We are currently on another long distance hike, and the third leg of our "triple crown", the Continental Divide Trail (the "CDT"). Come along with us if you can - if not in person then by following our grand adventure via our "posts from the trail".  Check out our Flickr Photos, which we'll update periodically, and see it through our eyes!

Our Credo...

"Success: To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!" ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Journal Aug 17 – Carpets of Wildflowers

We decided to stay on the trail rather than pursue the cross country route to Lena lake. The trail soon dropped by Lower Slag-a-Melt lake, where a large group is camped. They have tons of gear strewn about, tarps erected over tents, lawn chairs and more. They hauled it all in on ATVs. The CDT follows an OHV trail for about a mile which provides these machines acces to the lower lake. It’s tough walking in their ruts and churned up dirt.

Back on trail tread towards Lena Lake and my right leg starts to “twinge”. It’s a sporadic, but quick, sharp pain on the inside of the knee, which I feel when I lift my leg, and it reoccurs several times in the next couple miles. It seems to go away after the next break.

Descending from Lena lake the trail crosses Big Swamp Rd. The guidebook and maps follow the road to the right a short ways. New trail is a few feet to the left, out of sight and unmarked. It takes us a good half hour to 45 minutes to sort out the confusion and start back up the long switchbacks.

The basin above Little Joe Lake is filled with creeks, meadows and wildlflowers. Purple Lupine, Red Monkeyfower and Yellow Groundsell, occasionally punctuated by red Indian Paintbrush grow thickly and form a mosaic intense colors with green edges. Jagged Peaks rise on all sides.

On the other side we drop into a basin dominated by a vast field of boulders and gravel. There is nothing growing, no “green” of any kind. It looks like a lava flow, except the rocks are granite. Eventually the rippled patterns reveal old morraines, both terminal and lateral. But whatever glacier moved these rocks around has long been gone. A small snowpack at the head of the boulder field is all that remains.

We climb to Little Lake with Homer Young’s Peak rising like a pyramid above. Circling around and above the lake, we come across more carpets of wildlflowers. They fill the gullys, where small creeks flow, so completely that the water is hidden and the plants appear to be cascading down the basin. Instead of water spraying white off the rocks, there are splashes of purple, red and yellow.

These basins and peaks are one of the most exceptional areas that no one has ever heard of. This area belongs in a national park or wilderness area. It deserves the protection they would provide, so that others may enjoy the beauty we experienced today.

We endure the long, knee jarring descent past Rock Lakes and onto Miner Creek. We have 4 miles and a 1,200 foot climb to the next likely campsite. We would probably have to push past dark, so we choose to make an early camp instead.

Miles 13.6

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Clicking on any of these photos will take you to that specific photo on our Flickr Stream, where you can view these and many, many more photos from our latest adventure....or use this shortcut to all photos.....we hope you enjoy them!

People Shots

CDT20101_NMWCWMCDT2010_TheTrailCDT2010_NMWC-1Carrot After a Trail BathCarrot Stream Crossing #3,768Carrot on the Trail stillCarrot takes a Trail BathCarrot Stream Crossing #5.875Carrot on the TrailCliff Dwelling SignCarrot takes a PhotoCarrot Stream Crossing # 2,115

Scenic Shots

CDT2010-valleyCDT2010_yellowflowersCarrot on the Trail 3ScenicPotty BreakScenicCliff Dwelling Stream Vast DesertPrickly Pear 2Prickly PearPlateau at Sunset

Flora & Fauna

CDT2010_treesCDT2010_yellowflowersCDT2010-purpleflowersAngry MarmotFlora 3FloraBeaverButterfly 2FloraButterfly