Monday July 12, 24.7mi/39.8km
Engineer Trail Jct (422.4/12126ft) to Overlook near Corral Draw (447.1/10895ft) (CO)
I woke up kinda late, but it was a short hike to the top of the pass, and I stood at the top at 8am. Looking ahead to the valley below:
And nearby Engineer #2 Mountain:
The trail descended into a nice quiet forest.
The were frequent stream crossings, and most had some interesting rocks. This one looked like a big layer cake. Mmm…cake.
At the crossing for Cascade Creek there was this plaque for Gudy Gaskill.
And a huge bridge.
Looking upstream from the bridge:
I hadn’t seen a single person yet. Most days I would see a few other thru-hikers and some dayhikers. The quiet trail continued, climbing out of the forest and into alpine meadows.
Some of the creek crossings had this strange white coating on the rocks. I definitely didn’t drink that water.
At the top of the next pass, I could see across the Dolores River Valley, to El Diente Peak and Mt Wilson.
The trail turned left, and I hiked towards Hermosa Peak.
I stopped for lunch at Celebration Lake. No other hikers here either.
The views heading towards Hermosa Peak were cool.
And around Hermosa Peak as well.
Much of the afternoon I spent hiking through alpine flower meadows.
The trail was easy to follow, haha.
A new alpine flower made an appearance, I’m not sure what the white ones are called.
I started the climb up to Blackhawk Pass, it was a long way up.
There were some drips of water coming off this boulder, and some purple flowers had taken residence atop the rock.
The climb to the top of the pass continued.
Finally, the top of Blackhawk pass.
The mountain to my left (not Blackhawk Mtn) had some cool red and green colors.
I was about to descend into this valley.
I descended down into the Straight Creek Valley. The view from the creek was cool.
The nice quiet trail continued in the forest, and I finally met my first hiker for the day, a solo woman heading north.
An hour later, I stopped at Corral Draw to camp.
I poked around, and found good camping about a quarter mile further. I setup my tent on this ridgetop. Great views to the south!
Tomorrow is the last full day of hiking, and I expect to finish in Durango on Wednesday afternoon!