Pikes Peak! The iconic 14er experience.

Pikes Peak receives a lot of mixed feelings I would say. At least from my experience. You see, Colorado is famous for its multitude of mountain peaks above 14,000 feet. I too am a follower of the idea that Colorado, and all the Rockies states, are superior to the other states because they have such magnificent mountains. So naturally they are a checklist item for tourists to partake in the Colorado experience. The problem is that climbing a 14er is a pretty big deal. And if you have no experience with altitude, it could literally be life-threatening. To circumvent that, two of the 53 official fourteeners can be driven to the top. Mount Evans and Pikes Peak. I climbed Evans back in 2013 as training for the Colorado Trail. I remember not realizing there would be a road to the top. I was the first person in the Bierstadt parking lot one cold 4AM morning. I remember crossing the Sawtooth Ridge and suddenly feeling no longer alone but unable to see any other people around. And then I approached Mount Evans, and was suddenly slapped in the face with all this noise and movement and commotion. People were driving to the top and not even hiking that last little mound to the true summit. It was surreal. I was overwhelmed and felt cheated of my solitude. And since then, when I mention that I have been to the top of Mount Evans, there is always an unknown asterisk involved where I feel obligated to say that yes, I actually hiked it. So I thought about all of this as I decided I needed to take advantage of my visit with Elise and Phil to finally bag this peak. And since Pike’s Peak is smack at the edge of the Front Range, the tourist factor is doubled. But I have a goal to climb them all, so why not now? The difference is that the road up Pikes Peak parallels the trail in the last couple miles. Psychologically that fact can really drain your energy in those final stret

Summary of Pikes Peak:

  • Summit: 14,110 feet
  • Front Range
  • 14.4 miles
  • 4,436 feet of elevation gain
  • Crags Campground TH – Northwest Slopes route
  • Class 2, exposure 1

I decided that since I was in the Springs anyways, I should take advantage of finally checking Pikes Peak off my list. I think a lot of people hit the Front Range peaks early as they are so close, but I definitely preferred to drive into the mountains more while I lived in Colorado. I like the solidarity.

Last night I experienced true insomnia for the first time. I was not restless (no more than usual at least), I was tired, I was cozy in the back seat, but I could not fall asleep. The moon was super bright and I laid awake most of the night. I finally fell asleep in the wee hours, so I gave myself an extra 15 minutes of snooze time before getting up.

I was on trail by 4am. I moved pretty slow at first because I brilliantly forgot to change my light batteries, so occasionally had to shine my phone battery to decide a route and blinded myself each time in the process. When I finally hit the tree-line, there was enough light from the sunrise that I missed while dilly-dallying on the west side of the saddle, to easily move ahead. However, that is also when the trail is basically straight up. I felt like I was moving incredibly slow. But I reached the summit of Pikes Peak at 7:30am. I saw a guy returning to the parking lot right as I started, but I never saw him again, so I can only imagine he was camped out and leaving before sunrise for some reason. Besides him, I never saw another human on my way up. I was the first human at the summit, but I was beat there by a herd of 12 bighorn sheep. I wandered around the top for about 25 minutes because there is a lot to see up there. I didn’t know what to expect the cog railroad to look like, but there is a viewing platform, a large summit sign, and enormous building that I checked out. I also snapped a few shots of the sheep, who scared the breath out of me as I rounded the main building and sent a few bolting. They were all up there nosing around in the back of the garbage truck. As I was preparing to leave, a ranger drove up. She was very nice and saved my summit photo by showing me where the USGS marker was hidden. I had walked right by because it wasn’t really the highest area to my mind’s eye, plus those bighorn sheep distracted me.

Anyway, I headed back down just before 8am and reached my vehicle just after 10am. At just over 6 hours, and 5.5 hours of “moving” time, I feel pretty good about my effort.

I crammed my face full of snacks and hit the road for Twin Lakes. That last drop down from the front range looking across at the Sawatch is such a beautiful view! As I drove in I saw a CT hiker walking the road, I picked her up and took her to Twin Lakes. There I found a whole slew of CT’ers. I barely saw any CT hikers when I hiked it back in 2013, so I didn’t think they could all be in one place like that! Anyway, I had been hoping to find CT and CDT hikers. I had cold soda and a variety of candy to deal out. I gave another hiker a ride and then sat at a spot where the CT crosses a dirt road at the far end of the lake. None of those hikers had stopped in town and were so delighted for a cold drink. It feels really good to mingle with hikers, even if I am not actually on trail with them. And it feels great to provide some magic!

I set up camp at Lakeview Campground and have a stunning view down on the lakes shadowed by the Collegiate Peaks. Plus the CT runs about ten feet below, so I am hoping to provide more treats the next couple days. Also, I am in a ridiculous camp setup. Since I flew in, I borrowed a vehicle and all their 1980 gear. So I have a 7-foot tall tent that isn’t waterproof, two big beefy sleeping bags that roll up to the size of pony kegs, and so much space I set up a chair next to my bed inside the tent. I literally had to hang a towel across the ceiling because the afternoon rains were dripping through while I was lounging and working on my computer. My final glamorous asset is a cooler. Boom! I will likely drive into Leadville each evening to work on my computer, but I am going super cheap for breaky, lunch, and snacks. And I will have the luxury of instant ‘cold’ food! It doesn’t get any more luxurious than the plush life of car camping!

Lessons Learned

As expected, I’ve gained some valuable thru hiking knowledge from this trip. That was essentially the point of a shorter hike, I suppose, to build my confidence and abilities for application to other hiking ventures of grander scales. Things I will change and/or hone in on before my next thru hike:

