On Sunday I woke to a thick, smoke filled sky from a nearby fire on the San Juan Mountains. I took a few minutes to wander around Pagosa Springs, then headed East at a casual, tourist pace.
I had picked up the local tourist guide and scoped out some sights to see and noticed some trails to explore. 20 minutes drive out of town along Highway 160 were 2 good tourist spots. I stopped at a waterfall and hiked back off the road there 1/3 mile.
Then 5 minutes up the road to an overlook with sweeping (albeit smoke filled) views to the West.
My sights were set on a trail near Wolf Creek Ski Fields, Trail 813, the top of Wolf Pass: the Continental Divide Trail. Streching from Mexico, through the USA and up into Canada. 3100 miles of trails and a few dirt roads. The section where I was is one of the better marked and identifiable trails.
I took my water bottle, camera and jogged off. Out and back to an undetermined point along the trail. I would go till I either ran out of water or was eaten by wildlife. 6.75 miles later I came back to my car. In between: 1400' of Elevation gain, an Ascent of Alberta Peak (11,820'), one scared Elk that I startled - he also startled me cause neither of us saw the other one coming, a view of a fairly newly burning wildfire, traversing the top of Wolf Creek Ski area and a bunch of photos. An awesome run.