I’d heard a southbound CDT hike was supposed to be mostly cold, but we have been sweltering in hot weather and since the trail is usually up high, there aren’t a lot of water sources. More than once we’ve had to hike ½ mile off trail (one way) just to get a drink At least there is water to be had and it always tastes so good after working so hard for it. There is no way to be a purist with this hike since so much is cross country travel and it’s shown me a new attitude towards the days travels. I want the path of my footsteps to connect from Canada to Mexico, so detouring for water or to climb a peak doesn’t compromise my hike. Today while resting at Stemple Pass we saw on our maps how the trail went up over a thousand feet to a small peak and then right back down. We also saw the Forest Service road that paralleled the trail but stayed reasonably flat for the same two-mile distance. Same miles but without another huge up and down that we’ve been hiking over for weeks? Why not? The CDT was on Forest Service roads a lot today anyway, so we had a nice little alternate since we studied our maps.After another mile side trip for water, we sloshed with heavy loads back up to the Divide for some gorgeous cross-country travel. This is what I expected the CDT to be; trail less ridge walking. It feels so good to be out here hiking along lost in your thoughts with nothing but mountains in every direction. All the sweat, soreness and pain melt away when you get long the Divide and realize why you’re out here. These are the views no postcard can duplicate and no calendar photo can touch. Witnessing it first hand is the only way to truly appreciate the world.
- Starting Location: cooking and a ‘wild woman’
- Destination: Stemple Pass