CDT day 86: diamonds on the grass

July 29
Mileage: 30
1580 miles hiked

Another cold night. In the morning our tarps are stiff with frost and our water is frozen again. I sleep til 6:30 like the cozy, hedonistic thru-hiker that I am and when I wake the sun has just come up over the lake and its warm rays are beginning to melt the frost on the grass. Spark and Track Meat are just waking up as well. How can we get up early when it’s cold like this?

Who am I kidding. We never get up early. It’s awesome.

The lumpy meadows are beautiful covered in frost- I walk through them, numb hands pulled up into the sleeves of my down jacket, wishing I could somehow capture the way the ice sparkles like diamonds in the sun. But nah, it’s just there.

We climb up to Gunsight Pass, which from a distance looks like a notch in the mountain. Carrying a heavy pack is starting to bother me today- I’ve got shooting pains in both my shoulders, and my knees are sore. Again, how do regular backpackers do it. How.

We have lunch next to a gorgeous clear river, our shoes, wet from the meadows, drying in the sun. Then the rest of the day is flat- meadows and forests, meadows and forests. In the afternoon we come around a grassy bend and there is Green River Lake set against some granite peaks- it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen on the CDT so far. We must be getting into the winds! The water is an impossible blue color, on account of the glacial silt washed down from the mountains. There’s a cluster of ancient cabins on the shore of the lake, and we poke around inside. I jump in the water, gasping at the cold. Spark and Track Meat won’t go in.

The trail follows the Green River upstream after the lake, and I look at the sparkling water as I walk. What a magical planet we live on. Camp is at the base of the climb that will take us up to Knapsack Col, which is said to be one of the best parts of the CDT- tomorrow we climb to 12 thousand feet!

Photos on instagram