18th May

15.2 (24.5km)

Cuba (519.8) to Cold camp (535)

I slept poorly last night. Rain continued for part of the evening and night. The thought of leaving the relative comforts of the hotel in the morning were likely playing on my mind. I knew the snow covered mountains were near.

It was almost 11am when we started hiking out of town. The sky was overcast. It was yet to make up its mind if it would rain or just stay gray for the day. 

The roadwalk out of town town to a trail after about 8 miles. This also coresponded with a sharp increase in the steepness of the trail. It wasn’t long before patches of snow appeared. In other areas the trail was a stream as the rapidly melting snow made its way off the high ground.

We crossed many patches of snow before we reached the plateau. It must have been yet another flat top Mesa that we were hiking on. It seemed like if we weren’t hiking in snow, we were hiking on a water logged swamp.

We were above 10000 feet and it was cold. A combination of the cold swampy water and the snow numbed my feet. I was unable to feel my toes, or wiggle them. Spontaneous and Crunchmaster were fine, or at least putting on a brave face. I took off my shoes and warmed my toes with my hands. Take me back to the heat of the desert. The days of me being the most comfortable of the three of us with these conditions are gone.

My toes were not warming up anytime soon so we decided to make an early camp. If 6.45pm is considered early. Light snow started to fall. Just enough to be annoying. I jumped into my tent, changed into my sleeping clothes and wiggled into my warm sleeping bag. It didn’t take long for me to warm up.

I had a look at my maps. It seems we were camping at almost the highest spot possible. I was too tired and cold to continue. We were at almost 10500 feet. 

I did something that one should not do in bear country. I cooked in my tent. Korean ramen was my dinner. It’s my new favourite meal. Spontaneous has it sent from Korea. It’s very hot and spicy, just what I needed to warm myself up. And it worked. I finally felt warm.

I think I’ve mentioned on many occasions that I live in the tropics because I dislike the cold. I was tested today and realised I’m going to be pushed to my physical and mental limits in coming weeks. This is where the trip really begins for me. Hopefully I can get some sleep tonight, it promises to be very cold, probably the coldest night I have felt since sleeping in the cold of Bryce Canyon in late November, 2014. That night it reached -12C (10F).

the snow started just below 10000 feet

some patches of snow was soft and slow to traverse

Spontanious negotiating the waterlogged swamp

I was very tired when this photo was taken

temps were below freezing so i cooked in the comfort of my sleeping bag

12 Responses

  1. Paul

    Hang in there Shepherd. When the going gets tough…

    • BikeHikeSafari

      The tough go shopping, fit cold weather gear…

    • BikeHikeSafari

      I can only hope that will be the case.

  2. Heather

    Oh, man! That sounds so cold. My dad and I are camping/hiking in the Santa Fe National Forest this summer. Hopefully the snow will be gone by July, lol. Stay warm.

    • BikeHikeSafari

      I suspect the snow will not only be gone but it should be very hot.

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