Walking the Great Divide

Stood alone on a mountaintop,
Staring out at the great divide
I could go east, I could go west,
It was all up to me to decide.

Just then a saw a young hawk flying
And my soul began to rise.
And pretty soon….
My heart was singing!

Roll Me Away by Bob Seger

Continental Divide in San Juan Mountains
Continental Divide in San Juan Mountains

I never did see a hawk fly that high, but if you replaced hawk flying with marmot scampering it fits the situation perfectly. However, lyrics about a “whistle pig” might not have helped the

Whistle Pig
Whistle Pig

popularity of the song. Cold and clear in the morning, probably about freezing.

Trail blocked by 2 moose. Stand off lasted about 5 minutes before they decided to drop off the trail. It’s a good thing as I had no where to go if they decided to head my way.

Bullwinkle blocking the trail
Bullwinkle blocking the trail

Spend the entire day bouncing between 12-13,000 feet, mostly along the Continental Divide. Caught a real break with the weather. Stayed nice and clear as we spent the whole day up high. Got drinking water from the Rio Grande when it was nothing more than a bit of snowmelt. Still significant snow in the spectacular San Juan Mountains. Camping at 12,500 feet. Gonna be cold tonight.

Day 28 – Woke up to a hard freeze, iced tent. I was cold, but not miserable and actually slept pretty good. This might be a good place to explain White Pine’s minimalist approach to camping equipment. His sleeping bag is rated for 40 degrees (mine is 20). Instead of a tent, he sleeps under a tarp. Not just any tarp, but one made out of the clear, thin plastic that is used to cover windows.  The stuff that’s a little thinner than plastic food wrap (Saran Wrap). If he gets too cold, he’ll build a fire to stay warm.  Unfortunately, when camping in tundra well above tree line, there’s no wood to burn. Since no Snowshoe Hare had come in to sleep by his feet, which had happened earlier in the trip, by 3 am, White Pine was out of his cozy tarp, doing calisthenics in an attempt to deal with the sub freezing temperature. Survival Boot Camp lasted until first light. Thankfully he didn’t need music to work out to so I slept blissfully unaware of his predicament. I’m 395 miles deep into the mountains.