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Hike into the South San Juan Wilderness

But a 76-mile section from Wolf Creek to Cumbres Pass? “No,” says my friend Katey, a seasoned mountain climber and wilderness guide. “At your age, that isn’t realistic. Take a small section,” she says. Another friend suggests which section. I will drive the 27 miles on Forest Road 250 off the road to Cumbres Pass, park beyond the Platoro Reservoir at the Three Forks Trailhead, head out with my pack up a long valley to the three forks, cross the converged North, Middle Forks of the Conejos River and the creek that runs alongside the Rito Azul Trail, follow the Rito Azul a mile or so where I’ll camp below tree line the first night, then hike to Blue Lake for the second night and on the third day head out for the six miles of the sublime and potentially terrifying CDT. The last section drops me down again into the Middle Fork cirque and another six miles out to the car. In all, about seventeen-and-a-half miles.

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