Dyer and Riches: CDT Thru-Hikers

Never Summer Wilderness

July 14, 2000—Day 74, 1220 Miles—Buffalo Pass, Colorado— After high James and Parry Peaks during the last section, it is technically downhill all the way to Canada now, but as we melted snow for our evening meal high in the Never Summer Wilderness, we didn't feel we were out of the mountains quite yet.

Surely our last test in Colorado came as we laboured over twelve-and-a-half-thousand-foot Parkview mountain on the steepest trail we have encountered so far. At the summit it was satisfying to see rows of high peaks behing us and the great plains of Wyoming stretching northward. Descending from the peak we disturbed a huge herd of 60 or so elk and watched dumbfounded as they thundered away, screaming and bugling into the setting sun.

Descending towards Rabbit Ears Pass, we were surprised to find ourselves back among sagebrush and dust. The country has started to grow dry and less rugged and "Sweet Wyoming Home" has replaced John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High" as the trail song of choice as we near the state line.

Steamboat Springs has proved to be the most hospitable town in Colorado. We were treated to a huge pasta dinner and our first wine in three months by Tiling King and outdoorsman Mike Besser and crashed at a millionaire's pad courtesy of caretaker extraordinaire Chris Martin. We also ran into our arch-rivals Adrianne and Sarah, who craftily plied us with cake and liquor before skipping ahead on the trail once again.

Tired of sleeping with our heels on the hard ground, we have also discarded our -length Thermarests and are testing newly designed full length sleeping pads provided by an enthusiastic local company, "Big Agnes Mountain Works." On the subject of gear, Darryl also had to replace a broken hip belt. He was lucky enough to find a local company, BAP, who were able to custom sew a new belt to his pack.

Check out Simon and Darryl's reflections on New Mexico.


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