Day 8 on the Colorado Trail/CDT

4 miles

I woke up at my usual time. Which means 4am Colorado time. I had packed up and eaten breakfast by the time the other guys were stirring. We got on the trail about 7 am with 4 miles to the zuki. It was great trail and wonderful hiking. 103 miles in 7 days 1 hour. We were thankful to get back to a running vehicle and we shuttled Scott and Rick to Monarch pass and came back to Poker Alice in Lake City for pizza before we go pick up the truck and go to Silverton to spend tomorrow off-roading with our new friends Scott and Rick. As I pulled the zuki up to Spring Creek pass we see “Hot Lunch” a guy we have seen a couple times, hitching for a ride. I told him that as soon as we hooked up the vehicles we would give him a ride back to Lake City. It was cold and rainy so it was great timing for him and not out of the way for us. We dropped him off at second street and headed for Silverton.

Day 7 on the Colorado Trail/CDT

17 trail miles. Just under 19 total.

We got started about 7am. Kenny and I took off and Rick and Scott caught us in a couple of hours. I had a tiny bit of cell signal so I updated the blog and FaceTimed with the kids. There were beautiful views in the aspens and valleys. Shortly before noon we stopped to filter water and eat lunch. After about 12 miles we filtered water to make sure we had enough for a dry camp. Around 14 miles we ran into a mountain biker riding “The Great Divide Trail” from Banf Canada to the Mexican border. He was a very funny guy who has lived all over the world and currently lives in Australia. We worked our way up a long hill with only a short accidental detour before finding camp at about 19 miles walked for the day. The weather was dry and mild and we all sat around a little campfire and visited and told old stories.

Day 6 on the Colorado Trail/CDT

17.4 trail miles

We got a good start at 6:15. I decided not to climb San Luis Peak when it started raining overnight. A slick exposed face by myself no longer appealed to me. So we headed up the trail. We saw a couple northbound hikers Rick and Scott that came through our camp last night and camped a quarter mile beyond. We passed them as they were packing up. At 730 we crossed paths with a southbound hiker hoping not too many people were in front of him headed to lake city because he wanted a place in the hostel.

We reached the pass at 8am and paused for a snack. It was mostly downhill for a good part of the day ahead. Just over the pass we find Emily and Laura we met on day one. Sitting outside their tent sipping coffee. I plopped down and we visited a bit and took a group selfie.

We headed on down the hill and Rick and Scott caught up with us. Rick from Michigan. And Scott from Texas. For the next 5 miles or so we all walked together and visited and talked about our lives, our hikes and our gear. Kenny and I stopped for water and they continued on. We overtook them at lunch and they caught up and we visited all afternoon towards camp. We set up camp on the hail and rain but it stopped shortly afterwards and we all visited around dinner.

Day 5 on the Colorado Trail/CDT

11.8 trail miles. 14 actual.

We got started at 6:50 am. It was 29 degrees on Snow Mesa, 12,200 feet. We met a group of three we saw a few days ago as we left out from highway 114. We hiked up the pass to beautiful views and slowly down the other side to about 11,500 and got a little water from a small stream just before noon. A couple miles over the next hill we come to another stream, and re-meet the Bay Area hikers we met a few days ago. We had a good visit and heard their stories of a pack falling in the river. One guy wears speedcross shoes like me and we compared notes. They have a couple more days before they hop off the trail. They told us there was no water for the next 8 miles or so. So we loaded up with more water… before talking a 1,400 foot climb in 1.5 miles. The extra weight was brutal. We saw another solo southbounder we had met before on our way up. I was envious of her downward progress. Also for the first time the whole trip someone passed us going our direction as we were stopped. He had a nice light pack. Over the top of the pass we ran into epic beard guy and his wife. It was just starting to rain and we were joking if we all put on our rain gear it would pass. It slowed right as we did. A few minutes down the trail we ran into Patch. And she had a friend hiking with her for a few days. She was telling us this section of trail was stuff she worked on doing trail maintenance last year. It was a good section of trail. Patch and her friend Lauren were hesitant to climb 1000 feet up that side of the mountain into a storm. As we hiked off into a light rain across the other side of the valley up another mountain I saw Patch’s orange tent going up to wait out the storm.

We came into the valley 2.5 miles before San Luis pass. We setup camp and ate a good hearty dinner.

Day 4 on the Colorado Trail/CDT

6.5 miles + 4.3. 10.8 for the day.

We started off at 11,500 and headed up to 11,960 first thing. The views were amazing. And we were only 6.5 miles from the truck and our shuttle vehicles to he next segment. I didn’t eat much for breakfast as I was craving town food. I got some internet and blasted the blog and Facebook.

