t turn out to be bad at all for this first stretch.

It felt so good to be back on actual trail and heading up and away from the road.

Still had the dark clouds mixed with blue skies. And it was very windy at times. I kept thinking a storm was going to roll over, but it almost seemed like it was clearing or dissipating up above me. Maybe I’m in a sort of rain shadow type of setting, still and the other side of the tall peaks? And its getting rain or snow on the other side? That’s what I was pondering.

There’s a good amount of water all around. Lots of snow melting.

I only went a few miles on the trail because it was already almost 6pm, but also because after the 2.6 miles I did cover, it’s all uphill for 8 miles to above 12,000 feet elevation. Should be a fun start to the morning, eh?

I managed to find a pretty superb tent spot… a little closer than I like to a creek, but even though I try, you can’t always be a perfect leave-no-trace’er.

One thought on “CDT Day 40 (NM & CO – Chama to Pagosa)

  1. jimnewheights

    We enjoyed watching Cheer’s vlog on the CDT. Colorado was tough
    for her with all the elevation changes. Breath deep Steve and enjoy
    the clean air. Hopefully the fire closures are behind you.

    Like

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