That blue sky weather. That beautiful blue sky weather.
Must keep hiking. Can’t stop. Lost and I cowerd in a cave, quickly ate
a thousand calories before we chilled, donned fleeces under our rain
gear and got moving as soon as we could. Before Pagosa Springs, the
weather demons of the gulf sent a squall our way. We awoke early,
perhaps 5 am, to dry conditions. A little after light, it’d started to
drizzle. Then rain. Then wind blown rain. Snow. Sleet. Squalls.
Walking the physical divide, high exposed ridge tops. 40mph wind.
FREEZING. Hiking with Coach, a retired coach, we struggled on. After a
couple of hours of dropping hints, he let go from his blue lips “I
don’t think I can take much more of this”. He was right. Hypothermic,
we all dropped to the nearest trees, set up tents, peeled off
clothing, got in our sleeping bags, ate and shivered. In the mild to
moderate range of hypothermia, I made sure to keep talking to my
hiking companions while we warmed. Just in case someone slipped into a
colder state. It was two in the afternoon.
On the lighter side… It’s been blue bird besides that. Truely
exceptional weather to hike the highest, remotest and final section of
the Rockies. That’s right. I’m done with the Rockies! I’m in New
Mexico! Spirits are high. Coach finished his Triple Crown yesterday
and hitched away to Denver. I’ve got a new smartphone on the way that
I’m excited about. I’ve got magazines to read and time to read them.
My tent smells a little of mildew. I’ve been sporting a blaze orange
foam ball cap to keep from being shot, but it might be time to switch
to the wide brim sunhat. Desert, here we come. Sent my hiking poles
off in anticipation of the NM road walks.
Asking for help is awesome. Secured a perfect hitch out of Pagosa. As
I walked by McDonalds on the way to hitch, I ask a guy with his burger
if he’d be willing to give us a ride to downtown (a better place to
hitch from). Turns out he was leaving that minute to go to the exact
trailhead that we needed to get to. Life is good. Previously, our
hitch asked to see our IDs, then showed us his and his concealled
weapons permit and his gun. gulp. Warned us about being murdered in
New Mexico. Thanks dude.