Date: 9/12/2

Daily Miles : 23

Total Miles: 1422

The hunters were out early today. We could hear a quad around 5:30am. Since it was completely silent in the woods, it felt like we could hear the quad for so long.

It had been another really cold night, and we started with almost all of our clothes on again this morning. But we were excited to wake up to blue skies and know that the weather had changed for the better.

The mud on the dirt roads we walked this morning was frozen, which made the walking easier than yesterday. We came upon a herd of sheep and their guard dog crossing the trail, so we decided to give them a wide berth in order to avoid any altercation with the sheep dog (we have heard stories of aggressive sheep dogs from other hikers). We ended up climbing up the side of the hill to stay clear of the sheep. We finally had to come down in order to cross a bridge, and that was when we realized that the sheep were spread out over a mile, at least. It seems that the important thing was that we avoid getting close to the dog…and apparently he didn’t care about the stragglers.

In the late morning, we left the CDT to start in on an alternate that we had found to get into Steamboat Springs. Since there is currently a fire north of Steamboat which has closed ten miles of the CDT, we found another route which takes a combination of trails and forest roads.

The alternate started with a nice dirt road which led to a nice trail. The trail was only open for two miles at most before it hit the fire closure area, but still we saw a surprising number of people on the trail. For the last mile and a half of the trail, we were led by three cows who wouldn’t get off the trail, and instead walked in front of us the whole way to the trailhead. It was comical and ridiculous at the same time.

The rest of the day was spent on forest roads. We continued to pass a lot of hunters on the road and a lot of hunter camps. At the end of the day, we talked with a few guys at one camp and it turns out they are from Wisconsin…the same town where Beardoh went to college. Crazy. They were nice enough to give us some water, since several of the sources on our map that we had been counting on were dry. It was a big help.

We walked by another camp where they had shot an elk today. They were hanging up bags of meat in a way that we thought seemed odd. The bags they were hanging seemed quite low (about chest high for Beardoh) and totally within reach of a bear. Maybe they had some system we didn’t understand.

We made it to camp around 7:00pm. We have noticed lately how it seems to be getting darker earlier. Today it seemed like we needed our headlamps by 7:45pm. Given the early darkness and the fact that we saw some aspens turning yellow today, it definitely gives the feeling that fall is coming soon.

Plotting our own course around the fire closure
Plotting our own course around the fire closure

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