John's CDT
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Back on the Trail Again

I slipped out of Shadow Cliff before most people were awake. For me it was
the perfect place to stay. It offered much more intimacy than a hotel, and
a chance to be around like-minded people.
I found THE place to have breakfast in Grand Lake: Chuck Hole Cafe (or
diner or something). The locals were there. I was way back in the
non-smoking section, but I heard somebody come in and say, "Hello girls!"
to the two middle-aged men cooking the breakfasts. Lovers? I think so.
The most amazing thing happened during and after breakfast. I got caught
up on my journal. It feels like such a relief. It also delayed me getting
out of town.

There's no sign of my crack from yesterday, which was, by the way, the
equinox. This morning leaving town I simply felt like I was ending a town
stop. I did pause at the place I got stuck yesterday to take photos the
same view with snow.

Yes, there was snow on the trail. The weight of the snow on the trees and
willows in the first section bent them low and across the trail. I'd grab
a bare branch, give it a tug that would release some snow, and let the
obstacle spring back to its more normal posture. At first, it was fun,
then it got tedious. Luckily I didn't have to do it too many times.
Not a drop of rain fell today. It was all snow, which was great. Snow,
today's I think is called corn snow, bounces right off. I didn't get wet
and was able to wear my breathable windshirt all day. No clammy rain
jacket. I had my new Marmot Precip pants on. They were just right for
the snow. They are what I needed to continue in this weather.
I walked along the tiny Colorado River today, and I made my way along the
length of two lakes today, both the puddles left behind from the glaciers
that created them and the moraines that define the landscape around them.
There's as set of islands that look like arcing terminal moraines.

My short lunch was rushed toward the end by the first snow shower of the
day. Gritty, pebbly snow fell for at least an hour, leaving its coarse
texture on top of the powdery snow on the ground.

Monarch Lake (CO11) is really a resevoir. The trail crosses the dam and
I decided to make the miles today, which meant I had to get a big climb
done by the end of the day. I got into the spot Wolf notes as having
camping spots just as dusk was ending. The only snow-free flat, level
spot was under a giant tree and on the trail. I started putting up my
tent as darkness and more snow started to fall. I bear-hung my food.

I'm wondering if my toes will get warm before I go to sleep. They were
never this cold at any point duirng the day, but the transition from wet
socks to sleeping bag got them pretty cold.
I'm glad I decided to keep on hiking. I like it out here.

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