Day 18: CT

Mileage: 22.5

Camp tonight is next to Tank Seven Creek with another woman and her dog. This dog is absolutely incredible and friendly. She’s a catahoula mixed with cattle dog and just about a year old. There is a fire going and probably another hiker coming into camp soon. The full moon was last night, but there should still be we good light when I wake up for my nightly pee.

I got to trail a little late this morning, but wasn’t expecting anything too challenging and the weather was looking great. With all my frustrations over the Eastern side of the collegiate loop I decided to switch over to the west and it was absolutely a great decision.

The western collegiates obviously traverse the western side of the CT, but stay way higher up and offer a lot better views. I didn’t realize the split in trail when it happened and just figured the Eastern side was the only way to go, unless you were doing side trails. Now that I’ve tasted the western side I can’t wait to do the rest of it that I missed on the CDT.

The first ten miles of the day were stunning. The trail lead through the Continental Divide and rides along Ridgelines with 360 views. Eventually the trail begins to drop in elevation a little with a few roller coaster gains before a long decent into where I am camped.

This is the last water source that is reliable for a good while so I’m hoping to camel up and bring extra out in the morning. The lightning today wasn’t the worst. It was unexpected, but short lived. As I reached my final high point of the day I heard my first crash, but it was far away enough I felt safe for the moment. I quickly got down, however, and heard a few more on the decent. It drizzled for a little while, but all in all it wasn’t that bad.

The rain keeps coming in and out making me want to enjoy a fire and then have to return to my tent. Tomorrow I have to decide if I want to take a long trip into Gunnison for fuel or just go to lake City and heat my water with fires. We will see.

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