4 days from Leadville over many scenic high passes (with snow) and flowery spring meadows, past beaver dams and through forrests (fir, spruce, the dreaded lodgepole pine – fellow hikers will know what I mean – and sumptuous aspen). We camped in an old mining town called Winfield (now abandoned) and walked an old railway line (now derelict). We had hot and cold weather and even fresh snow. And views to die for! This has been a good section on the CDT!
Wildlife bag: squirrels, ground squirrels & chipmunks (not that exciting though cute), marmots, pikas, ptarmigan, an owl out on a flap in the daytime, deer & elk, beaver dams (no sighting of a beaver) and a PORCUPINE ! No trace of sign of bear.
Funniest moment of the section:
After 3 hours in pouring rain we get to a high point called Tincup Pass where the rain turns into sleat and snow. We are soaked thru and thru. The snow patches are melting furiously and the trail has turned into a river, joining all the other rivers gushing forth from the hill side, making crossings difficult. Below us a jeep road climbs the pass. On it are two jeeps which have stopped on account of having reached an old snowbank. It is Friday – tourist time! As we walk down, people get out wearing shorts and t-shirts, looking clean, dry and well fed (very much in contrast to us). They have with them a small child wearing a pink bathrobe and sandals and two overweight dogs.
We descend and they take pictures of each other next to the snow bank. Not in a mood for chatting, we tuck our heads deeper into our waterproofes and just mutter “hello” as we trudge past them downhill. Five minutes later the jeeps catch up with us on their way valley wards. One of them slows down as he passes and winds down the window. We are getting hopefull: are they going to offer us assistance in our wet and cold state? We wouldn’t accept a lift, but we’d plump for chocolate bars, sandwiches or a sip from their thermos. And the driver leans over and asks Brian in all seriousness:
“Are you guys all right for water?”
We spent some time after debating whether that was just the best line ever to mock the afflicted or whether the guy really meant to imply that we would be struggling for water (given the deluge from the skies and the melting snow all around!!!). Possibly the guy was a towny for whom the only drinkable water comes out of plastic bottle … who knows. We thought is was hillarious.