Current location and activity: Sitting in a sunny yurt watching storms move up the valley while sun shines on our deck while a beautiful bluebird hangs out, pooping on the rails.
Today was a 14 mile day. Tomorrow will be about 15 miles, mostly downhill. Today was not mostly downhill. We’re tired and we know it. Plus, how could we pass up the chance to spend a night in the Colorado Trail Friend’s Yurt. In 2011 during the CTR, Jarral had tried to explain the location of the yurt to me as we were eating dinner at Spring Creek Pass. I couldn’t find it in the dark and ended up bivying a couple hundred yards from it. Now, they’ve moved it farther up the hill so that the giant windows allow for views of the mighty San Juans. It sleeps 8 and we’re thinking Team Blueberry might make it here tonight, but for now, it’s a peaceful escape from the incessant wind that’s been blowing all day.
It was a cold morning getting ready. I put off putting on wet socks until the very last minute and then added insult to injury by putting cold feet in wet socks into wet shoes. My toes immediately went numb and it took a fair bit of voluntary hike-a-bike to get the feeling back.
The sun peeked out occasionally, letting us strip down to single layers.
The yurt was our planned destination for the day, even at only 14 miles out, especially after my spectacular cratering yesterday. Stony Pass and I don’t get to be friends in the northward direction. Kennebec is on my shit-list too. Next winter, I’m doing core work, this lack of HAB endurance is killing me.
The route was pretty straight forward. Climb up the long valley, drop down the even longer valley. Climb up to Carson Saddle. Climb up to Coney’s Ridge, then over to the summit, then drop down to the trees to the yurt.
Things were going swimmingly. Our toes came back to life. A giant elk paralleled our movements descending the valley, stopping to look at us as often as we stopped to look at it.
Then weather started moving in. Snowflakes started to flurry down. Jackets went on. We were about to go gain the high point of the CT (and possibly the CDT) with a giant storm barreling towards us.
As Scott put it, “There’s no such thing as an easy crossing of Coney’s.”
We got up the flanks of the giant mountain, stealing glances back, watching the storm get funneled down the valley and away from us. We kept boogying.
And then as we gained the ridge, the sun came out!!!
Cameras came out, as did smiles. Jackets came off, lots of stops were taken.
It’s spectacular trail out there. After the heinous climb, all the rocks disappear and it’s high alpine cruising. Except where it’s not, of course.
Blissful is how Scott described it.
Then we looked back and saw another storm barreling down on us.
Time to go.
We dropped into the trees, filled up on water, and headed straight to the yurt, seeking refuge from the wind.
After we finished lunch, Sailor, Alfredo, and Good Neighbor stopped in for their lunch. They’d gone up to hike a Wyoming section to wait for the snow to melt and were headed south on the Lake City to Wolf Creek section carrying six days of food. We hadn’t seen them since south of Chama. It was good to catch up and get some snow reports, and of trail conditions crossing the Great Basin (windy).
Since then, reading Backcountry Skiing magazines (and missing skiing a little bit), lounging, and trying to not eat all of our food before the morning.
It’s a good yurt-living, bike-touring life. No internet. No town chores. Just recovery and enjoying the moment.