Starting location: Headwaters for Big Buck Creek
Ending location: shrubs in valley below Cuba Gulch ridge
Distance: 18.5 miles
Elevation gained: 3800 ft
Photo: mountain range before Carson Saddle
1 word summary of the day: weather
So it started raining around 6pm last night, and didn't stop until about 6am this morning - I guess that the bad weather is catching up on all of those nice days that I've had!
Veda and I got on the trail shortly after 7am (Wonder left at 6 but we wanted the rain to stop first before getting up). This morning the trail went over a bunch of saddles and contoured around a couple of mountains before finally reaching Carsen Saddle after 9 miles. Along the way we reached the highest point of the trail at 13271 ft. It was a high altitude day! Great views along the trail, but tiring to hike at that high of elevation. After lunch it was another 5 miles to this little lake, where we finally caught up with Wonder again. We decided to push on another 4 miles instead of camping at the lake, so that we'd have a shorter hike into Silverton on Monday.
The weather started picking up as we crossed Cuba Gulch, which was up on the tundra and really exposed - nothing like that thunder, lightening and hail to light a fire under your butt and pick up the pace! The weather let up a little and we made it down off the tundra, but had a hard time trying to find a place to camp before going over the next ridge. Finally we just went off trail and headed down into a valley a little ways and found a "somewhat" flat spot to camp amongst these low shrubs. We're at around 12500 ft so still above the tree line and wanted something to shelter us a little from the elements. We had just pitched the tents when another HUGE storm rolled in; worst one yet! Lots of thunder, lightening and really big pieces of jail that went on for quite a while. The hail was so loud on the tent it was crazy!