Tuesday 10 May 2022

An old photo brings back memories of a tough day on the Continental Divide Trail in 1985

Sorting out some papers the other day I came on this print which long ago must have somehow become separated from related photos. I wasn't sure where it was taken but luckily I had written on the back "Camp in the Never Summer Range, Rocky Mountains, Colorado, Continental Divide Trail". The words brought memories flooding back. It was the first snow of a very early winter in 1985 that would result in my taking a lower route in the southern half of the State and then returning in 2019 to walk the high level section. 

The photo was taken on September 8, 1985, after a stormy day and night. From my journal written in the tent on the 7th: "Rain turned to hail ... hail turned to snow ... I found a staff* ... inches of snow on the ground now & my feet soaked and frozen - I must get some boots - but grip good** .... a real winter trek - up featureless slopes in driving snow & wind & thick mist. Entered Never Summer Wilderness at one point, how appropriate. Climbed to 12, 126 feet on Farview Mountain then turned off down to col - no far view today. Reached 11,900 foot Farview Pass - cleared snow off sign to see where I was - & descended to Parika Lake where I'm camped by some stunted spruce at 11.300 feet. Quite an epic getting tent up and keeping inside moderately dry ... Lessons from today - I need some boots & an ice axe & possibly gaiters plus maybe a thermal shirt & long johns.*** This will probably happen again. Anyway, time to cook a big hot curry!"

The day I took the photo the weather improved and I had a magnificent walk with the landscape looking spectacular in the snow.

I do like coming on old photos by surprise!

*This was before trekking poles. The staff is holding up my pack in the photo,

** I was hiking in New Balance running shoes. The weather had been dry and warm for many weeks. Two days later I bought some leather boots.

*** The little outdoor store where I bought the boots didn't have thernals, gaiters, or an ice axe. "It's still summer!". I wouldn't get those items for another three weeks.

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