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CDT Day 32 Snowy Mountains to Red Rock Canyons

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19th May

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.

elk
spontanious left me a can of coke

Next – Day 33 Ghost Ranch

Everything you need to know about hiking the CDT:
Complete Guide to Hiking the Continental Divide Trail
CDT Resupply Guide
CDT Gear List

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About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Sydney, Australia.

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12 thoughts on “CDT Day 32 Snowy Mountains to Red Rock Canyons”

  1. How good are the tents with a fly that does not cover the footprint of the tent? Common in the USA, but not so much in NZ and Oz. Cheers Ross in NZ.

    Reply
  2. So many beautiful views you get to experience! How many days do you figure until you reach the Colorado border?

    Reply
  3. fantastic, wonderful pictures. Thanks for posting your adventure. I am warm nor cold this morning, just right sitting here at the computer. Take care as you wander through the snow. My husband and I watched The Edge last night starring Anthony Hopkins. It is a movie from the 90’s about 3 men who survive a plan crash but then have to hike with a man eating bear on the prowl for them. One of the PCT hikers I picked up the other day told me about the movie etc.

    Reply
    • I know that movie. It’s filmed in Canada near Mt Assiniboine. All things going well I will be hiking there in September

      Reply
  4. Always impressed with your navigation skills, and use of electronic products to keep you on track. Do you have a solar charger?

    Reply
    • No solar for me, but my hiking buddy Spontaneous has a combined solar charger and battery, he is impressed with it. I just have a large battery

      Reply

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