Today we got started pretty early, 5:45am. We are headed to the highest elevation on the trail today at 13,271 ft. We are still trying to beat the rain by hiking more in the morning but until about mile 400 on the trail we are above 12,000 feet (we are currently at 366). We are ahead of our planned miles by about 2 1/2 days so that gives us flexibility with the weather and stopping. We did move up a reservation we have at Molas Lake campground on US550 to July 26th, two days earlier than we originally planned so that is our current goal for a few days from now. After that, it is only four days and we are home.
We start hiking up once again and crest on a ridge 500 feet above where we camped. The sun rises over the mountain and once again we are greeted with an incredible sunrise and mountain views.
The morning is glorious as we pass by Ruby Lake and wind our way up the ridge. The lighting is great on another really chill rock glacier. The San Juan mountains are known for the rock glaciers.
We eventually reach the high point of the trail at 13,271 feet. It is grassy and open. I have been surprised by all the high grassy mesas we have passed through the last few days.
The glorious morning turns cloudy and by noon we have serious rain. I mean LOTS of it. We are supposed to be climbing over a saddle about 600 feet above us. There is a good camping site and even though it is early in the afternooon we decide to call it a day. Better to stop here and wait out the storm….
Just the Facts
Total Miles: 14
Cumulative Miles: 380.1
Trail Segments: 22 and 23
Camp Elevation: 12,246 feet at small lake near Cataract Gulch Trail
Elevation Gain: 2500 feet
Elevation Loss: 1969 feet
Weather: Partly sunny in the morning, then partly cloudy and then raining by noon