Start: near canada jarosito
Stop: past canyon manga
Total miles: 603
Good thing we were only joking about cowboy camping because it starts to rain in the middle of the night. I get enough drops coming inside that I crawl out and close the tent beak. We’re on trail by 6:30 am only to be greeted by a dead, soggy mouse. A few miles later, I hear the familiar roar of a large river. There’s no way around fording the cold beast Rio Vallecito. One by one we slowly pick our way across the torrent. The current splashes my crotch. I love how we look out for each other, ready to jump in and help if anything goes wrong.
We actually get some cruiser trail and make good miles all morning. Lunch is at Hopewell Lake campground where we dry our wet gear and inhale food. We get word from a forest service trail worker that Teresa (head of the Continental Divide Trail Coalition) is there so we go and say hi.
We climb forest service roads through the late afternoon, sometimes hitting small patches of snow. With only a few miles left I come to a tiny flowing creek. The rock I step on rotates and my foot goes in. So much for having dry feet. Not much further, we wonder into a bog and the water starts to seep into the shoes. To exit, my whole right foot sucks deep into the mud and I cry out. Less than a mile later, I’m suddenly face down on the ground and Shannon laughs. It’s the kind of fall that launches my water bottles out of my backpack pockets. Man, if Shannon didn’t laughed it would have all been for not. We sit together having dinner, playing fart tennis and laughing ’till we cry.
Not long after retiring to our tents for bed (just after 8 pm), a coyote let’s out a cry. It is very close on the ridge just above us and the closest I’ve heard this whole trip. Its repeated calls echo across the valley while the moon’s brightness bleeds into my tent.