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CDT Day 99 Hiking the Cirque of the Towers

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25th July

20.7 miles

Larson Creek (1571.5) to Shadow Lake (1592.2)

Have you ever heard of Cirque of the Towers hiking trail? Ever heard of the Wind River Range? It’s one of North Americas best kept secret. So don’t tell anyone.

The approach to Cirque of the Towers is on an alternate section of the CDT. Not every thru hiker comes here. What a shame to miss it.

I steadily climbed up a granite valley reminiscent of the Sierra in California. I crossed the first unnamed pass around midday. It was above 10000 feet. Earlier I lingered in the valley enjoying the abundant wildflowers.

I continued down I nice valley. I was careful not to stare at the humanoid taking a dump only metres from the trail. Maybe go a bit further into the bushes next time. Further than right next to the trail. When I reached the valley floor it was hiker central. No thru hikers. The 100 litre packs loaded with goodness knows what gave them away. My light pack was the centre of attention which is funny because this is the heaviest it’s been all trip. I’m still carrying well over a weeks worth of food. Hopefully one or two hikers lighten their loads for their next hike.

I climbed to the next pass. Jackass Pass. This pass guarded the entrance to the southern section of the Cirque of the towers. Imagine sheer granite rock faces forming a spectacular amphitheater. With a couple of clear lake for good measure. That’s Cirque of the Towers. Put it on your hiking ‘to do list’.

It was getting late. A combination of the altitude and all the passes were wearing me out. I considered camping at Lonesome Lake but it was prohibited. I had Texas Pass in from of me. At over 11000ft I was unsure if I had the energy to make it. I started up. Plenty of flat areas so I figured if I couldn’t be bothered making any more miles I’d just camp part way up. At the least the view from the tent would be world class.

Eventually I make it to the top. My legs were shaking. I felt weak. I’d burned through all my energy reserves. I bonked. I needed sugar fast. Several boiled lollies were shoved in my mouth till the sugar dissolved. In a matter of minutes I felt better. Just as well. The descent from Texas Pass was the steepest of the whole trail to date. I would not like to be coming up it. That’s what I told some hikers camped at the bottom. Sorry.

I set up camp and took stock of my heavy food reserves. I found my heavy dried mangos at the bottom of my food bag. It’s heavy dried mangos fit snacks tomorrow.

The mosquitos were hungry. I feed them by hand and by leg but still they wanted more. Deet made them lose their appetite. I ate and crawled into my tent to write this blog post. Then, it rained. Still I have no idea where it came from. It was clear skies above me only minutes earlier. I put on the rain fly then I started counting sheep….

Cirque of the Towers
The classic Mountain scenery of Cirque of the Towers
Lake near Cirque of the Towers
Mountain flowers near Cirque of towers
The approach trail to Cirque of the Towers
Cirque of the towers
Lone flower on the Cirque of the Towers hiking trail
mountain scenery in cirque of the towers
cirque of the towers
mountain flowers
cirque of the towers summer flowers
stream
The valley on the way to Cirque of the Towers
Approach to Cirque of the Towers
Cirque of the Towers
Cirque of the Towers Hiking Trail
Lake at the bottom of the Cirque of the Towers
The lake on the other side of the Cirque of the Towers Hike
Lake at Cirque of the Towers Hike
Hiking out of the Cirque of the Towers

Next – Day 100 I’m Exhausted, Sick or Both 

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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14 thoughts on “CDT Day 99 Hiking the Cirque of the Towers”

    • The foot is better, but I’m not out of trouble yet. I stretch often and massage myself everyday. So far so good

      Reply
  1. I think these might be my favorite photos yet! Just beautiful. Though the sunsets post was awesome! Keep stretching!

    Reply
  2. Simply spectacular. I am really envious of your trek – and I’ve been following you since you were in the desert on the PCT.

    Reply
  3. Sorry I didn’t get the chance to meet up with you…events with my neighbor, and keeping an eye on my property, unfortunately had to take priority due to past incidences. Looks like you are enjoying this gorgeous state I call home…but you’re right…shhhhh!!!

    Reply
    • No probs, hope all is well. I’m part way through the winds on route to Yellowstone. But the fires are brutal at the moment

      Reply

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