The Colorado Trail: Planning

I’m an armchair thru hiker.  I’ve read dozens of books and blogs, trolled countless forums and watched umpteen documentaries and YouTube videos about people who thru hike the AT, PCT, CDT, CT, JMT and the PNT.  You may recall last year we got to take a small walk on the AT where we met several thru hikers and this only further piqued my interest in thru hiking.  If you don’t already know, thru hiking is defined as hiking a long-distance trail end-to-end within one hiking season according to Wikipedia.  And all those acronyms above are some of the major long-distance trails in the US, namely the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail, Colorado Trail, John Muir Trail and the Pacific Northwest Trail respectively.  I am in awe of the folks who take on these epic adventures on foot completely self supported.  And while I think there is a tiny spec of a chance that I could physically take on one of these trails myself, I just can’t imagine being away from Steph for that long…so I remain an arm chair thru hiker.  But then one day last fall my brother calls me with a proposal! Read more

The Colorado Trail: Day 1


I awoke to Caden’s voice right over my head.  It was 4:05am….even the roosters were still asleep.  “My stomach is killing me!” he said.  Every once in awhile Caden gets a really bad stomachache.  Steph and I both got up to try to help him out but not sure our efforts would be fruitful or not.  Regardless, he made it clear he still wanted to go backpacking as he figured it’d go away after several hours like it usually does.  I woke Dacen up at 4:30 and then Joe showed up right on schedule at 4:45.  We loaded backpacks in the car, said goodbye to Steph and we were off.  Caden’s stomach issues subsided soon after we left and before long both boys had fallen asleep in the back of the car for the 2.5 hour drive.
Too early in the morning
As we rolled through Leadville Joe asked if I knew how to get to the Mt Massive trailhead.  “Ummmm….no…I’ve been there before but it was long ago”.  This began a pattern of me showing poor navigation skills.  We pulled into a convenience store to unload our bladders and get directions from the clerk and we were back on our way. Read more

The Colorado Trail: Day 2

We slept in a bit this morning in an effort to try to catch up on sleep after our early morning yesterday.  While we ate our breakfast and swatted mosquitoes both boys said they laid awake last night thinking of good people for Infinite Questions.  My old self hardly even remember laying down I fell asleep so quick!
Morning sunshine
We broke camp and were on our way by 8:42 up a long and gradual incline.  Camp 2 was only about 4 miles out and so I had marked another camp spot a couple miles further in case we wanted a longer day today.  We discussed it and felt that a longer day today would be very doable and would turn our planned 9 mile day tomorrow into a more reasonable 7 miler.  The final decision could be made when we arrived at Porcupine Lakes where camp 2 was but until then we played Infinite Questions using some of the boys’ doozies they thought up the night before. Read more

The Colorado Trail: Day 3

Joe woke us up at 6:00 so we could get a head start on hiking while the temperatures were cooler and, as it turned out, the mosquitoes were still asleep.  The stove was definitely acting up and just barely got our water warm enough to have some luke warm coffee and cocoa.  We stuck with cold poptarts instead of trying to eat luke warm oatmeal.  We packed up and said goodbye to Bear Lake as we began a long steady ascent through forest and around a couple of ponds.
At a pond
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The Colorado Trail: Day 4

Our 6:00 wake up call came early to Caden and I as both of us had trouble getting to sleep.  But we knew that an early start meant cooler temps for hiking, that the mosquitoes were sleeping in and, if we finished our hike today, there was a big juicy burger to be had!!  When I got out of the tent Joe pointed to our food bag.  It had moved about 3 or 4 feet with some drag marks leading back to where we had put it the night before.  Clearly some creature had tried to make off with it.  I can imagine the thing working so hard to nick it then finally giving up saying, “you’ve got to be kidding, what kind of idiots carry THAT much weight in food through the woods.”  That would be us!
Anyway, we got up and around in record time this morning.  I think we are just starting to find a rhythym.  Everyone stashed a few starbursts in their pockets and we were on the trail a little after 7:30.  We were pretty sure we’d make it the 6.5 miles to the car and the end of section 10 today. Read more