We spent some time in the quaint village of Chama, New Mexico. We watched many experienced hikers set off into the notorious San Juan mountains. Almost all returned a day or two later. Here is a combination of what they had to say about the San Juan mountains. Too cold. Too much snow. Too much Postholing. Bad weather. Slow travel. Not carrying enough snow gear. Not carrying enough food, and lastly they just weren’t enjoying themselves.
One comment stood out, “I came here to thru hike not to thru mountaineer”.
Suffice to say I’m in for a bit of a challenge in coming days.
I’ve been dreaming and cursing my date with these mountains for a long time. They have humbled many an experienced hiker in the past. They have continued to do so this year. As I write this only one hiker has made it through the first section of the mountains, as far as I know. He broke his ankle. But there are several up there right now.
I’m about as prepared as I can be. I’m carrying extra gear over and above what I’ve carried up to this date. Here is a breakdown of my preparation. I’ve upgraded my footwear to a pair of waterproof Vasque Goretex boots. I’ll be carrying 5 pair of socks, I’ll be wearing 2 pair at anytime. A pair of gaiters. A pair of microspikes. A pair of snowshoes, I loaned these from a local in Chama, thanks Paul. I’ll be carrying 7 days of food for a section that I think will take 4 days. I’m leaving myself every opportunity to get through these mountains safely. My hiking buddies are equally ‘geared up’.
I mentioned that a CDT thru hiker died while hiking the trail last year. He died on the trail, we all hiked past the place he was found. On Friday night the community of Chama, the CDTC and us hikers got together and held a memorial. As per his request that he wrote in his diary it was a party at a local brewery. There were lots of hikers in town. The most hikers I’ve seen since Pie Town.
Tomorrow we head off into the mountains. We will try to get through.