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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

Buena Vista – an Understatement

After nine days on the trail we are enjoying our first zero day at the home of our friends William and Colleen who run the Los Manos Bed and Breakfast out of their home in Buena Vista (lovely place – beautiful straw bale house totally off the grid, amazing mountain views and a B and B friendly resident feline).

“Buena” or “good” to you gringos does not even begin to describe the views (vista) from the town or the nearby Continental Divide.  Most definitely an understatement. But, then again I think that words, and even photos, fail to adequately portray the sublime alpine scenery. From micro scale: Moss Campion, Stone Crop and other fragile flowers: to the Macro Scale: swirling thunderheads forming over towering peaks – the trail has taken us to many magical and wondrous places.

The start of our hike at 11,000 foot Spring Creek Pass (where we let off a year ago) was sudden immersion into rarefied (or simply rare) air. The first two miles were straight uphill to a 12,500 foot mesa. We were gasping in both air and views as we walked. As nice as it’s been to be back in the “saddle” and ridge-tops the trail has only dipped below 10,000 foot once or twice so we’ve been sucking air with every step. Can someone in Sandpoint suggest to Dr Bird that there would be a market for a thru-hiker specific respirator?

It is great to be out enjoying the simple pleasures of trail life again. Walk, eat, sleep…and repeat…(Ok, maybe we could do with out so many cows and/or mosquitoes.)

The weather has been typical summer Colorado mountain weather. Most days start out sunny but mid-day brings a buildup of threatening dark clouds that we watch carefully to try to predict if the storm is moving our way. We have been mostly lucky with just a few brief showers during the day and only one night of steady rain. Our delays in hiking over passes and ridges has been minimal. The ominous clouds certainly add drama to our photos.

We saw many hikers for the first 7 days, folks doing all or a part of the Colorado Trail (480 mile long trail from Denver to Durango). They were all hiking south. The Colorado Trail guide is written in that direction. Until we reached a point just south of Monarch Pass the CDT and the Colorado Trail were one and the same; then the two split and we are now on just the CDT for while.  The trail has been very quiet and we are enjoying solitude.

We have had some wonderful trail magic in this first week.  A cooler full of sodas near the crossing Highway 114 was a nice treat and later that day, at Lujan Pass, we arrived at Trail Angel “Apple”‘s camp. He has set up a canopy with chairs coolers of beer and soda and lots of sugary and salty snacks for hikers. He is spending two months there greeting all the hikers who pass through – what a nice and generous man! We enjoyed the hospitality so much that after consuming several hot dogs and beers we decided to hike no further that day.

We are right on schedule so far with our longest day so far being about 17 miles.

Carrot’s critter count so far:  bighorn sheep, mule deer, antelope, marmots, pika,
snowshoe hare, one coyote, two mice (seen on the trail but they were not after our food bags) and lots of birds.  We have heard elk whistling, and smelled them in the willows as they lay deep in their day beds, but not seen them.

A few numbers:

1. Number of hot dogs consumed by Carrot in the first week of the trail: 3.5

2. Number of mountain bikers encountered in the 8 or so miles leading up to Monarch Pass: 96!!!

3. Number of pack llamas seen on the trail: 3

4. Miles done: 120

5. Miles to go: 730

6. Blisters: 5

7. Elevation Gain – do not want to think about it.

8. Beaver Dams: enough to hold back more water than Hoover Dam.

Well time to go do chores: laundry, food shopping, pack and foot repair, battery charging, leg re-charging, beer drinking, food eating and enjoying the rest of our day off here in BV! Back on the CDT tomorrow, the full moon beckoning.

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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