  • Socks dedicated solely for sleeping in. No one wants cold feet at night, especially if that means wearing the wet socks from the past three days of rain. Might go with compression style too, just to keep circulation up at night. I want my feet to have all the luxury and comfort as possible, they dictate forward progress more than any other thing. 
  • Shorts and thermal tights combo in place of hiking pants. I will miss my cargo pocket, but after walking all day in the rain it would be fantastic to have dry pants to change into. Plus wet thermals will still be warmer and lighter than wet hiking pants. 
  • Some combination of tarp-tent. I like the, possibly false, sense of security with a completely enclosed structure. And I will preference Cuban fiber over silnylon, which seems to hold moisture. 
  • More creative and healthy meal plan. It took two weeks for me to feel the same hunger I have in day to day life sans 25 miles of hiking. During week three I only wanted a regular amount of food. Not until the end of my hike did I gain the hunger associated with thru hiking. No hunger creates a problem when you need food for fuel but cannot motivate yourself to eat what you have. I tired of junk food quickly and found myself simply not eating the less desirable items except as a last resort. This will simply need more work to know my trail food preferences. 
  • Hiking with a companion/s. I definitely prefer the company of at least one other person over being alone all the time. This is mostly the case at night while camping. Unless well matched in pace and endurance, actually hiking with someone is not as convenient nor realistic as having someone to camp with. I found it difficult to perform anything long term other than my own pace, set by my moment to moment physical capacities. 
  • If given a full day, even with plenty of breaks and a leisurely pace, I will make about 25 miles. I can manage higher 30’s but not for extended, consecutive days. In honesty, I liked setting overall mileage goals so that 25 miles is my day to day average while the actual tally ranges from 20 to 35. You can never anticipate the lightening storm in a pass, heavy rain coupled with wind and chill, and whatever else may impede your forward progress. Plus zeros or neros are fantastic. 
  • Hike your own hike. I met a lot of thru hiking neophytes through well seasoned veterans, and everyone has advice and hiking preferences. That is the best part about hiking. You start at A, end at B, and the purpose is the journey. Of course you should try new techniques, styles, goals, etc., and always make minor alterations to keep things fresh. But in the end, only you should dictate how you want to hike because why hike at all if not for your own achievements and pleasures. 
  • Embrace the hiking community. With my misanthropic tendencies, I habitually take the role of observer in new settings and when meeting new people. However, I discovered that hiking is neutral ground. People do not ask the petty, volatile, or controversial questions, so you can create connections based solely on people in their basic state, on who they are as a person. Prejudices and stigmas run more along the lines of opinions on ultralight versus traditional, stove versus cookless, or tarp versus tent. Not that I am suggesting we should avoid conversation about subjects that separate us or create room for conflict, in fact I quite enjoy the role of devil’s advocate in my normal life, but there is shroud of serenity and ease over the people you encounter on the trails and the people who support the people on the trails. You all have hiking in common and that is sufficient to allow bonds amongst people of all shape, size, gender, color, creed, ability, etc. I found the hikers, trail angels, townspeople along the route, and others interested in my hike, to be amicable, generous, and engaging. 

I am sure there are lots of things I have taken away from this experience that I am leaving out, but these were the big things or more germane lessons I wanted to accomplish.

The Final Mileage

My official CT mileage log.

Day One: 23 mi
Day Two: 26 mi
Day Three: 27 mi
Day Four: 28 mi
Day Five: 19.5 mi, morning in Breckenridge
Day Six: 22.5 mi
Day Seven: 25 mi
Day Eight: 32 mi
Day Nine: 27 mi
Day Ten: 22.5 mi, afternoon in Salida

Day Eleven: Zero, all day Salida
Day Twelve: 37 mi
Day Thirteen: 37.5 mi and getting lost
Day Fourteen: 20 mi
Day Fifteen: 30 mi and San Luis Peak (14014′)
Day Sixteen: 22.5 mi
Day Seventeen: 25 mi, afternoon in Silverton
Day Eighteen: 15.5 mi, morning in Silverton
Day Nineteen: 37 mi
Day Twenty: 22 mi and Durango!
485 miles of the CT complete!

The final leg!

Day Eighteen: 28 August 2013
Start: 410.5 miles 2:15PM 75 degrees
End:426 miles 7 PM Cascade Creek (10904′)
15.5 miles
Lowest elevation: 10800′
Highest elevation: 12400′

So I ended up leaving my trekking poles in the car of the guys who gave me a ride to Silverton from the trailhead. Anyone who owns trekking poles can verify that they are not cheap items, thus I was not willing to give up on them so easily. I did not know where the guys were staying last night, but I did know they would be back on trail today. My solution was to wait until late afternoon to get back on trail, insuring they would have already started and I would be able to catch them. The outcome: I found them within a few miles, hurray!, but they had left them with the mom who had picked them up, boo! We had a delightful afternoon shower, accompanied by lightening, so I opted for camping with the guys that night to guarantee the use of a trekking pole for my tarptent. It was nice to have company for the night. Of the three guys, I am camped with Robert and Herb. The third, Tony, went ahead to log more miles. Robert and Herb are planning a five day finish, Tony a four day finish, and I am planning a three day finish. Robert’s mother is the woman and vehicle who picked us all up at the trailhead for Silverton. Fortunately, she lives in Durango and I can be reunited with my trekking poles when I finish the hike! The guys all started at different times and hike different speeds, but had made a little group and traveled a short while together. All of us are first time thru hikers. 
Silverton is actually a great little place. It is definitely reliant on tourism from the twice daily train out of Durango, but sweet nonetheless. I also quite enjoyed the hostel experience because of the manager, Julian, and my hiking buddy, Joe. Joe and I were the only two guests, so I would have been very alone if he hadn’t decided to spend a few days in Silverton. Julian was incredibly nice. He drove out to the trailhead to pick up Joe last night, he drove me out today, and will drive Joe out tomorrow. He also let me use the hostel washer and dryer for my clothes. This morning, Joe and Julian went together to cut wood for the hostel furnaces. Also, Julian has a <2 year old dog, Valor. He is possibly the best behaved dog I have ever met. 
Today it hit me that my trip is winding down. I am in self sabotage mode: leaving my trekking poles and today almost losing my map book at the coffee shop. This is my second to last night. With the delay I will have to make up mileage over the next two days. The surreal count down has begun and I feel as though I have only just come to terms with being out and away. I suppose these feelings and transitions are why the longer trails (PCT, AT, CDT, etc) are so much more fulfilling. I would have had months to find my pace, gain comfort being alone and camping, pushing myself, building bonds with strangers, and experiencing new things. Every day is an adventure regardless.
Day Nineteen: 29 August 2013
Start: 426 miles 7:30AM 55 degrees
End: 463 miles 7:30 PM Kennebec TH (11635′)
37 miles
Lowest elevation: 10388′
Highest elevation: 12264′
It did not rain last night. It was actually a beautiful, star filled night. Yesterday’s afternoon shower was the only bad weather. I slept wonderfully and headed out strong this morning. I caught Tony quickly and we pretty much stayed together until lunch time when we reached the last water for a 22 mile stretch. I did not want to stop until reaching the next water at Taylor Lake. Tony only wanted to make another ten miles or so. By 2PM I was 19 miles down when rain broke out. This would not have necessarily have been eventful if I was not spending the whole day walking along mountain ridges and to my right was a lightening storm. I waited out the worst of the rain, but I did not want to risk being stuck in lightening and continued forward through the rain to put as much distance between myself and the storm. Despite having a fair amount of rain interactions over the last three weeks, I have had hardly any lightening. Yesterday and today had afternoon lightening and rain. I suppose it is only fitting to go out with a bang right? 
I made my desired mileage to Taylor Lake, only to be pushed off my camp spot by a bear hanging out among the willow bushes. I continued another 1.5 miles down trail to the next viable place, a trailhead parking lot. Since I did not find people and do not have my trekking poles, I need a flat spot near a tree to fasten to my tarptent. After setting up camp and crawling in for the night, I heard another large animal stomp the ground not far from me. I was of course instantly paranoid and knew it had to be another bear. I continued to hear noises but decided I was being harassed by a raccoon or similar, pesky rodent. (Though the next morning I did find fresh bear droppings not 20 feet from my resting spot…)

