Post-holing Warmup

Day 36: May 29, 2019

Destination: CDT Mile 666.4

Today’s Miles: 23.6

Start Location: CDT Mile 642.8 (Del Prado Hotel, Cuba)

Trip Miles: 565.7

I tried to wake up earlier than I did, but I was tired. I had a lot to do in Cuba. I ended up ordering a sleeping bag liner. I’m still prepping as if I will hike through Colorado, and I definitely at least plan on hiking into the state, so I want to make sure I am warm enough at elevation and if I tent on snow. I probably went overboard, but I got a 20 degree liner. It will be bulky but hopefully worth it - I don’t like being cold!

I decided to run next door to Mouse and Dutchman’s room to see if they were still around and wanted to join me for breakfast. I walked out of my room and shut the door, and immediately realized I had locked myself out of my room! It was only about 7:25AM, but I walked over to the motel office anyway to see if anyone was there. Nope! They had a number on the door to call, but my phone was in my room. Doh!

I knocked on Mouse and Dutchman’s door, and after a minute Girly Girl answered the door. She had shared a room with them. They were both gone and I felt bad for waking Girly Girl, but she let me use her phone to call the office number. I left s message when no one answered.

Girly Girl was still resting, so I decided to go lurk around the office. For whatever reason, I had left my room with my snowshoes in my hand, so I was walking around holding those, looking like some kind of deranged lunatic circling the parking lot.

The office manager came out promptly at 8. Completely expressionless, she said “leave it in the box,” meaning the key drop box. She handed me the key and closed the office door. Rewind to yesterday when I first checked in. She had told me her name was Yang. That is a very common Chinese surname, and rather than confirming with her, I started speaking Chinese to her (yeah, I speak Chinese - long story ...). She looked at me, expressionless, and said “I’m Korean.” She was very unamused. Doh! In fairness, I have never met a Korean person named Yang, and I know a lot of Korean people....

At the top of San Pedro Peaks - a snowy, muddy, melting bog!

Having thoroughly disgraced myself at the Del Prada Motel, I hiked out. First stop, McDonalds for breakfast. I had two sausage, egg and cheese sandwiches and some coffee while chatting with an older gentleman, answering questions about what I was doing, etc.

Hiking out of town I had to travel on a dirt road for 7 or 8 miles. I missed my turnoff because I was shooting some video, and thereby walked a “bonus” mile. Hiking out of Cuba, both road and trail are a climb. I entered the San Pedro Peaks Wilderness and kept climbing until I was at the top of the mountain, roughly 10,500 feet high. Patches of snow appeared around 9,400 feet, but the top of the mountain was mostly snow.

The snow was soft. I walked over a lot of it without sinking too far as I was not the first to tread here. That said, I did do a lot of post-holing. I also punched through snow into muddy, icy bogs. I came close to trying my snowshoes, but the conditions weren’t quite right for them as there were frequent stretches of mud between snow fields, and in most places the post-holing wasn’t deep enough to warrant using them.

I skipped my lunch break because it started snowing lightly and the coulda at the top were beginning to look menacing. I pushed to get to the descent, and then back down into the woods I went. I hiked down for quite a while, often having to go around or over significant stacks of dead trees.

I passed Mouse and Dutchman in their tents, hiked another mile and pitched camp. I camped at a little spot on a hill, and noticed that someone had put animal vertebrae on some of the trees’ knobs, almost like decorations. When I did my mileage tally this evening, I noticed I was at mild 666. Now, I’m not superstitious, or particularly religious, but I felt a little eery camping at mile 666 where someone had decorated with vertebrae. Maybe it was a lair! It didn’t matter, I was so tired I just ate and slept.

It’s clear what this elk thought of the snow....

I was grateful for the scenery today and that I didn’t get stuck in a nasty storm at the peak. I am hoping tomorrow will be a little less wet.... Time for bed!

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