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4 Jun 751.9 to 771.4 (19.5 miles)
As I woke up this morning I reached up to see how much condensation was on my tent. There was, in the form of frost. My outer sleeping bag was moist as well. The outside of the tent was iced over from the last rain that had fallen during the night. This all led to a later-than-normal start to wait for the frost to melt so I could wipe off as much as possible before packing. It was right at freezing so only took a little sun. I was lucky the valley was generally oriented east so didn’t have to wait long for the sun to reach me.
With all the rain and hail, the trail was muddy. It wasn’t horrible but enough to build up on my shoes and to create slippery spots on the climbs. Just part of hiking life.
The hiking today was defined by walks along high areas and ridge lines. There were also more areas of snow on the north faces in descents, but even there in the shadows of trees. Only very occasionally did I have to walk through snow and even then only for a couple of yards.
There were also some areas of blowdowns. These are mentally frustrating because you are slowed down a lot to figure out how to get past them. It could be around, over, or under. When multiple trees are down in one spot, it gets really fun maneuvering through the area. Part of the fun sometimes is finding the trail again as it may have turned. But these areas were not extensive and actually less of a problem than I had expected.
One of the ridge walks was a little painful as it was very rocky and lasted quite a while. I did notice that I was feeling the rocks more through my shoes than before. On inspection you could see my mid-soles breaking down. Good news that I have a new pair of shoes waiting for me in Chama.
Unlike the previous three days, no storms directly threatened me today. Towards the end of the day I could see large thunderstorms over the Colorado mountains just ahead.
Only one elk seen today from a distance.
My goal for a campsite was picked a little differently today. First, a friend/coworker of mine was going to pick me up tomorrow at Cumbres Pass (he and his wife are vacationing nearby) so I was trying to set up for a predictable distance for tomorrow to give him a time. Second, comments in Guthook indicated there was a section before the Colorado/New Mexico border with lots of snow and blow downs. I didn’t want to risk finding a campsite in that area. This worked out well since the topo map showed some potential level areas on a high point before the snowy area. No condensation or frost for me tonight!
It worked out well. Even with the later start, I reached the area about an hour before sunset. (I noticed later I was very near the high point of the CDT in New Mexico, a little higher than Mt Taylor.) I am only 6.7 miles from the Colorado border!