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 31 – First Fall Colors

Winds whipped the tent around and a few raindrops fell last night. Storm clouds clung to the divide’s nearby peaks, the strong wind piling them up at first rather than blowing them away. Cooler morning temps kept us bundled up as we walked until late in the day. Eventually the clouds moved on with the wind.

The leaves of Fireweed, Oregon Grape, and a few other harbingers of autumn, are beginning to turn red, our first fall colors – autumn has arrived. A few summer colors are lingering, the occasional Showy Fleabane, Tall Larkspur and Aster, along with a few others are hanging in there. Mountain Ash, bending over with berries, but still holding onto bright green leaves offer a nice contrast. But it is the first fall colors which capture our attention and focus our imagination on fall.

A stand replacing fire burned through much of this area in 2003. Thick understory new growth, and some tree regeneration obscures the trail in many places. We stopped many times to look for faint tread, old blazes or other clues and often ended up just following a previous “line” hoping to find something. Somtimes that worked, sometimes we just wandered around more before stumbling onto trail.

In long distance hiking, some days just do not go as planned, especially on the CDT. After lunch we continued through overgrown meadows. The trail completely disappeared on one ridge. We bushwhacked around for awhile, then we sat down and used the guidebook, map, compass, GPS and took a best guess. With a solid front of storm clouds laden with rain off in the distance, but headed our way, we were anxious to get off the ridge and back on clear trail. Setting off on a likely contour, we came across faint tread, but it did not seem to connect in either direction. In hindsight, I think we were on an old abandoned stretch of the CDT, used prior to a re-route that was completed a number of years ago. We folllowed it as best we could and ended up on game trails well above where the actual CDT was likely to be. Again stopping to assess the situation and come up with a game plan, we determined we were about 200 feet above the trail and headed down a broad slope in unburned green woods, figuring we should find good trail tread below us. After a few more game trails we found the CDT. None too soon. We had lost at least an hour on our detour, maybe more, and the temp was dropping fast as the storm front’s squall line got closer.

We stopped at an unexpected creek, for a short snack break and to get water so we would be fully stocked if we could not reach our destination goal and had to camp short. It proved to be a fortuitous decision.

About 10 minutes later rain started and it looked like we were in for a good solid soaking. We decide it would be prudent to make an early camp. There was an ideal spot at hand and we took it to get the tent set up and stay dry. By 6:40 we were settled inside the tent listening to the rhythm of steady raindrops. Surprisingly, but fortunately, the rain didn’t last too long and we could cook.

Delayed by weather, we missed the miles we wanted to make, so we’ll have to have a big day tomorrow to make up for it. Sometimes the day just does not go as planned. Today was one of those days.

12.4 miles

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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