Day Twenty: 30 August 2013
Start: 463 miles 7:30AM 50 degrees
End:485 miles 2:30 PM Durango (6512′)
22 miles
Lowest elevation: 6977′
Highest elevation: 11750′

My last day. I hit the trail this morning ready to crank out my last miles and finish strong. My body had a different plan, however, and started resisting forward progress a mere four miles into the day. After all the hard work and other struggles I have put my body through over the last three weeks, I wanted a grander finale. I wanted to go skipping into Durango, full of energy and happy as a lark. Instead I was simply exhausted and ready to be finished. I did meet the Vice Chairman, Jerry Brown, of The Colorado Trail Foundation, at the Durango Trailhead. He recognized me as a thru hiker and congratulated me on my accomplishment. I was oddly satisfied with that interaction since I was again near a city with lots of outdoor enthusiasts, making my presence on the trial a common site. When coming in and out of high traffic areas, I occasionally had a feeling of insignificance. While out alone, you gain a sense of power and accomplishment. You are doing something that few people dare even attempt. But when you are surrounded by other out door enthusiasts, you somehow become invisible. I am not expressing my sentiments with much clarity ha. I suppose I am trying to make a connection of how strong and empowered hiking makes you feel when you are alone and in solitude, but once you are with people again, the whole venture seems irrelevant. 
I am finished and it feels great to be done. My feet are ready to rest and heal. I met Robert’s mother in Durango to retrieve my trekking poles and she generously took my to lunch. I have been so fortunate in all the interactions I have had on my hike. There are so many wonderful, kind, generous people in the world. I am delighted that so many seem to be related to the hiking/outdoor world. I am staying tonight with one such individual, Mike Kelly. Whom provided a hot shower, washing machine, and comfortable place to sleep. He even helped me get a ride back to Denver, removing the need to hitch hike. 

Day Twenty-one: 31 August 2013
Durango to Westminster

I slept like I had not slept in months. And of course I was starving when I did wake. I went to Doughworks. Amazing! Breakfast burrito, french toast, and maple long john. Followed by a chai and cookie at a coffee shop. My hunger only just began to set in a couple days ago, just in time for me to be off trail. It is a bit strange to be finished. 

Silverton, CO, resupply done. Next stop Durango!

What a rush. Only 75 miles to go. I cannot wrap my mind around how close I am to the end. As with all things coming to a close, bitter sweet feelings flood the thought process. The last six days below:

Day Twelve: 22 August 2013
Start: 252.5 miles 7AM 60 degrees
End: 289 + 0.5 miles (camp side trip) 7:30PM Baldy Lake (11000′)
37 miles
Lowest elevation: 8800′
Highest elevation: 12000′
I feel the need to reflect on Salida a bit more. It is actually a neat little town. About 50% of employment is tourism based but a significant part of the rest is self-employed and small business of an eclectic nature. The hostel, Simple Lodge & Hostel, is fantastic! A lot of hikers and cyclists (road and mountain), but also other random travelers looking for a budget option. Hostels are incredibly underrepresented and under appreciated in the US, so it is awesome to find these little gems. I won’t go into detail about the people I met here, but with my zero day I had the opportunity to meet CT nobos and sobos, all with different backgrounds, hiking experience, and stories. There were some Continental Divide riders doing a mountain bike alternative. Other cyclists going cross country. In particular I met a woman named Judy Gross from North Carolina, who owns and runs Light Heart Gear, she hand makes ultra-light backpacking tents. I also met a guy named Venture who stayed the night before with Dirt Monger after we split at my Hwy 50 resupply exit.
As for my leisure time, it was wonderful to do absolutely nothing for a day. I hit several coffee shops, chatted with travelers and locals alike, and tried to have my feet touch the ground as little as possible. I borrowed a large tshirt and some old man shorts from the hostel to wear those two days while I washed my outfit and let it line dry. Interestingly people never realized they weren’t my actual clothes hahaha… I aired out all my gear and repacked my new food and was ready to go.
The hostel owner dropped me off at the trailhead this morning and I cranked out a 37 mile day. The extra rest definitely did wonders for my stamina. Today was quiet and peaceful. I passed two others leaving from my hostel that morning and was passed by a bunch of mtn bikers on a CDT event. I am camping alone at a secluded lake a half mile off trail. Tonight is incredibly windy and rainy. So much for that good weather window.

