CDT day 110: The magical valley of wonder

August 22
Mileage: 22
2051.5 miles hiked

Climbing up into a green alpine wonderland of snow-capped ridges and hazy yellow light sunbeams reflecting off the rock and puddling on the green green meadows. It’s so steep and so high but oh man, in Colorado is it worth it. My new life above twelve thousand feet. Lunch at James Pass with Buck-30, he tells stories from his trail life while the day hikers go wild- day hikers firing guns out at the ridges, day hikers flying razor-sharp gliders close above our heads, day hikers letting their children run out onto steep snowfields with abrupt dropoffs and scramble up scree slopes. I almost can’t watch, it’s almost too much.

Then Spark, Track Meat and I hike down and up on the Silverthorne Alternate into one of the most enchanted lands I’ve ever seen- how to describe the emerald valleys and velvety ridges. I don’t think I can. We’d heard this route was nice but I wasn’t expecting this. The valleys and lush green peaks remind me of Goat Rocks in Washington on the PCT.

Up on the ridges a cold hard wind blows and we hike in our layers. It hails off and on for a few hours. The trail is hard- eroded, full of stones, or absent entirely. Down in the valley is warmer and we camp next to the Williams Fork river, pitching our tents before it’s even 6 p.m. Track Meat and Spark make a fire and we sit on a granite outcropping above the water, basking in its warmth. We could’ve hiked five more miles and dry-camped up on the cold windy ridge overlooking Silverthorne, but it is so so nice down here with the sound of the water and our fire and the sun doing its lazy thing.

“Is this what backpacking is supposed to be like?” I say to Spark as he breaks sticks for the fire.

“I think so,” he says.

Photos on instagram