Day 19: Cruisin’ to CT Highpoint

Friday July 9, 22.9mi/36.9km

Spring Creek Pass (357.8/10906ft) to Lake 12200 (380.7/12205ft) (CO)

I slept in and got a late start, and enjoyed the relaxing morning cruising on old jeep roads.

The trail is up on the continental divide here, and I could see down into all the little valleys.

The trail was mostly above 12,000ft today, so I was above treeline.

The view ahead was a little interesting…I’m going to climb those things?

I briefly dropped low enough to be in the trees. The morning’s only water source was also at this low point, too.

I had a nice gradual climb back up, the trees disappeared again and I was traveling thru the willows.

Most of the day was ridge walking, with epic views.

The clouds were starting to do their usual thing, and growing as the afternoon heat took hold.

I loved seeing the contrast of the little snow patches on a green grassy hillside.

I stopped to chat with another CT hiker, Luke. He is from Missouri, and doing the trail on his summer break between college semesters. The clouds were turning rumbly, so we made haste moving down the trail. But I still stopped to get a photo of these flowers.

The final, gradual climb up to the Colorado Trail highpoint. The clouds were gathering and becoming thunder-y.

I grabbed a quick photo at the highpoint, 13,271ft, and then quickly moved to lower ground.

The trail descended precipitously on switchbacks down this ridge.

It was cool seeing old vintage signposts for the CDT, carved with “Divide Trail”.

There was an old mine ruins on the way down.

I wanted to poke around and have a look, but there were sinkholes and the ground seemed unstable.

I continued into into the Lost Trail Creek Valley, where there were plentiful water sources once again.

The trail slowly climbed up to the head of the valley, and over the pass.

These rock towers were surprising to see. I think the rock around here is volcanic.

Looking back down at the valley I had just hiked up:

I continued on down from the pass another two miles, to camp at an unnamed lake.

I got down to the lake at 5:30pm and it was really warm.

The little lake above Cataract Lake.

There was already a family of four there, and I setup my tent nearby. A duo of women arrived and setup their tents too, and the final camper arrived and setup her tent next to mine. Six tents, that’s the most I’ve seen yet on this trail!

Heaps of tents!

All are CT thru hikers, except the family. I enjoyed chatting with them over dinner. KOKO (camped next to me) knew BluegrassHopper, small world!

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