Day 87: Butter Knife Edge

Miles Hiked: 21

Total Milage: 1449.6

Location: San Juan Mountains

This morning I started to get ready around 5:15am. I did not sleep last night AGAIN. I am feeling so exhausted from all this not sleeping. I left camp before 12 pack. I was happy to hike by myself for a little bit this morning and take my time. For breakfast I drank a protein shake that I put 24 g of protein in, carnation breakfast, collagen, and a packet of chai tea to give it some spice. This is my normal breakfast for this trail. It’s an easy way to get in calories fast in the morning when I don’t want to take time to eat anything. At the top of the first climb, I knew I would get some cell service so I took the time to make an Instagram post and send some texts. If it wasn’t so early I’d give someone a call. 12 pack caught up to me here and we pretty much hiked the rest of the day together. There was a waypoint on the map marked “knife edge” and it made me so nervous. I definitely do not like very sketchy hiking and the words “knife edge” give me visions of horribly exposed hiking with drop offs on both sides of me. Lucky for me, I thought the waypoint was poorly described and there was no snow on the trail! Other hikers comments made it sound extremely dangerous. It ended up just being a contour around a bowl with very steep walls, a narrow trail, and a drop off on one side but not both. The part where there could potentially be a drop off on both sides was a very wide and flat trail with enough room to make me feel comfortable. I made a hairpin turn and contoured around the other side of the mountain. I was so relieved! 12 pack was in front of me and I saw a deer practically jump off a cliff between us and run above him on the extremely steep slope. I yelled at him to look at the deer so he could pay attention to possible rock fall if it ran above him. It didn’t and all was fine. When we took a break for lunch 12 pack didn’t even realize that we already did the Knife Edge. I thought it was funny that it was that anticlimactic.

After lunch, we walked along the coolest ridge. There were hardly any trees on top and the views were amazing. Eventually we descended into some trees and I was very glad because the once clear blue sky was filled with clouds that were getting increasingly dark and thundering louder and louder. When it finally looked bad enough, 12 pack and I set our tents up in perfect timing for it to start raining. The thunder boomed and I was so happy to be curled up in my sleeping bag trying to get any sort of sleep. After 2 hours the storm had passed, the sky was blue again and we were hiking on! We only had about 8 more miles to camp.

I hiked pretty slow the rest of the day and took my time. My left knee has been hurting pretty badly. Yesterday I took a bad fall and banged it up and bent it very hard. This morning I took another bad fall where I landed directly on my knee cap and broke my sunglasses when my face softly hit the ground. I’m really hoping I just bruised it very badly. It’s the knee I had surgery on last spring. The views got even better and I stopped to take so many pictures. As I got closer to camp the sky started to get dark and stormy looking again. I ran into 12 pack at a water source and he let me know that it was the last water before our best camping option. I filled up before we hiked down to a meadow and set up our tents as it started to rain again.

It rained for quite a while this evening but I didn’t mind because I made it in to my tent before I started. I made some mashed potatoes for dinner and looked through all my pictures. When the rain finally let up around sun set I got out of my tent and walked around. I got some great pictures of the sunset and I was able to talk to Luke for a tiny bit because I found a little bit of cell service on a hill! It was great to hear his voice.

Happy Trails!

-Early Bird

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