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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 July 18 Through the Gateway to the High Country

Leaving town after a leisurely breakfast, we had not even walked to the end of town when our waitress from the other night, Cindy, saw us, turned around to pick us up and decided to take a drive to Cumbres pass to drop us off!

At the pass there was a confusion of train development and man-made changes to the landscape, but no clear path to the trail. We found the trail head after some poking around and a sign which indicated that the trail (further up) was closed and a detour route would be marked in white. So we started off keeping eyes open for changes to the route.

A couple miles up we encountered a crew of 6 or 7 mountain bikers hauling equipment and returning from doing some trail maintenance. We learned that the detour, obviously not well marked, began back at the pass. Too far along to turn around, we forged ahead deterined to bushwhack through or around as needed.

About five miles in, after signs warning of dangerous trail conditions we came across the remnants of a very sloppy logging job done a year or so earlier. Downed trees left to lie where fallen and damaged soil, burned remnants, and some early, pioneering, shrubby regrowth completely obscurred the trail. A partially marked border with the Tierra Amarillo land grant helped guide a direction through the mile long mess. Dead reckoning to reach a prominant ridge set us a solid, if difficult, course. Very slow going, but we made it through.

We are at the “gateway” to the Colorado high country, our first 12,000 foot Peak which we clamber over. Confirming our entry we come across bear scat (mostly missing from new Mexico’s northern mountain plateaus).

Wildflowers are in full summer display, many kinds, colors, sizes, shapes. Elk roam the rolling hills and plateaus marking the high country, as do cows. On the plateaus the scenery is stunning with deep canyons just off the rim and jagged peaks rising up across the valleys! We are left gasping for our breaths, not just because of the compelling beauty, but also because we are, for the first time since leaving the mexican border that we rise above tree line and that we rise above 12,000 feet.

The surprising delight of the day is a porcupine, who, startled by our presence climbs a gnarly, stunted sub alpine fir growing on the fringes of tree line on our rolling, and mostly tree barren, 12,000 foot plateau.

We walked in the midst of the normal afternoon thunderstorms, getting rained on several times and pelted with hail the size of large peas a couple of times. Each storm cell passes, but we are delayed a couple times, avoiding walking the highest ridges during possible lightning.

We drop into a shallow basin area and camp near some stagnant ponds at about 11,700 feet. It’s our highest camp yet, even higher than any point we have walked upon in NM, ID, or MT.

The evening cools quickly and we busy ourselves making dinner and diving into the warm sleeping bag.

12 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

CDT2010_TheTrailCDT20101_NMWCWMCDT2010_NMWC-1Cliff Dwelling SignCarrot PausesHiker TanCarrot Stream Crossing # 2,115Carrot takes a PhotoCarrot on the TrailCarrot Stream Crossing #5.875Carrot takes a Trail BathCarrot on the Trail still

Scenic Shots

CDT2010_yellowflowersCDT2010-valleyCliff Dwelling Carrot on the Trail 3ScenicPotty BreakScenicStream Distant HillsCactus & HillsPrickly PearJeep Road

Flora & Fauna

CDT2010_treesCDT2010_yellowflowersCDT2010-purpleflowersFloraButterfly 2BeaverFloraFlora 3Angry MarmotButterfly