The Northern Colorado Rockies on the CDT

We’ve taken to giving eachother high-fives. “High-Five, We’re Alive!”.
Maybe my mom and grandmother shouldn’t read this…

After 1400 miles, I’m sore. Incredibly sore. And it’s for a specific
reason. Two days ago, Lost and I ran down a mountain. We were on the
summit of Parkview Mountain when I saw a bolt of lightning about two
miles away. “We need to get down now.” I said. Parkview is your
typical Colorado mountain. High and utterly exposed, it’s a beacon for
bolts. I started running down the ridge. Lost, frantically finished
repacking her pack. I turned off the ridge and shot down a very steep,
cairned, loose route to the trees. It was the type of slope that would
normally have me carefully placing my feet. I was running. Lost was
right behind. The bolts were now on top of us. We were exposed, and in
the lightning storm. It was not good. High Five!

Yesterday, we worried about a repeat. Lost and I are the only ones
that we know of that chose to do the extra miles to hike the Rocky
Mountain National Park loop. Camped on the NP boundary, got up early
and busted miles. It was cloudy. We were early. We were taking risks
again. Right after the sign that said “Mountains Don’t Care” (about
your safety) we went above treeline. With four or so miles until our
next tree, the squall hit. Fear motivated and moving quickly we
continued. Luckily, the scarily dark clouds didn’t electrify. It was
another close call. Not quite like having bolts right next to you, but
still scary. Instead, we pushed on through painful hail and strong
winds. Completely covered up, not an inch of face showing, the storm
passed just before we hit the trees. High Five!

Neither of us like this sort of thing. We’ve been considering a much
higher and exposed, longer route for the next section. Again, no one
else is planning on doing it. The weather forecast is for blue skies.
I think I still want to go. But in general, I want to be safe, and
down in the trees. Colorado’s big mountains, and the fact that the
Continental Divide Trail often actually sticks to the rugged divide,
mean that we’ll be hiking in exposed areas a lot in the next few
weeks. Wish us good weather!

Other notes:
– Abbie’s hospitality and the hotsprings in Steamboat were fantastic.
– The shorter section meant that I ate more food than normal. Oh so nice.
– This hostel in Grand Lake is great. So nice to eat the prepared meal
of Lasanga last night.
– Visiting my friend Sarah in Breckenridge soon.
– Had a long, paved road walk out of Steamboat. They suck.
– It’s hunting season.
– Radiolab podcasts are my friend.
– I’m having an awesome time.

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