26.7 miles (43km)
Cold Camp (535) to Rio Chama (561.7)
It was cold overnight. I woke at 4.30am. I was freezing. I was wrapped up in my sleeping bag with just my nose protruding. I slipped on my down jacket for extra warmth. Usually it’s my pillow. I was unable to fall back asleep. I was just too cold.
There was a thick white frost on my tent. It melted quickly when I boiled some water for coffee. My little alcohol stove warmed the inside of my tent nicely. I didn’t want to get dressed and hike through the snow and wet swamps.
It was near 7.30am when I plucked up the courage to get moving. That’s a late start for me. As expected my feet were cold and wet within 15 minutes. The wet swamps were unavoidable. I was pleased that the snow was hard and solid. Unlike yesterday’s sloppy slush. It made me optimistic. With early starts we could make miles through the mountains of Colorado.
The descent off the plateau meant warmer temperatures and no snow. Finally I was happy. Both spontaneous and Crunchmaster have been laughing at my misery. It’s payback for my laughter at their suffering in the heat of the desert. Several months from now in the Great Basin of Wyoming I will be happily laughing at their misery again, maybe, hopefully.
The majority of the day was hiking through lacklustre pine forests. That was until we crested a ridge. Looking north I saw the impressive snow covered mountains of Colorado. Dark storms clouds covered sections of the sky. It was both impressive and intimidating.
The other side of the ridge dropped into the Chama river valley. It looked like a mini Grand Canyon. Red, yellow and white rock cliffs lined the valley. The late afternoon sky only intensified the colours. Our camp was on the banks of the Chama river.