Colorado Trail Collegiate Loop 2019 Day Eleven

19 miles

I got going about 630. Gale trailnamed “Misfit” was just rousing and making breakfast but I wanted to get a start on the pass. It was 26 degrees out. It iced at our elevation and there was a light dusting of snow as I went up Lake Ann pass. I met a doupleganger to my late grandfather. I could imagine him jogging along the trail.

Once I crested the pass I met people for the next several hours. I saw more people today than all combined on this trip. A father and son from Kentucky. Mike and Maggie section hiking. A retired dayhiking group of 15 + dogs. Ect ect.

Misfit caught me shortly after lunch and we hiked for a couple hours till we got to the base of the climb to Hope pass. She sent me an inreach message so we could message back and forth and she took off up the hill like a rocket. I took my time. It was a steeeep climb with beautiful views. I crested the top about 5 and had some cell signal. I hiked on most of the way down the other side before I found misfit’s tent and setup within talking distance.

Tomorrow I’m only 6 or 7 miles from my car and Mike and Terri camping. I texted Terri tonight and asked if brunch was available for two hungry hikers. Hehe always nice to have some trail magic. Misfit is headed on up the CT tomorrow so I told her she can have what supplies I have at the car if she can’t find what she needs at the Twin Lakes store. I finally found a hiking buddy right as my loop is ending. But such is life!

Colorado Trail Collegiate Loop 2019 Day Twelve

6 miles

It was chilly this morning. Misfit and I got going at about 7 and her water was freezing.

We hustled downhill and soon finished my loop. Grabbed a couple pictures in front of the sign and headed on down the trail to Mike and Terri for second breakfast. We all sat around visiting for a couple hours before Misfit headed out on her way. I’m glad to have finished the loop. I sat around visiting with Mike enjoying the nice day.

Colorado Trail Collegiate Loop wrap up.

Parked and started at twin lakes dam. (1.6 miles from the loop)

Sep 1-13. One zero day at Monarch.

I dropped a hiker box at Monarch, Bear canister of food at Cottonwood pass and a ammo can of food at Avalanche trailhead. I hiked the east side southbound first, so a couple days in I got to Avalanche for food, and 3.5 days later Monarch for food. Cottonwood was 3.5 days from Monarch and then back to the car at Twin Lakes. I planned to do this whole trip unsupported, but helpful family members who were camping nearby picked me up at some trailheads for some nights in the camper and slackpacking some days. My first day was a half day at 10 miles, my longest day was just under 22, and my last tiny day was 6 miles.

Get started in the East, it will help you acclimate. There is a lot of ups and downs but not as high as the West. Last year I tried the West first and got altitude sickness when I had a bad bad cold already. The West is great. Beautiful views. Especially Tin Cup Pass to Cottonwood pass.

Even with lots of home cooked food from relatives along the trail, I lost 7 lbs. Pack lots of snacks and plan to eat every 2 hours in the climbs. This trail could be done by buying food at Mount Princeton Store and Monarch, as long as you weren’t picky about having hot meals. I’d still cache food at Cottonwood so I wouldn’t need to hitch to town or carry 6 days of food across the west.

I had a fantastic time and I’m sad it had to come to an end. Good luck to the others out on the CT and CDT still out hiking. It was fantastic to run into you and visit along the way.