CDT Day 148 (CO – Leadville to Mon. Pass)

The Collegiate West High Route

  • CDT Miles: 1,105.2-1,078.9 (26.3)
  • Total Hiked: 2,525.2 miles
  • Elevation Range: 11,080-12,870

Today was another one of those days that’ll stick out in my memory I believe. This whole stretch has really been pretty awesome in my opinion. Generally, the trail stayed high up, but had about 6 “high points” with dips back down between each of them. It wasn’t steep for the most part and overall, quite nice trail.

I wonder sometimes if the photos of mountains over and over, if it may seem they all look the same. Out here in real life Stevie time, I don’t ever feel that way, which is why I keep snapping. I took so many pictures today and each mountain, valley, stretch of trail all has a unique feel. I love it. One cool thing about today was that pretty much every one of the high points had snow on its north slope, which made for beautiful and a little intimidating scenes.

I had set myself up to get right up and out of the trees in the morning.

The clouds were just rolling into the valley and dissolving it seemed (once again, my vid is a bit amateur, but couldn’t edit for some reason).

After the first up, there was a short dip down to Highway 306 and Cottonwood Pass…

Then, continuing on up, this time all the way to above 12,550 where there was a structure my app labeled “rock bivy.”

I spy with my little eye, a very camouflaged bird…

Everything was a bit frosty this morning.

I was now enveloped by cloud and like the ones I’d observed earlier, the air was moving and they were visibly blowing overtop.

I’m telling you, everything was a bit frosty…

My first icicle beard of the trek…

It was such an up and down rollercoaster today that for the most part, I don’t have any idea where my photos were taken after this point. Near the top, bottom, who knows… but it was all pretty great.

Took shelter from the wind in this dugout hole for a snack break.

I really liked these frozen signs.

It finally cleared so that I could fully see what was to my “right,” aka, the area west of me. Looks like it’s might be that same big valley from the day before after getting over Lake Ann Pass.

While enjoying my second breaky, I took a close up of this mossy specimen…

I remember it was up from here to a pass.

I spy a very camouflaged Pika on a rock…

Yep… up there is where I was headed. The tunes came on here.

Pretty views when things opened up on the other side going through…

And when going down into the valley…

Ok, second try for spotting the Pika (hint: left side of trail just as it starts becoming bigger rocks)…

Zoom out…

Another high point, now where too?

I believe I utilized a traverse-veer right maneuver, not all that advanced of a technique really, quite gradual, and then pulled a class 18 zig zag operation to climb up ahead in the next pic. Had to get some water down at the bottom before going for it. Once up there, that’d be the highest point for the day, about a hundred or so feet shy of 13,000 elevation.

I got down lower at some point…

But towards the end of the day, once again I started making my way to set up for the next morning’s high elevation pass.

Nice little bucky I came across…

And then a lovely stretch that went along a flat old railroad bed. Quite welcome after the various elevation climbing and defending I’d been doing all day.

Lots of springs dumping water onto the flat old RR.

I sort of took a gamble with tenting tonight. I passed by the last spot I knew of as a good flat area wanting to get closer to tomorrow’s pass. It worked in the end, but had to get creative. I set up right on the edge of the last trees. My tent was in a clump of trees, but I walked up a tad for dinner viewage…

Albums of the Day

“Look Long” – Indigo Girls (2020)

“San Isabel” – Jamestown Revival (2019)

Podcast of the Day

“The Moth Radio Hour: You Say Goodbye” – The Moth (Sept. 12, 2022)

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2 thoughts on “CDT Day 148 (CO – Leadville to Mon. Pass)

  1. Emily B

    Ha! I have a picture by that Cottonwood Pass sign from our 2002 cousin road trip (when they came to pick me up from SMR). Laura and Krista VW, Annelise and Katherine, and me and Kara. It was super foggy and cold then too (end of summer). I feel like we almost got lost on our hike and took shelter from the wind in some rocky depression. Wish I could attach the photo here…

    Steve, you are a hairy beast 😂😂. Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

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