CDT Day 131 (CO – Steamboat to G. Lake)

Sunny Among And Above the Aspens

  • CDT Miles: 1,430.2-1,399.7 (30.5)
  • Total Hiked: 2,206.6 miles
  • Elevation Range: 8,340-11,550

“Won’t lay down our heads till the day is won. Won’t stop running till we reach the sun.” – The Paper Kites ( in “Woodland”)

I hugged a tree today. It was a big beautiful Aspen. Doing what Aspen trees do. I opened my arms wide and stretched my fingers out, feeling the wind blow… the sun on my face, just like the leaves fluttering above. That’s when you know it’s a good day, when you’re out there hugging trees and pretending to be a leaf. And as one of you commented on here before (likely one of my few regular contributors… Brian, Jim, Kevin, or mother Sheryl)… It was a good day for a good day!

At 5:00am, a truck ( I assume it was a truck based on the noise) drove by on the two track I’d pitched my tent only a few feet off. Wasn’t getting back to sleep so slowly started getting ready. Everything felt damp, but might’ve just been cold, so I tried a Snickers technique of warming my clothes up first inside my sleeping bag before putting on. Will certainly make time for this going forward.

Upon exiting my tent, I discovered via the frost over everything that I wasn’t wrong in my observations of a cold evening. When taking the fly off, it mostly maintained its shape rather than collapse with gravity like it should. Tossed it aside, then packed up pretty much every else. Lastly, I got my mitts on and shook it out like a rug. Got most of the frost, but still will be drippy when it melts so I attached to my “outside of the pack” spot that I have just for such an occasion.

Got hiking at 6:15am and it was still dark, but getting light. I had a ways still on my asphalt road walk. Only just a little bit down the road though, I had a feeling I had left something. My pink pack cover to be specific. So, back I went. Turned out it wasn’t there and once I restarted hiking, I thought through it and believe it’s probably at the very bottom of my pack having dropped down the night before when unloading everything.

Crushed the road and was happy for some lighter morning traffic compared to last night. As I’ve mentioned, I have sort of already done this little part. I drove this road last year around this time in my van Ronnie. I headed right to the exact spot where there’s a trailhead-ish. You see, last year Cheer and Snickers were finishing there 2021 section and the timing of things worked where this was when I could get off work to meet up. So, I parked here near this sign and then walked the next few miles sobo to meet them. Double points for me I guess…

Off the asphalt!

And onto the gravel…

Soon to be among the Aspens…

I didn’t know it, but the first half of my day would all be on gravel/dirt road. It was still quite awesome though. I stopped for a breakfast break and ended up laying out most of my stuff to dry.  Did a little foot rinse and then a sock rinse. It was quite the break. Good granola and super mocha latte supreme as well.

More Aspen stuff…

Went through some cow territory…

Then entered into National Forest…

Super electrolytes day…

I was going up again today and as expected things opened up for some viewage…

At the first high point, there was a junction that lots of people had missed (according to comments in the app), but now someone had made a nice little sign. Without it I would’ve done the same and continued right on by…

I kind of thought this was thee high point for the day and that I could relax now, but nope. The trail went down about 1,000 feet and then right back up again.

Once down, I thought this rocky topped one was where I was headed, but nope. Started up towards it, but turned away, crossed a creek and went over to its neighbor…

Surely, I thought, this one would be the highest. It was close, but I’d actually do some up and down around 11,400-11,500 feet for a while, like 2 miles-ish and then, before going down, I’d hit the high point. Wowsers, it was amazing though. Stupidly steep trail at times, but gorgeous stuff.

Super Speedy Stevie…

My long day resulted from that it was sort of my goal, but I would’ve called it earlier if I had found a spot. Then, the spot I was eyeing had been taken, so another .5 miles at the end. Luckily, mostly downhill for the last stretch!

Finally going up to the high point of the day…

Made it!

And going down…

Whether I like it or not, I’m getting more used to the dark. I mean, my body doesn’t like it, I feel like I start rushing at the end of the day, stressing that it’s getting dark. It’s like a survival instinct or something, although some people like the night hike idea. Anyways with the sun setting earlier and earlier and needing to make these big days, it means I am setting up just before dark (still like to find camp in time for that). But the cooking and eating with my headlight on is something I just have to accept I think. For now anyways, we’ll see.

Patience young Padawan, more posts coming soon!

Albums of the Day

“Woodland” – The Paper Kites (2013)

“Fine Lines” – Harry Styles (2019)

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