Far Reaching Meadows – Part 2
Stretching our legs we shouldered our packs each with six full days of food and half a cheeseburger, a left over lunch bonus from the drive. Overhead, sounds of bowling balls being dropped on a wooden floor echoed as the clouds grew heavier and more ill-omened. At the end of the parking lot stuck a post noting the direction of our travel and we headed that way with a spring in our step. Finally, a few days away with no concerns with exception of, “What shall we eat for dinner?”
My fingers were white, cold and pliable. Each push of the shutter button resulted in multiple photos of one shot in rapid succession. The bulk of the storm had passed overhead; the menacing gray clouds no longer chased us with threats of sleet and ice. The last spruce tree, just shy of the tip top of the mesa, nurtured us through the 45-minute wait where extra layers and rain gear stayed relatively dry. Regardless, sweat accumulated from the uphill climb came too close to the abrupt stop hence, the chilled feel reaching from toe to top of head.
Our ten mile route hiked us along timeworn stock driveways, aging jeep roads and faint wear noted with rock cairns and posts. Gradually roaming uphill, Red Mountain, Redcloud and Sunshine Peaks hung on our right shoulders before we darted into the forest for what would be the last time for nearly 60-miles.
A little creek released droplet drips from the soiled bank. An array of moss, purple flowers and marshy grasses fabricated a pool that would act as the headwaters for the unnamed creek. Surrounding was the tinted brown skunk cabbage; a reminder that coolness is in the air.
To the east a rainbow appeared. First to the right of our water source and over several minutes illuminating into a full arc that stretched miles in either direction. I couldn’t help but wonder which direction to run for the pot of gold and just as quickly was reminded of the grandeur to which I was standing to witness.
As the rainbow faded we settled in a small patch of trees with a well situated tree for bear bagging (the one and only time we were able to hang food). The blue bells shimmered with water spots as the wind gently rushed over the gulch and a hint of the moon could be seen revealing itself between two branches. Soupy macaroni and cheese warmed our bellies as we finished the last of the leftover cheeseburger.
Overhead an owl hooted … it was time for bed … tomorrow will be an above treeline day!
Together, Boone and I have over 30,000-miles of backpacking experience. We made a conscious decision to hike over 20-miles per day to reach our goal for this particular hike. We would not recommend you do the same but instead that you take the time to enjoy the grandeur of the divide.
Our route followed the Colorado Trail and Continental Divide Trail beginning at Spring Creek Pass and coincided with the guidebooks related to both trails.
If you would like more specific information pertaining to the planning details of this particular hike please contact Stacy at firstname.lastname@example.org.