CDT Day 34 Onto the Colorado Plateau 


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21st May

24.9 miles (40km)

(575.5) to Upper Canjilon Lake (600.4)

The low river valley was slowly giving way to the steep climb onto the Colorado Plateau. I’m not far from the state of Colorado. To get there I need to climb.

I didn’t have much energy in the morning. In fact the low energy stayed with me most of the day. It wasn’t helped by the slowly thinning air and constant uphill climbing. Maybe it’s just the altitude starting to affect me. I’ll slowly get acclimatised.

I stopped for lunch at a spring. Spontaneous and Crunchmaster finally caught up. They started hiking at 6.30am from Ghost Ranch. I hiked an extra 2.7 miles yesterday evening to a beautiful campsite. So we were back together.

After lunch the trail continued climbing. Trees became thinner. Some of the Aspen trees were just starting their growth cycle. New bud forming for the growing season. Others were still to cold to bother.

In the distance, looking north, for as far as I could see were large snow capped mountains. They looked intimidating. One thing that made me feel better was the warm weather. The sun was blazing. I knew that a couple of weeks of these temps would quickly melt the snow.

I made a rookie error. Billy Jean was playing on my headphones. It’s got a great beat to hike to. I missed a turn. I was half a mile off course. I also ran out of water. I was also a bit hungry. All those incidents together bought on some minor frustration. I ate some food and filtered some water from a muddy stream that was on an old jeep road. That’s right, the road was a small stream. Things somehow felt better afterwards.

By late afternoon we reunited again. I suspected that the others had passed me while I was hiking my bonus miles. Turns out Spontaneous got lost too. Not to be outdone Crunchmaster took a wrong turn, twice. We were the lost boys.

Before we could get to camp we had to cross a small intermittent stream. That’s what our map called the crossing. It was waist deep, bitterly cold and flowing fast. Not the best way to end the day.

Camp was next to a lake. We dined at a proper picnic table. That’s something new for the trip. We all felt so very posh. With dinner Spontaneous opened a bottle of Soju and Dr Pepper which we shared with our meals. Our camp was above 10000 feet, so surely it will be cold tonight. There were great views of the full moon and Mars after another magical sunset.

the view looking down from the colorado plateau
green meadows
snow capped mountains in the distance
crunchmaster photographing a snake
aspen trees
dinner on a picnic table

Next – Day 35 – Lost in the Snow

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 Chile.

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5 thoughts on “CDT Day 34 Onto the Colorado Plateau ”

  1. Three thoughts: 1. He is WAY too close to that snake. Any snake. 2. That water looks so cold! and 3. I love, love, love the photo of the sun through the aspen trees. Such beautiful colors. One of my favorites so far!


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