CDT Day 44: Simpson Creek to Deadman Lake – Tough Spuds Camp to Mud Boots Camp
Miles hiked: 26.3
Total miles: 709.3
Another 4:30am alarm call, another tough, but rewarding day of following the Continental Divide. Sunrise hiking is something that I think I can get used to.
The morning was cool even though we started low in the valley, surrounded by sage. A warm breeze, or elephant fart as SpiceRack called it, brought the rich scent of sage and foreshadowed the heat from the rising sun. Fortunately, by the time the day was in full swing, we were hiking up high again on a ridge of grassy sPUDs.
My favorite part of the day commenced when the trail disappeared. There really is no need for a trail in such wide open terrain, so after following some game trails in error, my brain finally made the switch to leave the trail behind. Time to follow my own path. Spice and I could see our general route, wandering along the Divide for miles into the distance. A few wooden posts and metal border markers kept us honest.
After reaching a high point, we pieced together an alternate route across the face of some big mountain whose name I can’t remember, then dodge lightning and rain off and on for the remainder of the day.
Back to dirt roads through the valley, then an ill-advised final four miles up and down to Deadman Lake and camp. Spice danced the whole way down the steep road while I did my best to save my knees by falling with style. Our shoes were pounds heavier, sticky mud filling the tread, rendering the fancy schmancy lug patterns useless.
The best camp spot was taken, but we did just fine on a protected perch above the lake. It was a long day, but it was worth the effort. It felt like an adventure, which is just fine by me.