Day Thirteen: 23 August 2013
Start: 289 + 0.5 (camp sude trip) miles 7AM 45 degrees
End: 318 + 8 (lost) miles 9PM Circle Ranch gate (9500′)
37.5 miles
Lowest elevation: 9338′
Highest elevation: 11750′
Over 300 miles traversed and I finally get lost. Not the mile off trail lost either, I was miles off… I am not particularly pleased either. I was following the map and the topo fit as well, and yet I made a seven mile course not on the trail at all. Fortunately I came to a spot towards dark and pulled out my headlamp and could see the reflective flicker of the CT markers in the distance. I ended up back at a point earlier on the trail. I am going to add out of journal here, because I am very concerned over this matter. The place I took a wrong turn is severely under marked. Some maps don’t even mention the turn off I took and my map has it being a superficial off shoot. In reality it is a two-way split off that CTers take the left route while knowing by some divine source that the “insignificant” yet well established farm access route going to the further left is not the appropriate course. I have met two other sobos and one nobo since who went off there this trip. I also happened to meet a guy peak bagging who made the same error last summer. There is a trail marker but it is past this junction and not necessarily easily identified. Of course hundreds of CTers have gone through with no complication, but in my opinion, with all the overuse of signage, this is the one place that an added marker would do wonders to prevent potentially dangerous outcomes. I should mention that this junction happened during a 15 mile no water stretch. 15 miles is nothing without water, but when you add the extra 7 minimum of being lost if you were direct and didn’t wander, well that’s almost two days of hiking for some people. And the side loop fits too well with the topo of the true trail, that is an added factor that makes this not just an issue of poor map reading. Due to that detour, I camped at the entrance gate to a ranch about a mile off trail. I regrouped and got back on track the next morning.
Aside from that …er …delightful addition to my trip, I crossed several people today. There’s a girl and her dog with lots of parental support for resupplies and company which is awesome! There is a guy bringing along a violin to learn how to play along the way. I met a nice couple with three horses riding the CT southbound by doing each segment in the north direction. I crossed two older ladies nobo CT.

Day Fourteen: 24 August 2013
Start: 318 + 1 (lost) miles 8AM 60 degrees
End: 337 miles 7PM Stewart Creek Trail #470 (11758′)
20 miles
Lowest elevation: 9690′
Highest elevation: 11758′
With the frustration and long day yesterday from getting lost, coupled with the howling wind and rain last night, I slept very little. Optimism not yet dowsed, I made it back on trail and continued forward. I passed the guy with the violin again haha, and met an older guy named Derrick, nobo CDT, who provided some trail beta on water and conditions. I also saw the couple with three horse again. As afternoon set in so did heavy rain. I was on course to head up Cochetopa Creek into San Luis pass during this weather when hail began. Not wanting to deal with that and still a bit frustrated with the previous day’s excursion, I opted to take cover and wait out the storm.
While waiting I met Paul who had taken supplies up on his two horses for a friend up the pass. Later that friend, a nice man named Brian with two friendly Golden Retrievers, came down too. He was setting up a hunting camp higher up the pass to come back the following week. I also watched a moose and her calf in the creek plain. I was on the watch for mountain goats up in the cliffs, but no luck. After almost three hours, the sun finally reappeared long enough to let some things dry before night and cold began to set in. I started up the valley further and met two guys who bagged San Luis Peak. (One of these two is who took the same detour I took the evening before…). These guys had seen the nice man Joe I met in Mt Princeton Hot Springs. They let him use their satellite phone to call the trail angel to get off at Creede. I also saw a couple heading up for a couple days of 13er hiking. I am camped about two miles down from the San Luis Peak saddle in hopes to climb the peak tomorrow and continue forward. Already cold, windy and rainy. Awesome weather…

Day Fifteen: 25 August 2013
Start: 337 + 4 (San Luis Peak) miles 8AM 45 degrees
End: 363 miles 7:30PM Rejoin Road #547 (11726′)
30 miles
Lowest elevation: 10913′
Highest elevation: 14014′
It was still raining this morning. There was so much wind last night I had to re-secure my tent during the storm last night… Despite the inclement weather, I stubbornly decided to bag the peak anyways. Possibly the worst decision, but I wasn’t going to let a late monsoon season deter my ambitions. I made the treacherous trek up the peak, with cold rain plastering my face and wind trying to rip me off the mountain face the whole way. Despite bagging the peak I am dissatisfied as I had no view and fought to the top merely to avoid the need to give up. Once back on the saddle I set off to head through the pass. Today was almost the last straw of my ability to keep moving forward. The whole day I was battered with cold rain and wind around 12000 feet. Up a saddle, down across the face, up to a pass, down a face. Over and over. Best part was the less than 200 foot view at any given time. Not that I was looking around much with being occupied by trying not to e blown off the mountain, keeping my footing and not losing my poncho to the wind. I came around one of the final passes and ran into Joe, whose trail name is Joe Haz No Horse. What a nice surprise. We made it to Spring Creek Pass which drops down out of the mountains. The wearer finally let up slightly and we intended to camp there. At that TH I met Doug and shortly after his hiking partner Chris with dog Zipper. They met through White Blaze to hike together. What a brilliant idea to find a hiking partner. Anyways, some confusion on where the camp spot was lead to Joe and I stopping at a fairly exposed willow area about 5 miles passed where we meant to be. How glad I am to have company tonight as more wind and rain pounds down on us.

Day Sixteen: 26 August 2013
Start: 363 miles 7:30AM 45 degrees
End: 385.5 miles 5:30PM Small Lake (12904′)
22.5 miles
Lowest elevation: 11714′
Highest elevation: 13270′
The last several days have been frustrating, cold, windy, rainy and endless. Today was at last a break in the gloom. It started out cold and foggy. I set a camp spot with Joe the night before. He set out at day break and I slept in. By ten I caught up to him and the sun was out and I could at last take in the incredible scenery surrounding us. I likely took more photos today than the entire rest of the trip. I can only imagine how spectacular yesterday would have been if I had been surrounded in misery haha.
I feel very fortunate to have caught Joe. When things are bringing you down, it is nice having someone to camp with and share sentiments with. We do not actually hike together as we move at different paces, but I don’t mind shorter miles and he has been fine with longer miles, that we pick a camp spot the night before and meet later. He gets going early in the morning and I catch him later. Tonight we are at Small Lake which is at the top of a mountain by a small lake haha, but with stunning views all around. And with the short miles I was there early and actually enjoyed my camp area for once. The sun was out, warm and inviting. Sharing our site for the night were Steve and Tyler, father and son, nobo CT. They likewise were happy to finally have good weather and equally relished in our evening relaxation. The site is exposed, so everything will be covered in cool dew tomorrow, but the pleasantness of tonight truly makes it worth tomorrow’s condensation. And the stars are extra brilliant, possibly because I haven’t seen them in four days!

