DAY 43 Heading to Pagosa

26th May

The alarm went off at 4.45. I silenced it and rolled over really pleased with my new Rab sleeping bag.
The alarm went off again I snoozed it and decided I needed a wee but as soon as I was out of my sleeping bag I soon learnt how freezing cold it was. My tent was frozen the grass was frozen.
I shut up my tent switched off the alarm  and snuggled back into my sleeping bag.. far to early and cold to get up. 
The next alarm was 6 am that will do. I emerged out on my tent wearing my puffy  and thick gloves. But my fingers were still cold . I put on a brew and began taking down my tent the fly was icy so will be wet when I get it out.
Tent packed away I made hot chocolate and had instant oats which i made it too wet but it was still tasty.
6.30am and we were ready not a quick start. Okay hill i am ready  for you. It ws going to be a long steep climb luckily it had  plenty of switch backs.. Because of the cold morning I was still wearing my puffy a first for this trail. As I climbed I noticed several dear watching me  with their huge ears pointed towards me. They watched me for a while before bouncing off up the hill..
As I climbed there were several snow mounds to climb over and then it was back to the blow downs. These just suck my energy as you approach your thinking can I get over, is there a route around . Then once that’s done there is another. After about a dozen of these I stopped to remove my puffy as I was roasting.  As I rested two Aussies came  past, If they started this morning then they are  fast.

I kept climbing over the occasional blow down until I was at the top .
I exited from the trees and was in a wide open place and all the tress were blown down although there appeared a path cut through but there were still a few to climb.
I began to head down hill and before noticing the two Aussies taking a break. The trail began to climb through the downed trees, I was on the middle of climbing over a fairly difficult one when Blackout (Calvin) appeared .
He’s fast and was soon out of sight, I pushed on clambering over under and around 
The trail then exited out onto the side of the mountain with fantastic views. I pushed on but when i went around the next corner i was greeted by snow and i have to push through and fairly long stretches .
I gingerly chambered up and used the other peoples footprints to navigate through but it was still a bit sketchy and took concentration , great i thought until i came to the next one then another. The concentration was immense.
Once I was done with this I came to a large lava scree., luckily it was easy to walk on , I crossed about 4 of these until I needed a break. At the end of one of the screes was a stream so I decide to water up and take a break eat my apple that i had carried from town

I was just about to move off when shoes and Chameleon appeared, Ducky was somewhere behind 
When i began again they were high on the next mountain which was great as they were able to point out were I should be as the trail was hidden by snow. Okay my turn to climb and from Up here I could see Ducky and pointed to her where the trail was too..

Eventually I emerged onto a wide open plane although there was still snow to cross but you could see for miles and sat by a clump of trees was the team.

Ducky soon caught me and was gone, I pushed on climbing through or clambering over fallen trees. When I got to them I took a break also.  
They plan to go to the pond,  I would like to go further but I dont think its possible  for me with this terrain. The trail climbed and there were dozens of snow Bumps  to get over. Then the trail was clear again until omg I could see shoes and Chameleon in the middle of a very long and steep  snow shute . OMG OMG  I don’t like the look of that. I stopped at its edge and put on my micro spikes just as Ducky arrived. She too put on her spikes and marched out I began following but when I looked up she had vanished. Once across I took 5 mins and  removed my spikes.

I packed up and set off after them and soon caught Ducky as she was resting.  
I pushed on up  the trail climbing snow bumps or traversing them after the last one I exited on a large meadow but once I left the shelter of the trees the wind blew and I was cold having taken off a layer earlier . FUCK .

The wind was merciless as I crossed over several meadows but pushed on until i arrived at a very large hill. I decided I would walk around it, as I walked the ground became a bog so it was a challenge to keep my feet  dry. As I rounded this huge snow field I could see the gang sat together sheltered from the wind
When I reached them I dropped my pack and laid down ,as it was sheltered  from the wind in fact it was lovely and  hot. After I had filtered water I set deciding to climb and  meet the trail. 

Once up the wind had dropped and It was snowless whoop. I began to head down with amazing views all around. I pushed on checking my apps yes i’m on trail. But the next minute I was off trail. weird i cut across heading where I think the trail should be and soon began to see the huge cairns.
I hiked on the trail becoming wetter and boggy, due  to all the melt stream runoff.
The two Aussies then passed me and so I began to follow them but as we descended we ran into more snow and was fairly difficult to cross. phew this is exhausting. 
But I am loving  the trail.
In the distance I could see several  ponds, I watched the Aussies stop  for water so i grabbed  another Litre  just in case. 
I set off after them crossing several more snow fields , and wow so beautiful. I followed them keeping them in view until I lost them on another snow chute. I climbed over too  but I was soon off trail fuck no!!
It took me a while to  find it again, The top was fairly  level and now the game was try to keep your feet dry haha. I was beginning to feel exhausted and would love to put up my tent ,but it is far too early…sob
I pushed on jumping the streams and boggy bits until at last the trail began to head down but the downs were covered in snow and steep so slowly I went.
The melt water always takes the easiest  path and that’s normally the trail , so its such fun climbing down whilst trying to keep your feet dry. At last I’m at the bottom. okay about a mile to go.
I just about to scramble over a tree when 4 other hikers appeared. 2 I knew. as I moved on anther hiker  behind my said HI Snailtrainer it was Yonny
We hiked on for about  10 minutes and then we were at the pond my destination  for the day.
I know my mileage is poor but that’s due to the sketchy snow and bloody  blow downs. 
I dropped my pack  and got out my tent. I lay the  fly sheet down  to dry as it was wet from condensation  this morning .

I then set up camp and ate supper. I’m so   tired

Mileage 12  a tough day. 

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