We got to Monarch Crest, loaded our packs in the truck and went into the visitors center for ice cream and soda. We jumped back on the truck and started our shuttle to Spring Creek. We got lunch in Lake City. I got a salad and a Philly cheesesteak. I tried not to overeat. At 2pm we headed up out of Spring Creek. A climb to up over 12k to the high plateau. We met 5 other hikers at the top around 330. Two of which we had met before.

After hiking 4.3 trail miles to good water we setup for the evening. And cell signal!

Day 3 on the Colorado Trail/CDT 15+ trail miles

I went down 0.6 round trip first thing to restock our water. Then left out of camp about 645. About 4.5 miles in we started a huge climb. 860 feet in 1.3 miles. On our way up we met a young couple going southbound. He looked ready to do their intended 20 miles for the day. She did not. Further up the hole we met a grey neared solo hiker going southbound.

After creating the hill and finding water Ken hiked on ahead while used a weak cell signal. I caught him again in the valley and we ate lunch about noon. The sky started to cloud up and we crossed paths with thru hiker Ian about 1:00. It sleeted/hailed/rained briefly after that. We come around the corner at marshal pass and interrupt a four wheel driver crouching down behind a bush. Once it was safe we moved on though. She looked at her phone as we went by and didn’t say anything. We stopped at the pit toilet a quarter mile down the trail. But I guess when you gotta go you gotta go.

A mile up the trail we filtered out water from a cold pipe spring and took a sponge bath a couple pools below. The next little bit we saw lots of dirt bikes.

Around 430 we stopped at the only shelter on the CT. We exchanged water info with a southbound hiker camping there for the night. And we headed on. It started to rain. We were at 11,500 and I knew we were headed to just under 12k and I didn’t want I be exposed in the open so we stopped to setup tents. As soon as we crawl inside the hail came down. Leaving a blanket of pea sized hail everywhere.

Day 2 on the Colorado Trail/CDT 14.4 miles

Day 2 on the Colorado Trail/CDT

14.4 miles

We started up the trail about 6:40

About 9am we ran into Bay Area hikers who had started at salida.

At around 930 stop for snack. Here we ran into Southbound thru hiker “Patch. Over the next several hours we ran into several other southbound thu hikers. The views at CDT mile marker 883 were amazing. The mountains in the distance beat any postcard. We continued on downhill. We picked up water at about 12 miles. At 2:30pm we ran into a couple Patch had told us were trailing her. She had said to watch for a woman and a man with an epic beard. It didn’t disappoint.

We continued further down, having dropped nearly 1500 feet and there was a wonderful flowing stream. As we headed uphill it started to lightly rain. So we found a couple flat spots not far off the trail and setup tents. We had over 14 trail miles for the day. But stopping at 4pm or so makes for a long long afternoon and evening around camp. I watched a movie on my phone as I made dinner and fell asleep far too early. Waking up at midnight on the dot.

Day 1 section hiking the Colorado Trail/CDT.

We left Texas on Friday evening and headed out for Colorado. Neither one of was very tired so one would sleep in the back while the other drove. This put us at Monarch pass before sunrise. We jumped in our second (towed) vehicle and headed to our first start point. We even got a little backcountry four wheel drive trails in on the way.

We got to highway 114 roughly 50 hiking miles from the other vehicle and get ready to go. Three people showed up and prepared to hike the other direction. We may run into them on the next leg.

We headed up the trail about 7:45am. We hiked along for a couple miles without incident before we missed our take off from a forest service road. By the time we hiked back we had wasted a mile and a half or better.

I am having the time of my life out here. It’s fantastic and the trail stays above 10,000 feet most of the time out here since it’s going along the continental divide in these sections. But this means water is little and far between. We asked a couple of southbound hikers if they had seen water at a certain creek and got mixed answers. We pressed on, needing water before nighttime. After 14 miles hiked… we got to Razor Creek and several other hikers had the same ideas we did. We filtered water with a couple nice young ladies from SC who have been out here a month today and gotten almost 300 miles of the trail so far. They press on for next 190 or so. Because of the direction we hike the next section after our shuttle we may run into them again. I was encouraging them to do a trail journal. It sounds like they are having a great adventure.

After filtering water we climbed the hill to the edge of the meadow and set up our tents. As far as other hikers, one tent is down way too close to the stream and other one is just being setup further on down the hill by a young couple.

As I finished up my dinner.. a little rain started falling and I crawled in my tent. I was asleep before I knew it.