Colorado Trail, Day 25: Mental Games

According to the Colorado Trail Foundation’s Data Book, this next leg of the CT between Salida and Creede is going to be a bit more challenging for us to find good water and campsites than what we experienced in the Collegiate West. Case in point: today, we either have a rather short day of just over 7 miles or a really long day of almost 18 to reach our next guaranteed water source. Seven miles isn’t going to cut it, so we are going to have to push it and make some big miles today. Here’s hoping the weather and our legs hold out for us. (more…)

Colorado Trail, Day 23: Simmering Down in Salida

Zero Days are some of the most anticipated days for any thru-hiker. They offer a chance to step off the trail, sleep in a real bed, eat some real food, get clean and take care of all the little chores that build up while spending a week in the woods. The only problem with town days is that they are always way too short. We never have time to do everything we want, and so it was in Salida. (more…)

Colorado Trail, Day 21: Halfway There!

We wake up in our trailside camp at 5 am. We only have eleven miles to go today, but it’s Saturday and we want to break camp before the weekenders start coming through. Even though it is still dark, it feels much warmer this morning than we are used to, so we decide to start out the day hiking in shorts. It seems a little risky, but we are getting more tolerant of the cold after three weeks of being on the trail. (more…)

Colorado Trail, Day 19: Carpe Diem!

Today is said to be the most beautiful section of the Collegiate West Wilderness. We will be entering Segment CW3 at Cottonwood Pass, and we will spend almost the entire day above treeline. With so many miles of exposure, it is important that we hit the trail early in case the weather turns on us in the afternoon. So, when the alarm goes off at 5 am, we don’t dawdle. (more…)

Colorado Trail, Day 18: Deja Vu

Our third day in the Collegiate West is similar in many ways to yesterday. We woke up and immediately crossed a beautiful high mountain pass as our first challenge of the day. We spent much of the day descending and hiking flat only to end it with another 1000 foot climb into camp. And, just like yesterday, we spied another moose along the way, this one a lone female grazing in the shallows of a beaver pond only 50 feet away! Lightning, so to speak, really does strike twice. (more…)

Colorado Trail, Day 17: Moose, Mink and a Milestone…Oh My!

Our tent site has the pleasant sound of a creek rushing nearby, and, with the long day of hiking yesterday and the crazy thunderstorm, we both have the best night of sleep so far on the trail. That’s probably a blessing because we have a challenging day in store starting with a big ascent over Hope Pass followed by a long descent and then a final climb to Lake Ann. It’s our first full day in the Collegiates, and we are anxious to see if they are any more challenging than what we have experienced so far. (more…)

Colorado Trail, Day 16: Westward Ho!

After a very enjoyable zero day in the Twin Lakes/Leadville area, with our time split between watching the World Cup Final (France beat Croatia 4–2), taking care of laundry, lunch in Leadville and celebrating Alison’s birthday, it’s time to hit the trail again and begin the Collegiate West segment ending in Salida. Thru hikers on the CT have the option of taking the original Collegiate East route or the more rugged Collegiate West route shared by thru hikers on the CDT. Some folks even string the two together to form the Collegiate Loop. We don’t have time for that, so we’ve chosen to tackle the Collegiate West, as we hear it is more scenic, and we feel up for the challenge, especially after a pleasant rest day. (more…)