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Trip Dispatch #43: Thursday, June 30: Cottonwood Pass Road to Avalanche Trailhead: Cottonwood Pass

We got up at 5 a.m. (first light) in order to avoid the later tourist traffic. The horses were lively, in part because they’re now in good shape, and in part because grass was sparse in our off-road campsite. We let them graze, and then headed out onto the hard packed dirt road. It was uphill. It was still early, so there wasn’t much traffic. We came to a series of switchbacks, and the dense spruce forest trees gave way to an alpine snow and rock landscape. I felt like I usually do on high passes, small and insignificant. Nearing the top, we saw a humongous RV off at the distance, chugging uphill. It looked like a toy vehicle. Further out, we could see Taylor Lake, a distant blue-gray blotch.

A Continental Divide sign at the summit indicated that this was the point at which water flowed either east or west. A kind fellow offered to take our photo. We talked to numerous people, this including three woman who wanted to hear more about our trip. I was so focused on chatting with them that I forgot my fly fishing vest. I remembered this about a quarter of a mile down the road. We returned and got it.

The winding downward stretch was paved. Before us was a rock and snow-splotched landscape. We could see where we were headed. The traffic was picking up, so I got off and walked Raudi. The storm clouds were building. A clap of thunder coincided with a handful of motorcyclists roaring past us. Light sprinkles soon turned to rain. The passing motorists were unempathetic. In fact, one fellow yelled out that we should clean up our horse poop. By the time I’d gotten it together enough to tell him that this would be difficult on a busy road, he was gone. We set up camp in the Avalanche Trailhead area. We’re now, finally on the Colorado Trail proper.

Next: Trip Dispatch #44: Other Hikers

Cotton Wood Pass
Cottonwood Pass


Pete at Cottonwood Pass
Pete, siggi, and Signy at Cottonwood Pass