CDT Day 49: Coon Creek to Taylor Mountain saddle – Owl Dinner Camp to Sunset Teton Camp
Miles hiked: 25
Total miles: 804.3
The 4:45am alarm actually woke me up this morning. That didn’t mean I jumped up, ready to hike, however. I lay, wrapped warm in my quilt, watching shooting stars in the pre-dawn sky. It was a pretty warm morning, but damn, it can be hard to get going sometimes.
SpiceRack and I were hiking by 6am, our earliest start in a long while. It was perfect hiking weather in the shade of the large mountain ahead as we passed through meadows of wild flowers a week past their prime. It was an unwanted reminder to me of the passing summer, of the pressure to get through Colorado before the first strike of winter. More shady walking through burned pine and by some nasty lakes. By the time the sun finally hit us at our first water break five miles in, I was ready for the warmth, ready for the day.
The mean dogs we’d been warned about thought we were too smelly to show their faces. That was good. Then we left the shady area of dead things for a wonderful, healthy forest, reminiscent of many Sierra ramblings. I froze my feet off in Ching Creek, then made a mad dash two miles to a trailhead privy after drinking one of Spice’s potent coffee beverages.
We took a long lunch after entering into a sheep experimental zone. A sign explained what that meant, but I’ll leave you hanging just because — it’s not worth looking up, trust me. Spice left me behind to chase cows. I followed with five liters of water for the 18 mile dry stretch to the next source.
Hot climbing through exposed meadow. No sheep, no experiment spotted. The mosquitos came back inexplicably with a vengeance after their extended hiatus. Terrible bugs in the longest dry stretch of trail so far? Huh. I sweated out my precious water on a long climb, chased relentlessly by the tiny blood suckers.
We made it to the top then contoured along the ridge above 9,500ft. Views extended far back to the last section and deep south across the flat Snake River Basin. The Tetons, of course, ruled the horizon as the sun poked through smeared cloud, flipping from silhouette to featured range with the changing light.
Camped up on a saddle, Montana down a 3,000ft cliff to the north, Idaho still to the south. Fix a zipper, eat a dinner. Awesome sunset. That’s it and that’s all.