In the morning, as we were taking down our camp, it started to drizzle, so we packed up our tents wet. We hiked up the Texas Creek Valley through mature, open forest. We had to ford Texas Creek, which was very cold. We turned south on South Texas Creek portion of the trail and climbed steeply through the forest. We found a knoll with dramatic views back to the Continental Divide, and after climbing for some time through the forest, we climbed above tree line into a very green basin with views of the peaks, with the trail heading for Cottonwood Pass. We stopped for lunch at a scenic location and dried our tents in the sun. We planned to camp on the other side of the pass on the Divide, so we loaded up at a stream with extra water and climbed over the final steep pass with very heavy packs. It rained and sleeted just as we arrived a the top. We climbed over the pass and down to the parking lot on Cottonwood Pass Road. It was sunny again.
From the parking lot, we climbed up a small mountain and stopped to rest on top at 12,500 feet and looked for a camping spot that some hikers had told us about on the saddle below us to our south. We were now on a new section of the Colorado Trail and Continental Divide Trail that opened in 2014. This 23 mile section proved to be exceptionally scenic, since it follows the Continental Divide, and the new trail construction was a wonder of trail engineering. There is must have been a great deal of labor involved with its construction.