Day Seventeen: 27 August 2013
Start: 385.5 miles 6:15AM 45 degrees
End:410.5 miles 3:15 PM Silverton (9138′)
25 miles
Lowest elevation: 8900′
Highest elevation: 12950′
I thought yesterday was stunning until today. Literally the most beautiful day of the whole hike. I was on trail just before daylight and had the opportunity to enjoy sunrise at 12000 feet, with golden rays slowing filling the valleys and streams of light suddenly burst over a distant mountain peak. Of all days, today my camera battery died, and my spare had somehow depleted its charge over the last two weeks. Unfortunate but I have mental images and, equally unfortunate, this is not the first time I have missed out or lost photos. In hindsight, my truly brilliant mother pointed out my access to a phone camera, which I will utilize for the remainder of the trip. My mind was a bit focused on making it to the TH in time to hitch to Silverton and beat the 4:30 PM Postal closing time. I had 25 miles and needed to stay focused if I was going to meet that deadline.
Anyways, yesterday and the remaining 10 miles of high altitude this morning were positively breathtaking, yet the 10 miles down Elk Creek valley today vastly shadowed that in splendor. Dropping from 12690′ to 8920,’ I was surrounded in what I consider the epitome of wild, natural landscape. How spectacular! Rivers actively cutting valleys, water seeping from rock faces creating spontaneous waterfalls, everything fertile and teeming with life. The starkness of sheer cliff faces filled brim to brim with lush greenery and constant energy. Pines thickly gathered with the soft and inviting needle floor, like a soft neat to pitch a tent. The multitude of streams colliding into a roaring river. And the occasional canopy gap revealing sharp spires looming above. And I had this wonderland all to myself. Through that entire ten miles stretch I only encountered three small groups of people. And to top off the spellbound ing beauty, I just zoomed down a scree and rock section that opened up on this pond, which somehow incorporated all the raw wild beauty just described, into a single moment, when less than thirty feet from me where a moose cow and bull (fully antlered) basking in the cool waters from the hot sun. A mental image of a lifetime. They both stared at me for a long time with that knowing that I wasn’t going to interfere with their activities and them not able to care less about my presence. I will definitely need to re-traverse the last 50 miles with more time and extra (actually charged) camera batteries. I still have 75 miles left to go too!
At the end of the valley is a final 5 mile uphill, switchback section before reaching the TH. just at the bottom I ran into three young guys, sobo CT all, who were meeting one’s mother at the top for a ride to Silverton. I quickly acquired a spot in the car and we began the last jaunt up. We made it in just under two hours as it started to rain. But I had my ride and made it to the Post before closing time! Joe was likewise coming to Silverton but not on the deadline I was so I went to the hostel, Silverton Inn & Hostel, and laid out my gear to dry, washed clothes, and took a long relaxing shower. Later the hostel owner, Julian, took me back to the TH to pick up Joe. I had expected long before but he took a mistaken 5 mile side trip to a gorgeous lake that set him back two hours. We enjoyed a wonderful supper and cold beer before bed. What a good day. And now only 75 miles left of my trip.

Half way mark! 252.5 miles down and 232.5 miles to go!

I made it to Salida, my halfway mark. My feet are always sore but my legs are getting stronger and my drive is always in gear. Journal entries from the last week:

