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Friday, June 15, 2012

Chama to Pagosa Springs

Leaving Chama we were entering the San Juans mountains. They are always daunting to hikers because they consistently high elevation and can hold snow for long periods of time. For this section we picked up ice axes and walking spikes to traverse the snow.
The southern San Juans have a lot of beetle kill trees. Entire stands of trees are grey and dead. The first day out we gained a lot of elevation and up into the snow line.
The mountains were quite dramatic after spending so much time in the desert. You can see the work of glaciers from the past down their face and the piles of rock left behind.
What the pictures don't show is where there is snow, there is swamps of melted snow.
The most obnoxious thing about snow is the post holing. Sometimes it's just to your ankle or shin, other times it's up to your thigh or hip. It can be exhausting to cross and gets your feet cold and wet. Fortunately when hiking in a group, you can change out who is leading and spread the effort. Following someone else's footprints is much easier.
But the views were magnificent.

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