11.6. Creede is a little mining town, with about 300 permanent residents, 3000 in summer and 10.000 at July 4th. It stretches the entire valley of 10 miles. The pellets have an interesting effect on our horses. In the morning Chreokee takes off running and wont be caught by any means, Guarini following, but soon tired he can be caugth. Luckily the others where tied, so we only had to deal with one horse. The horses are finally saddled and we ride up the road passed the privat residences and I remember the night before a driver in a truck had told me of a campground just a couple miles up the road. Well a couple miles here actually is like an hour ride on a horse and its about 5 km. We passed the campground and came to the first signs of civilization like mail boxes and mobile homes, and suddenly Guarini had the idea, he hat not to passe them, cause the could attack him. For the next halfe an hour I was constantly telling him, to get passed, things he had passed a million times before. It must be the pellets, that are haunting him. We get to the info center and ask about where we could leave the horses, but the lady ever so willing and nice, does not come up with an usable information. We learn form the real estate broker, that no horses are permitted to stay within the city limits and about 3 hours later we find ourself again south of the city, at the Rio Grande, where Ray, a Guy from town showed us, we could have our horses for the night. I organized some hay for the horses and we camped at the river, when a friend of Antonio, who is to replace Mark came by and asked if we needed help. We declined and asked if he could pick us up next morning 11 am, to the place Antonio had referred to. At ten my Wife Kathy came to bring supplies and at 12 we where expecting Keeyle. We all met and drove down to the place Justin had brought the horses. There are a couple of cabins, and we where able to rent one. Dinner at the stake house was excellent.
10.6. The Lake is beautifully embeded in a small valley and snow is still on the edges of the lake. As we decend it becomes difficult cause of all the beetle wood downfall we encounter. On the small trail it is difficult to walk around the fallen trees, so a couple of time we have to cut our way through. Hard work with just a small hand saw. It was about 120 trees till we hit the bottom of the valley and could ride again. And the 8 mls took more than 4 hours to manage. We reach the Rio Grande about 15 km before Creede and camp right there at the river.
9.6. The horses are not excited about the new energy pellets we have for them. But they eat it up. The Trail takes us above the timberline again and we find the Creed Cutoff after we passe a couple of lakes. We meet a fisherman who predicts that I will not be safe walking in the snow with my boots, without crampons and icepic. And at all costs I should not try to go to the knife edge, cause horses could not get through there. Ok, its still a long distance till there, so I don’t worry about it know. The trail zigzags up the mountain and we cross a couple of passes. The highest one being on 3930 m or 12900 feet. From there we hit the Ivy Creek trail and decent to Goos Lake where we camp for the night. Knifes Edge is still 8 mils further to the west. We wont get there... the Trail will be closed in two days.
Pass auf 3930 m Höhe
Goose Lake our Campsite
8.6. Again Kristie our personal Hero, of the BCHM, has organized a trailer for us to take us up to Wolf creek pass, where we say by to Nancy and Kristie, mounting our horses to lead them up the CDT Trail at 1 pm. The trail takes us straight up to the tree line and there is only very little snow. We hike along the trail, just having to walk around a couple of snow fields. The landscape is breathtaking and we enjoy the solitude of the trail. At 4.30 we find a good place to camp at a big medow with wonderful grass for the horses.
7.6. John picks us up for breakfast in the morning and take3s us to the saddlery, so we can get our stuff repaired and replaced. In the afternoon we go see Parellis place and miss Pat just by a couple of minutes. Jürgen and Anita take us into town and to their place in the mountains, (an incredeable place) and later on we all gather at “the buck stops here” a Steak house, where we taste honeyed bacon.
6.6. We follow the East Fork river and it is a beautiful valley. We run into an old cabin at the right hand side and see people coming down to the fence. It is Mimi, the owner who lives in CA, just coming out here for summer time. She lets her use her phone, so I can call Kristie from the BCHM again and she organizes without hesitation a trailer and truck to take us into Pagosa a little while later. We meet John and his Wife 7 mls east of Hwy 160. We load up and drive to Kristies Place where we can put the horses on her field and we get to sleep in her 1 mill. Dollar Trailer, (at least that is, what it felt like inside).
5.6. We ride up to Summit pass and to Elkwood pass. The trail is covered with fallen beetle trees, (we where told 80% of the forest in the area was affected) and so we decided to follow the atv trail, with the Garmin showing me a way to return to the cdt later on. On the trail we run into 4 guys from Pagosa Springs who where all exited, about our journey and one of them tells us we must go see Pat Parellis place in Pagosa. Jürgen lives there and also Kristie and when it turns out that the trail indicated on the Garmin is just some mystical Stock Trail, that is impossible for horses, the decision is made, to go to Pagosa. When the east Fork River enters a wider Valey we camp at a former Campsite and sleep under birchtreees. The horses are fenced up at the grasfield just behind us, and at night an elk shows up, frustrated at not being able to grase on his field.
We where invited by the Texan neighbours at the camp and where served beer and venison that the 8 year old boy had shot earler in the spring.. Great food and great time shearing stories with the Family of 8 that had brought their 4 wheeler up, to go fishing. We repaired taers in our food boxes, in my roll and worked on the blog all day till after lunch Kristy and her friend arrived. We sat down with them and she insisted on not getting payed for the delivery. I convinced her to at least buy her lunch and after that we went to business shooing Guarini, who was holding still without problem. Thet weather seems to have cleared up and the horses are happy at the fenced in area.
3.6. In the evening an NZ Hiker of the trail, passed by and told us about the weather forcast for the next day be 80 % change of heavy sunderstorms and snow and hailshowers. Well when we got up after an suprisingly warm night, we realized it was heavy clouds covering the sky and even though the water in the swamp was frozen, it started to rain. We packed up and as it was just drizzling we where reluctant to put rain gear on. After about 2 hours, it really started to downpour and as we reached the place we wanted to get to yesterday, we changes our plans and decided to hike down the next valley, in order to avoid the heavy lightning and Storm up here on the ridge. It was a long 40 km decent on which we met a couple of hikers, telling us that if we continued to the Lake, we would find a resort at the End of it and so we decided to do just that. We where happy for that, cause Guarini had lost both his hind shoes and we needed to reshoe him, but had not the right size shoes for him with us. It rained, hailed and snowed all day and we where trule getting soacked. So after arriving at the Resort and finding a place for the horses, and booking a cabin we checked in to get dried up. After a hearty meal at the restaurant (Steak of chicken) ist not what you think it is, we made some calles on the only landline available to the back country horsemen and also Jürgen, who was in Albequerque, that night. We reached Kristie Hefling (a true Trail angel) and she got us a pair of Double ought irons from her ferrier, promising to bring them up to Pretoro, where we staying.
Pretoro the day after the snowstorm...
The road that was going to take us back up to the CDT was a forrest road but it ended in a trail that was covered with dead beatle trees. It was like micado for giants, and it was a tiresome search for passage around the fallen tries that ware staked three and four high on top of each other. It took us all morning to get back up onto the ridge (about 5 mls in as many hours) and as we finally made it, the view was fantastic. Marc was using the drone and took a good couple of shots. We had another 15 km in front of us, but going by the GPS Airmiles is not an easy job to judge the time it takes. So after about 3 hours and 9 km we make camp at a small hill with some trees to provide for some wind shelter at 3600 müm. 12000 f.
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Peter van der Gugten
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