Day Five: 15 August 2013
Start: 104 miles 12PM
End: 123.5 miles 7:45PM past Guller’s Creek (11000′)
19.5 miles
Lowest elevation: 9199′
Highest elevation: 12482′
I loitered at a coffee shop using power and Internet until the post office opened. After picking up my resupply package I dumped out my whole pack in a corner and reorganized myself. The Post people didn’t seem to mind whatsoever. I decided to go cookless and sent home my stove and suppers, ditched my socks for toe socks, upgraded my plastic bag to a proper poncho, and wrapped a new role of duct tape around my trekking poles. All the running around have me a late start on the trail, but I still squeezed in just under 20 miles.
I camped that night with an older man and his unrelated nephew/grandson character from Tennessee. I cannot remember the man’s trail name (he is an ATer) and the kid’s name was John. They are also sobo CT but moving at half my pace. They were already settled by the time I arrived so we hardly had much conversation, yet I still enjoyed the company. As much as I dislike people, I still appreciate human contact. An interesting conclusion to realize that I crave the company of people but don’t necessarily want anyone around for a long time frame.
Anyways, I literally clbed over the Tenmile Range today and most of the way up the next mountain. Talk about a sense of accomplishment. That is 9199′ up to 12482′, down to 9750′ and back up to 11000′ all in a single afternoon. I even had another day fighting the Breck Epic mountain bikers flying down the mountain as I was trudging up it.
Day Six: 16 August 2013
Start: 123.5 miles 7:30AM 30 degrees
End: 146 miles 6:30PM W Fork Tennessee Creek (10363′)
22.5 miles
Lowest elevation: 9300′
Highest elevation: 12200′
Wildlife notes: lizards, ants, bees, flies, butterflies in droves, pika, marmots (fondly renamed mountain beavers), termites, coyote and sunrise wake up choruses, deer, ducks, cicadas, squirrels, horses, dogs and people. Also enough mushrooms to be a mycologist wonderland.
This morning I realized how much of a dawdler I am. The older gentleman and I left camp at the same time this morning and I blew him away in pace, but then I stopped for breakfast then again to chat with a guy named Eric (I met him the day before in Breckenridge) further up the pass still in camp, and the man caught me. We set out again and I lost him quickly until I stopped for a glorious two hour lunch where he came striding in as I was heading out. I could definitely be moving further if I was more efficient with my time.
However, I had the loveliest lunch today. I came down from Searle and Kokomo Passes into a lush green meadow with the sun inviting a nap. I laid out my gear to dry from the thin coating of frost this morning, bathed in the river, soaked my feet, and ate lunch. It was wonderful. I see now that I need to have more meaningful breaks when pausing from hiking and more focused hiking when on trail.
I saw a six packhorse caravan with two cowboys and a dog today. Very picturesque scene with the old wooden crate chests and weathered appearance of the two men from a bygone age. I stopped early tonight and camped with a young guy my age named Zach from Lakewood below my own suburb. He is a sobo CT hiker but alas hiking slow. He is doing various segments with friends, though, so also limited to the scheduling of his outside parties. For the PCT I wouldn’t want to limit my pace based on someone else unless I really liked them enough for such a compromise. With the popularity of the PCT, though, I suspect I will have more opportunity to hike with a wide range of people.
Still not able to eat all the food in my daily allotted amounts. I will need to work on the food thing. Gear wise, I would equally appreciate a minimizing of things while possibly upping my sleep comforts.
Day Seven: 17 August 2013
Start: 146 miles 9:30AM 60 degrees
End: 171 miles 7:30PM Mill Creek (10357′)
25 miles
Lowest elevation: 10039′
Highest elevation: 11700′
Today I slept in! Instead of my morning breaks I just relaxed and then set out strong. Worked far better than frequent, aimless breaks. I was ten miles in by lunch and caught up to a guy who passede that morning named Dirt Monger. Turns out we have less than six degrees of separation haha. We hiked the rest of the day together. He moves at a 33-35 mile per day pace. I was honored that he would slacken his routine to let me accompany him. It was so much easier to hike with a companion for conversation and forward motivation. We will see how long I can keep up. Dirt Monger has hiked the PCT and CDT, and he is coming into the CT after what he has coined the Vagabond Loop, a 3500 mile connection of the HT (Heyduke Trail), AZT (Arizona Trail), and GET (Grand Enchantment Trail). So clearly an avid thru hiker and rich source of information for me.
We met a nobo CDT section hiker at the end of his 1000 miles this afternoon. His name is Maverick. Also, today was the Leadville 100 trail running race. We camped just past the point where they turn off and head back onto the mountain access roads towards Twin Lakes.
Day Eight: 18 August 2013
Start: 171 miles 7AM 55 degrees
End: 203 miles 8PM Frenchman Creek (11041′)
32 miles
Lowest elevation: 8900′
Highest elevation: 11900′
Dirt Monger and I started out together but split as he headed to Twin Lakes to resupply and I continued forward. We made plans to meet at the same campsite with the understanding the he would likely catch me before then. I felt like I had a slow start, the trail literally walks around 2/3rds of the two lakes before heading back into the mountains. But when I took my hour lunch break at 12:30PM, I was already 17 miles in. I soaked my feet and relaxed before setting out again. Today had two very steep climbs.  I saw a cowboy with two horses who had been out collecting berries and three ladies on horses with two dogs out for a day ride. Dirt Monger caught me after 4PM between the two. The last climb was tough for me. Having someone to motivate me forward is really awesome. I am hoping I can keep up these hard days when I am by myself again.
Day Nine: 19 August 2013
Start: 203 miles 7AM 40 degrees
End: 230 miles 5:15PM Mt Princeton Hot Springs (8195′)
27 miles
Lowest elevation: 8195′
Highest elevation: 11885′
My energy is tiring at Dirt Monger’s pace and distance, but I am feeling good about the miles we cover in so little time. By lunch we already had 17 miles and a big climb under our belts. The whole day has seemed like a long uphill actually. The last ten miles were a ceaseless in and out, up and down, as we winded along drainages into Mt Princeton Hot Springs. This was a resupply point for him. He takes advantage of the little towns directly on trail so he can have as few days’ worth of food as possible, almost slack packing. I am absorbing wise trail beta from the last few days that will help my PCT planning for next summer. We ate supper at the restaurant there. I had a big juicy burger with pepper jack cheese and bacon and sweet potato fries on the side. We split a fried veggie platter to start with too. My hiking hunger has still not really begun yet. In fact, I will arrive at Salida tomorrow with two-three days of extra food. I have not really lost weight so far, so I am not worried about not eating enough, but I do worry for my total energy levels. I will definitely be altering my food choices in the future to better reflect my healthy lifestyle. Good food in will ultimately equal better performance out, regardless of how fast my metabolism becomes and how hard I work at hiking. Plus when thinking about food, I would rather engorge on fatty, filling foods over lots of junky, processed snacks. Everyone hikes their own hike and has their own needs, I am clearly still figuring mine out.
While eating, an extremely genial man named Joe chatted us up. He is likewise hiking the CT sobo. He was taking a relaxing nero at the hot springs resort. It is possible that I will run into him in the future few days. He is capable of the same higher twenties as me. I am stopping in Salida and he in Lake City, but we both end up at Silverton so maybe our paces will overlap somewhere in there. Joe just finished section hiking the PCT last summer and has hiked a lot around his Pacific Northwest stomping grounds. We chatted with him until dark and then set out to find a camping spot. This is a funny twist, Dirt Monger and I were ghost camping on some very comfortable, level cement at the edge of the resort behind a building. We were also cowboy camping and had great views of the sky and mountains. Alas the security guard found us around midnight and we moved across the road to an empty field resulting in lots of morning dew.
Day Ten: 20 August 2013
Start: 230 miles 6:30AM 50 degrees
End: 252.5 miles 3:15PM Salida (7080′)
22.5 miles
Lowest elevation: 8195′
Highest elevation: 10200′
I woke up this morning around 3AM to a brilliant star-filled and crystal clear sky. The moon was full a couple days ago and was still brightly shining. I could hear the howls of coyotes not far off.
Since in an exposed area, we headed out early, shoving dew-covered sleeping bags into our packs. With putting in longer miles I have been sleeping better the past few days.
I was in particularly good spirits today because I only had 23 miles to the Hwy 50 TH and my hitch to Salida, where a real bed, shower, new shoes and laundry were waiting for me! Dirt Monger and I hit the trailhead at 3:15PM, he continued forward and I waited by the road for someone to take pity and pick me up. Dirt Monger is heading to Lake City and may take a zero, but I will still likely never catch up to him again. My saviors of the day were three nice guys heading home after a long day working on putting up a garage. They were heading to Howard but still came all the way into Salida to drop my by the post office. Such sweet guys. I was waited about 15 minutes and numerous vehicles before they stopped for me. I am hoping for good hitching energy since I also plan to hitch in Silverton and again at the end from Durango back to Denver. After collectingy packages I went to the hostel Simple Lodge where the owner John quickly helped me settle in. I took a long, luxurious shower, cleaning the past ten days’ of filth from my skin. I didn’t realize I needed to include the skin out weight of dirt I have been carrying along with me hahaha. The hostel has old clothes people have left behind that I borrowed so I could wash my own clothes and let them dry on the line. I proudly sported old man shorts rolled several times and a large tshirt. I dumped out my pack and reorganized myself at the hostel table, removed a few more items from my pack that do not seem to be as essential as originally thought and slimmed my excessive food supply down to the items I favor more and the amounts I have actually been consuming. I am sending the excess items and food and my old shoes home. How wonderful new shoes feel! I am absolutely delighted I put them at the halfway point. I have been wearing the others for most of my other summer hiking and their padding and tread were becoming dangerously low. These new ones are the exact se pair but ready to boost me through the last half of the hike. There have been quite a few trail registers the past three days and it seems I am a solid two days behind anyone else, thus I will likely be alone again this next half.
I had a wonderful salad, veggie panini and local micro brew beer for supper. Not to mention my pre-supper cookies that I packed in my resupply. Nothing better than homemade cookies with chocolate chips, craisins, walnuts, pecans, almond meal and oats. Mmm! For dessert I ate a pint of my favorite Ben & Jerry’s half baked with crushed [non homemade] cookies from my unfinished trail food. Clean, stuffed, and out of the elements, I am ready for the indulgences of a real bed. Night.
Day Eleven: 21 August 2013
Start: 252.5 miles
End: 252.5 miles Salida (7080′)
Zero Day!
Lowest elevation:
Highest elevation:
After careful consideration this morning, I have decided that a zero day is in order. I contemplated a nero, get a few miles out tonight, but why log insignificant miles when I can have a second night of much desired (and in my opinion, deserved) r&r then make a strong push tomorrow. There wasn’t a question. I suppose this is a mindset I acquired during backpacking South America, but in life you take days off that are completely unproductive and it is ok. You should not push yourself every second of every day because then you are missing out on a whole different side to taking advantage of life. Living every moment to the fullest includes times when you take you time, maybe especially includes you time.
Regardless, my tired feet are enjoying the break. I still walked a couple miles today just wondering around Salida. I hope to make a strong push the last half of the trip and keep the bigger miles up, this making this rest essential. 🙂 Ten days and 252.5 miles down, ten days and 232.5 miles to go. Total happiness. I am excited for the PCT and all future endeavors.
Tentative mileage for rest of trip:
Day 12: Road #578, mile 280.4, 28 mi day
Day 13: Road #864, mile 311.4, 31 mi day
Day 14: E Mineral Creek Trail #593, mile 345, 33.5 mi day
Day 15: Tributary Stream, mile 377, 32 mi day
Day 16: Animas River, mile 406, 29 mile day
Day 17: Molas Pass/Silverton, mile 410.5, resupply, Engineer Mtn Trail #508, mile 421, 15 mi day
Day 18: Scenic Overlook, mile 455, 34 mi day
Day 19: Junction Creek TH, mile 485, 30 mi day

