START: Spring Creek Pass/Lake City
FINISH: Wolf Creek Pass/Pagosa Springs
DISTANCE: 115.3 miles (185.6 km)
DAILY AVERAGE: 28.8 miles (46.4 km)
TOTAL DISTANCE: 1904.5 miles (3064.3 km)
Major Route Choice # 3: San Juan’s or Creede Cutoff? No-brainer. Generally, the only reason southbound hikers take the latter option is weather related, i.e. they arrive too late in the season and choose not to deal with the possibility/reality of heavy snowfall.
San Juan Blues: Four long days. Hail, snow, wind, white-outs and the occasional glorious window of sunshine. The scenery, at least the little I saw of it, was impressive. The temperatures? Colder than a well digger’s ass. Indeed, if John Denver had ever hiked the San Juan’s in late September, chances are he would have traded in his guitar for a surfboard, bought a one way ticket to San Diego and spent the rest of his days as a beach bum.