Cloud watching along the Divide

Day 113: Deadman Lake to half mile before Morrison Lake, ~25 miles, ~1950+ miles total

From Lima to Leadore the trail stays close to the Divide. Following the ridges as they roll. Steeply. Gently. A sinusoidal walk that keeps us up high overlooking the steep valleys to the west and sagebrush and desert to the east. It is beautiful walking. Cloud admiring. Grass admiring. Eyes peered for bighorn sheep on the mountains just west of the Divide.

This morning we had a slow start to make up for sleep lost during last night’s storm. Just as we finished setting up camp and were getting ready to enjoy dinner, a gust of wind blew down valley across Deadman Lake. Sudden and powerful. Soulshine’s tent came down and we hastily dove into ours to brace it for the next gusts.Within seconds, down pouring rain. Wind gusts shook our tent and we’d each hold a pole stable as the wind forced itself on our silnylon roof. In between gusts we’d eat spoonfuls of dinner. A light show outside with lighting flashes followed three to one seconds later by thunder booms. The storm continued on hours after we eventually fell asleep.

In the still and calm of morning, the only evidence of last night’s storm is wet ground and Soulshine’s missing tent stakes. (He found one, then three others later in the day.) The air pungent with the clean scent of sagebrush after a night of rain. Pronghorn run across the golden fields. Elk herds graze in the pale morning sun, but stand alert and bound into spruce at their first glance of us. The moon still high in the sky.

It is a good day to wander the Divide. Not hot. Not cold. Good walking on cattle paths, trail and jeep road. Enough sun to dry out the tent.

Clouds moving across the sky. The wind pushing in storm clouds and moving them out again. We look with keen interest to see if the clouds are on the same course as us. Always the light is changing. We stop and admire the hills and trees. Taking in as much as we can.


Morning along the CDT. Just after the storm the sagebrush is its most aromatic. Cool and clean.


The moon is still high in the sky.


Storm clouds move over Cottonwood Peak. One hour the skies around the summit are bluebird. The next hour, the summit is cloud capped.


Golden grass admiring and cloud watching.


So many long gentle ridges to traverse. Often a steep climb proceeds and follows the easy ridge walking.