104 miles down, 381 miles to go

Last night I officially made it to Breckenridge. Woot! 104 miles complete. My feet have never been so sore and my legs stiffen up if I stop moving too long. Anyways, below are my journal entries from the last four days.

Day One: 11 August 2013
Start: 0 miles 10AM
End: 23 miles 7PM past Raleigh Peak Rd #538 (7687′)
23 miles
Lowest elevation: 5522′
Highest elevation: 7700′

My wonderful friend Galen took me to the trailhead. If trying to take the bus, note that it is a weekday commuter bus only with extremely limited run times in the early AM and late PM. Anyways, the hike begins in Waterton Canyon. The first 6.5 miles are along a wide dirt road that is heavily frequented by cyclists/mtn bikers. Once out of that section it becomes quite beautiful. Though still heavy with mtn bikers. I wandered through a wild raspberry patch before an afternoon shower around 4PM that lasted an hour. No new blisters but taping up old ones. Good day but more rain during the night. Glad I brought a book and EXTREMELY glad Ryan gave me a tent lesson before I left, or I may have been soaked all night…

Day Two: 12 August 2013
Start: 23 miles 8AM
End: 49 miles 7:30PM Brookside McCurdy Trail (10199”)
26 miles
Lowest elevation: 7400′
Highest elevation: 10600′

Met two older gentlemen who I passed the previous evening before setting camp. They are section hiking the CT to Kenosha Pass. Very nice. Again the trail is fairly heavy with mtn bikers. Everyone has been quite friendly though. Crossed paths with several on there way back and numerous told me I was making good time. I have decided that since I hadn’t planned to make so many miles the first day that I will simply flush out my mileage on the whole trip and make each day a bit easier. Heavy rain with hail for about an hour at 1PM. Cold evening. Stove won’t stay lit. I attempted to eat fettuccini that would make al dente seem soggy. 

Day Three: 13 August 2013
Start: 49 miles 7AM 30 degrees
End: 76 miles 6:30PM Deadman Creek (10164′)
27 miles
Lowest elevation: 9500′
Highest elevation: 10900′

Lots of rain last night! I barely slept with lightening cracking all around me. This morning everything was heavy with not quite still frozen rain. Stunning light and fog as the sun slowly crept into the river valley. Unfortunately my shoes and legs were soaking wet for most of the morning as I brushed past the dew laden plant life. Finally crossed more hikers than mountain bikers. But the sporadic afternoon rain storm caused some to hunker down early. I am a bit tired of the 1-2 hour rain breaks each day and decided to just keep moving. My feet were still wet from the morning anyways. Unfortunately they are now resembling pruned feet despite being hours later and quite warm and dry. This may not go away. No new blisters beyond rubbing of tape on the outer toes. I am planning to switch back to toe socks in Breckenridge. Not sure why I thought regular socks would suffice after spending the past year training with VFF shoes, zero drop tail shoes, and toe socks the whole way. Ran into a nice man named Nick Williams. He is a triple crowner, meaning a completer of the AT, PCT, and CDT, respectively in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. He had heaps of interning stories and taught me about the local plants, of which most I have already forgotten. Deciding to finish my day and camp with him solidified my decision to add a day into my planned 20 rather than catch up to my original hiking agenda. I am delighted at the prospects of meeting other hikers over trying to meet some daily quota. There is a simplicity to hiking because you already know what you will de each day. I have also planned my meals, so I additionally know what I am eating. I only have one outfit thus removing the decision of attire. Yet each day brings new challenges, new discoveries, new mind sets, new adventures. I have loads more thinking time than is sometimes healthy for my over-analytical mind, but I am looking forward to the challenges of something that won’t end in a few short weeks (PCT excitement for next summer!). Already raining, off to sleep.

