Total Miles: 737.8
The older I get, the faster time passes. As a kid, summers felt like they would last forever, each day stretching to its maximum, time expanding as if exposing a flaw in Einstein’s theory of relativity. I miss that feeling—the feeling of infinite time. A never ending summer.
As it is, time seems only to have a foot on the accelerator, incrementally applying more force with each passing year, a brake pedal nowhere to be found. In one of the many hours available for mental wandering, that was the thought passing through my brain when I’d looked at my watch to realize that today was the last day of July. Somewhere along the way, I’d blinked and 6 weeks had come and gone.
Our circuitous traverse of the San Juans continued with yet more perfect weather, the sun as intense as ever above 12,000 feet despite the modest temperature. By mid-morning, we found ourselves immediately below The Window, a rock feature where a large rectangular section of the spine of the divide is missing, as though it had been removed for renovation. The size of it was what struck me—it’s massive. So much so that for the next 6 or 7 hours as the trail ushered us off to the east, we could look back and see it quite easily from numerous vantage points.
Although we did see 4 people, all of whom were out for multi-day backpacking trips, the trail was back to its usual CDT silence with few signs that anyone else had passed through recently. It’s hard not to wonder how much quieter the trail is this year with the coronavirus pandemic presumably having altered or scrapped so many thru-hiking plans.
At least once each day it seems, we descend off the highest elevations and today our bottom was a massive flat meadow at Weminuche Pass, a mile across and several miles in length. Meandering through it was a small creek only a few feet wide, snaking along through the grassy expanse. Behind us, we could see all the way into the heart of the mountains from which we’d come, with even a view of The Window for good measure.
What goes down must come up, or so it seems, and so the meadow was soon exchanged for the sky-scraping ridges and summits that have been the trademark of Colorado. Looking out across massive cirques and ridges, there was not a sign of people or of human impact in any direction, not even a neglected forest service road.
Aside from the view, perhaps the greatest reward of the wide open spaces at the top of each climb has been the absence of what has become a nuisance these past few days—thickets of stiff overgrown brush, both obscuring the trail and ensuring everyone will get there fair share of cuts and scrapes. I knew I should have packed my hedge trimmer.
Latitude/Longitude: 37.59995, -107.22058