Our beautiful weather has continued. For five straight days we have had mostly warm sunshine. And what a section to have such weather. The San Juan Mountains is my new favorite section. Jagged peaks, a 30 mile above treeline stretch and alpine lakes a plenty.
For five days we walked on or near the divide as we skirted the Rio Grande headwaters. Such beauty of course comes with a price and in this case it was very tough trail. We ‘d struggle all day to eke out 26 miles, but every time we would go to complain we simply looked up at the beauty around us.
On day two we ate lunch on the very headwaters of the Rio Grande River. As I treated and drank from the small stream, I couldn’t help but picture what that river looks like at the Gulf and shuddered. How can such an innocent mountain stream become so nasty?
On the third day we hiked around the Rio Grande Pyramid and a nearby cliff gap called the Window. The Pyramid itself looks very much like pictures of an Egyptian pyramid and stands alone, towering over anything else close. As a side trip, we hiked up and through The Window. It turned out to be harder than expected but was still well worth the effort.
Finally on the fourth day we ended our loop around the Rio Grande and resumed our Southernly route. We could look North and see San Luis Peak and Snow Mesa a mere 30 miles away even though we had hiked over 100 miles since then. It was a reminder that hiking isn’t about the fastest or most direct route.
We made it to Pagosa Springs and were somewhat sad to end such an epic section. We have a few more miles of the San Juans to hike, but I don’t expect them to live up to their Northern cousins. If all goes well I’ll be in New Mexico on Thursday.