Day 17: Cochetopa Creek

Wednesday July 7, 23.8mi/38.3km

Archuleta Creek (310.9/9774ft) to Cochetopa Creek (334.7/10830ft) (CO)

BluegrassHopper and I departed camp pretty early, 7:15am, and enjoyed a wonderful morning of cool temperatures and easy walking.

The trail was on an old 4wd track most of the morning.

We came to a trailhead with one car parked, I loved this bumper sticker. Leg day!

There were plenty of wildflowers growing along the track, but I don’t know any of their names. Yellow, Red, Purple, and white seemed descriptive enough, ha!

We had been seeing cow pies all morning, but didn’t see the culprits until almost 10am. Hi cows!

Someone, probably a CDT northbound hiker, made some stone artwork. These are pretty common on long trails. Apparently this is 1000 miles north of the Mexican border via the CDT.

The 4wd track continued, and turned southward.

We approached Cochetopa Creek and small pond… finally, some water!

The pond was quite gross.

BluegrassHopper in the lead, with the meandering Cochetopa Creek to the right.

We hiked along the creek for a couple miles, and then crossed it. One problem, the bridge wasn’t above the water, but under it.

I forded the creek; it was only knee-deep but flowing fast. We continued south with the meandering Cochetopa Creek now on our left.

A mile later, a nice wooden sign welcomed us to the La Garita Wilderness.

The trail continued on rolling green hills beside the creek.

In the distance I could see a building, which seemed very out of place in the wilderness.

It turns out, there is a very narrow strip of non-wilderness, with a trailhead and a nearby private ranch.

We continued along Cochetopa Creek, and BGH stopped to fly fish, as he is very fond of doing.

And in only 5 minutes, he caught a trout!

We hiked on another couple miles, slowly veering west towards San Luis Peak.

We got to our planned camp at 5pm, and a couple of girls were already there. Casey and Kim were taking a break, and continued on to do a few more miles.

BGH and I setup our tents, and then went down to the creek to get water, rinse out our sweaty shirts, and of course go fishing. It will feel great tomorrow having clean-ish clothes!

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