Day 3, 7/19, 26mi, M-81: East side of Georgia Pass

Waking up at 5am is always worth it when you have a sunrise like this…

A mile down trail I got a different view. Plus, I had good phone reception to upload the last two blog posts.

One odd part to my morning was finding my trekking poles scattered about the campsite (they had been stashed next to my tent). Looks like a deer found them and decided to gnaw off the straps and the foam grips (salty?). The straps are fairly important for how I use the poles. Luckily, I’ll be arriving in Frisco tomorrow and I have an extra pair stashed in my garage.

Saying goodbye to the Lost Creek Wilderness.

I couldn’t figure out why some of these aspen leaves were changing colors about 6 weeks earlier than normal.

Greats views into South Park.

The wildflowers have been making an appearance now that the trail is above 10,000’.

Some snow covered peaks on the horizon that the trail crests tomorrow.
Home sweet home is about 2mi below the top of Georgia Pass (~12,000)

Even with 26 miles on the day I had time to hitch 5mi down the highway to the nothing town of Jefferson to get some fries and a milkshake. Can’t believe I forgot to take a pic!

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Day 2, 7/18, 26mi, M-55: Lost Creek Meadow Saddle

The Colorado Trail starts at an elevation of ~5400’. Last nights campsite was at 7800’. Tonight’s campsite is just under 11,000’ at the edge of a 6 mile long meadow.

Lots of these odd looking log teepees scattered throughout the woods…feels like an episode of Stranger Things.

An outhouse and a dumpster…a great way to begin the morning!

Once again surprised by how lush such a dry area can be in places.

I call this Cow Patty rock.

I didn’t see any other hikers until mile 16 today. This couple is free m the Boston area.

This is the view from my campsite at the edge of a 6 mile long meadow I finished the day hiking next too.

Although water sources were sparse today, there were just enough to make things comfortable. For the most part temps were comfortable with a nice breeze (the higher elevations helped too). Best of all, no afternoon thunder storms.

Day 1, 7/17, 29mi: Little Scraggy Camp

It’s pretty easy getting to the start of the trail from Denver. The light rail leaves from Union Station and takes about 30mins to Littleton. I was also able to convince my friend Katy (trail angel extraordinaire) to pick me up and drop me off at the trailhead 10mi away at 5:30am!

The official start of the Colorado Trail !

It was nice and cool out first thing in the morning as I followed the South Platte through the canyon (unfortunately, on a dirt road… but bikes and pedestrians only).

First wildlife of the trip.

It was surprisingly lush considering how dry it’s been…lots of berries.

Apparently, the bears like the berries too!

Then there was the exposed burn section during the heat of the day. A little later some clouds rolled in and cooled things off with some sprinkles. The clouds looked angrier with lightning to the South.

Some cool rock formations above my campsite.

My new Nemo Hornet tent 🙂

Pre-trip Training

One of the big benefits to living in Colorado is the great access to incredible training hikes… especially at altitude!

Traveling over the Ten Mike range in mid June (part of the Colorado atrail near Frisco).

Testing out the new tent (Nemo Hornet Elite) in the Gore Range (Ten Mike Range on horizon).

A hike up Herman Gulch along the Continental Divide Trail.

First Columbine of the season !

More wildflowers and some snow.

A hike around Buffalo Mtn. via Lilly Pad Lake.

Mt. Crested Butte in the distance.

The Elk Range and the 401 Trail.

Standing on the Continental Divide above King Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Columbine everywhere !

Indian Peaks wildflower meadow.

Moose in the Gore Range: 

Mountain Goat grazing near Pawnee Pass

Coming soon (as in tomorrow!), the Colorado Trail a ~500 route that goes from just outside Denver, Colorado across the state to Durango. No permits are necessary and there are many places along the way to resupply, typically every 3-5 days.

There is a fairly short window of time to hike the whole trail as snow often presents a serious challenge well into June and some years well into July. Delay too long, and come September early season snowstorms are not uncommon.

The biggest challenges for a hike like this are: the altitude (30% less oxygen at the high points ), afternoon electrical storms with monsoon rains and hail (especially above tree line), wildfire closures (currently the last 70 miles are closed…just reopened!), and figuring out how to get home (not much public transportation and hard to nail down my timing 3 weeks out)

Some great resources to find out more about the trail are: The Colorado Trail Foundation and blogger extraordinaire, PMags  

Cell service is spotty, especially the last half of the route, so don’t despair if there are not daily blog posts coming your way.