Mayor’s 2019 CDT Redemption Hike Day 101

Mayor's 2019 CDT Redemption Hike- Views

Day- 101
Date- September 28, 2019
Location- side of trail
Elevation- 11,404 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 23.4 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 1928.3 miles
Weather/Temp- Cloudy,WINDY,40s,50s
Injuries- none
Pain level- zero
Spirits/Morale- frustrated
Wildlife encounters- Elk
Days without shower- 5
Days without laundry- 9
Hunger/craving- pizza


Today was one of my roughest days on trail.  It shouldn’t have been, but it was. The San Juans are one serious bitch of a mountain range!

Leap Frog and Sharkbait were gone by 6:45 am and I was hiking by 7:30 am. It ended up being a good two miles up through the valley to reconnect with the CDT.  It was overgrown and everything was covered in frost.  I was soon soaked in freezing cold water, despite my extra layers.


As soon as I finished the 500 feet up the valley to the CDT,  I began a 1,200 ft climb to a pass. The wind today was unreal!  There was no getting away from it… and no beating it.  I’m not exaggerating when I say I almost lost it today.  I was so cold all morning, I had to stay bundled against the wind. I even kept my sleeping socks on my hands, with hand warmers activated inside them.

The miles came so painfully slow, even though I felt like I was working as hard as I could. It wouldn’t have been so bad if not for the constant 20, 30, 40 mph+ winds that found you – no matter where you were on the topography.

At 12 pm I stopped to cook mashed potatoes for lunch. I was already exhausted from nonstop climbs, pushing through bushes, stumbling over rocks, and fighting the wind and freezing cold. Clouds were everywhere – but it wasn’t overcast.  They were moving so fast that you were constantly cast in and out of shade.  It was like someone was flipping a light switch on and off every few seconds (except they did it all damn day). Every time they turned it off,  it felt like it got 20 degrees cooler.

Hacksaw Ridge

I started hiking again around 12:30 pm, finding myself at the beginning of a 14 mile roller-coaster of nonstop climbs ranging from 100 ft to 350 ft (about 14 of them). The elevation profile looked like the teeth on a hand saw.

At 1 pm I dared to check my progress as I became frustrated on the first two steep climbs. I’d only done a little over 8 miles. My frustration shot through the roof as I shouted an obscenity into the sky. I was angry… angry at myself; angry at the wind and the cold; angry at the mountains. On top of that, I was out of food except for a pack of gummy worms, some Fritos, and a quarter can of Pringles. I had no more meals left.


In that moment I would have done anything to be out of these mountains and anywhere else.  Yes,  they are beautiful – but they are barren, exposed, and 90% of all the trees are dead from pine beetles. As mentioned previously, there are no fishing or good camping options here. The trail through this mountain range is literally just a place to get molested by the wind and elements.

Attitude Adjustment

While having my very near break down… I took a mental step back and detached myself from the situation. I was only making things worse with my attitude. After a few minutes of centering my mind and focus,  I made the conscious decision to turn the frustration into constructive energy. I decided I was going to hike a 45 mile day to the highway, no matter how long it took.

I hit the trail with a fury I haven’t unleashed since the Basin… running down the declines and charging up the climbs. Everything hurt. Everything burned. I got stitches in my right side beneath my ribs. I didn’t care. All of it felt better than despair.


Around 5:30 pm, I caught up to everyone else.  Surprisingly, they had stuck together throughout the day. I’d gone from 8 miles to over 22 miles in about 4 hours. I was somewhat relieved to hear that everyone else was having the same kind of day.  No one was getting the miles they wanted; everyone was stopping in less than a mile to camp.  Everyone except Smiles,  who had already pushed on 6 more miles.  That girl is a beast.  If you ever saw her legs,  you’d know she was built for speed and comfort. It’s ridiculous.


I told Jetpack I was hiking all the way to the highway tonight because I was out of food. She suggested I camp with them and not put myself through any further hardship. She also mentioned she had brought too much food and would have plenty to share with me. I insisted that I liked to pay for and rectify my own mistakes. She further insisted I would be doing her a favor by eating some of the extra food, so she didn’t have to carry the surplus.  I ended up giving in, with much gratitude.

So Jetpack,  Toast, Leapfrog, Sharkbait, Townie, Animal, and I are all camped at the base of a 1,400 ft climb.  We’re 21.6 miles from the highway,  and the weather is not looking good.  I don’t like our location; I think it’s a terrible camp spot.  But unfortunately, that’s every spot in this section.  The wind is still crushing and isn’t letting up.  I don’t know what’s going to happen tonight or tomorrow.  I’m incredibly anxious…

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