By Henry Strawbridge
Editor’s Note: The Strawbridge family from Lakeland, Fla., hiked the length of the Continental Divide Trail – all 3,100 miles of it – from Canada to Mexico. Henry Strawbridge, 14, provided updates of their journey to Trout Unlimited as they passed through the historic range of seven native trout species. You can track the family and see reports submitted by Henry on this map.
We started our section to Pagosa Springs by walking back toward the Continental Divide trail up through a canyon on the Silver Creek Trail. This was where we entered the San Juan Mountains. We were headed back up into the mountains. Three moose were nice enough to great us on the way back. A big bull moose, a mom, and a baby just stood in a meadow and watched us pass.
It continued to be a wildlife wonderland. We saw deer, moose and elk everywhere. On our third day we walked all morning and stopped for lunch by a creek. Dad and I went fishing for almost the whole lunch.
The creek would run straight down hill and then drop into big wide curves. The fish were often sitting in the pools below the drops waiting for food to come to them. But the bigger fish I saw were sitting in the fast water. I could not convince any of those to take the flies, but they were probably a foot long.
The next day we dropped down into the mining town of Creede. We left the trail to do the Creede cutoff down through the valley instead of a loop through the San Juans to the west. The town had been there since the gold rush. They had ponds for hockey in winter. Their fire department was cut into the rock inside an old mine. Many of the old buildings made me feel like I was walking through the Old West.
We had so much fun walking through Brown’s Canyon on an old railroad track, that when we spotted another abandoned railroad track leaving the town of Creede, we decided that we would walk it. This one ran beside the Rio Grande. It turned out to be far less interesting than the previous one.
On this river the tracks were older. We could tell because the old train trestles were rotten. They were even a little frightening to cross, because some of them were soft under our feet when we were out over the middle of the river.
We ate lunch the next day at a nice pizza place as we passed the town of South Fork, and finished our walking day at around 4 p.m., but it took us a long time to catch a hitch into town.
When we finally got there, we met one of my dad’s old snowboarding friends at the hot springs. The hot springs in Pagosa Springs are said to be some of the deepest hot springs in the world. I liked to sit in the ones down by the river and stay in them as long as I could and then jump into the cold river. It felt like icicles all over my skin.
We took a zero day there and spent the day playing putt-putt golf with dad’s friend Doug and his family. Doug and his son Liam decided they wanted to try to walk with us to Mexico through all of New Mexico.
Until next time,
COVID-19 note: The Strawbridge family anxiously watched as the coronavirus issue threatened their plans to do the CDT this year. After careful consideration the family made the decision to drive to Montana to start the trip to avoid any possible exposure on airplanes. None of the family members exhibited symptoms during the journey.