Day Four: 14 August 2013
Start: 76 miles 7AM 35 degrees
End: 104 miles 6:30PM dog park in Breckenridge (9199′)
28 miles
Lowest elevation: 9199′
Highest elevation: 11898′

Today seemed like the longest day yet. I made it into Breckenridge, part of what made it seem long I suppose. Knowing I had a set destination rather than the ability to park wherever was frustrating. Especially so when I made it to town towards evening to find no local camping (walkable distances) and literally every lodging option booked full. I was already aware of the Breck Epic and Epic Enduro mtn biking competitions going on that day as I was trying to make it up my second 11,000′ peak that day I was constantly confronted with speeding mtn bikers on their way down… Anyways, lots of other joys and drama. I washed my clothes at a laundry mat (I wore my puffy down jacket and sleeping bag to be “clothed” while my sole outfit had better smells worked into them), ate a whole pizza, drank a couple beers, and pitched my tent at the edge of a dog park. After enquiring with people at the restaurant, I could have walked to the ski lift and found trees but that was off my map and up to two miles away whereas the dog park was a mere three blocks. I honestly think this was my best sleep yet too. And NO RAIN! This morning I am picking up my resupply from the Post and the I will be off. I have decided to forego my stove and do cookless meals. Not sure why the flame won’t stay lit. I haven’t necessarily been hungry for supper anyways, and I already have added snacks in this first resupply as I was upping my calories. Not sure I want the bulk of the stove anyways.
Alright, that’s it for now. Starting day five and will check back in at Salida a week from now. I have updated my mileage agenda below:
Day 5
Janet’s Cabin at 125 miles (21mi day)
Day 6
Timberline at 153 mi (28mi)
Day 7
Trailhead @ 181.4 (28mi)
Day 8
Three Elk Trail #1445 @206 (25 mi)
Day 9
Raspberry Gulch Rd #273 @236 (30 mi)
Hwy 50/Salida then however far I make it that evening. Up to mile 261 (<25 mi)
Day 11
Join Rd #243 at 265 mi (at least 11i)
Day 12
Baldy Lake @289 (24 mi)
Day 13 
Rd #864 @311 (22 mi)
Day 14
Stewart Creek Trail #470 @337 (26 mi)
Day 15
Spring Creek Pass @357 (20 miles)
Day 16 
Small Lake @386 (29 mi)
Day 17
Molas Pass/Silverton @410.5 (25 mi) and try to stay a night there not in a dog park…
Day 18
Cascade Creek at 425 (15 miles)
Day 19
Big Bend Trail #519 at 449 mi (24 mi)
Day 20 Just before Dry Fork Trail #616 at 476 mi (25)
Day 21
Junction Creek TH; THE END! At 485 (9mi) then hitch hike back to Denver

CT gear list

Here’s the final list that made the cut:

Setup Brand Name/Description qty grams
Sleep System
Bag Western Mountaineering 6′ Caribou MicroLite XP Microfiber 1 609
Pad Gossamer Gear Nightlight, closed cell, 19x29x3/4″ 1 137
Pillow/Bag stuff sack Sea to Summit 9L stuff sack w/ extra clothes as padding 1 20
Shelter
Tarptent rain fly, bug net, pole, 4 steaks 1 770
Ground Cloth Gossamer Gear Polycro Ground Cloth, 40×96″ 1 45
Pack
Frameless Mountain Laurel Designs 3300ci Exodus Women’s with Pack Pocket Dyneema X 1 422
Pack Liner Hefty trash compactor bag 1 62
Clothing Carried
Insulated Jacket Patagonia 800fill down 1 302
Rain Jacket poncho; rain jacket and bag cover, emergency shelter 1 52
Warm Hat Buff UV Buff and Insect Shield; head warmer, neck/face guard, water filter, cozy 1 40
Gloves Seirus All Weather (check for <1.5oz) 1 48
Rain Mitts dog poop bags; double as feet bags if snow 2 6
Socks Ice Breaker mini running socks -1 on person, 1 in pack, 2 in resupply, 4 pairs in total 1 57
Unders Patagonia Barely Bikini Briefs; double as swim layer (one on person) 1 15
On Person
Sun hat REI very cute gardening hat 1 100
S/S Base Layer Smartwool tank 1 76
L/S Base Layer Columbia Insect Blocker l/s 1 165
Pants REI nylon convertibles 1 334
Socks Ice Breaker mini running socks -1 on person, 1 in pack, 2 in resupply, 4 pairs in total 1 53
Shoes Saucony Catalyst size 9 -I in resupply, 2 pairs total, 8oz/pair 1 490
Gaiters Dirty Girl Gaiters Hyponatremia 1 30
Unders Patagonia Barely Bikini Briefs; double as swim layer (spare in pack) 1 15
Bra Patagonia double as swim wear 1 64
Trekking Poles Leki Lhasa Lite women’s (duct tape under handles) 2 550
Camera Bag Opteka CSLR-50 Neoprene Stretchy Wrap 1 151
Camera Nikon D3100 with strap and 64GB memory card 1 825
Sunglasses generic sunnies 1 28
Sunglasses Bag zip lock and micro fiber cloth (doubles for camera lens) 1 6
Clock Timex Ironman edition, 50 lap recorder to record moving times 1 27
Guide Book Erik the Black’s Pocket Guide Book in zip lock 1 118
Journal Rite in Rain 3×5″ (minus some pages) 1 39
Pen generic click pen 1 4
Cook System
Spork Sea to Summit AlphaLight Spork 1 12
Stove System JetBoil SOL: mug/pot, lid, cozy, stove, pot grabber, igniter 1 306
Fuel Canister MSR 110mL: boils 10L, 0.5L/supper=20day supply(altitude decreases), 16 supper total 1 210
cook stuff sack Sea to Summit dry sack 0.4L (hangable) 1 15
Water Bottle generic plastic bottle 1L 2 75
Extra Water generic plastic bottle 0.7L; good for drink mixes 1 30
Water Treatment Aqua Mira liquid 1 86
Food Bag/Line Sea to Summit dry sack 20L and 50′ nylon cord 1 150
Trash Bag 2 nested gallon zip locks (ideas: nylobarrier sack) 2 19
Vitamins x20 daily, x20 vitamin B, in snack zip lock 1 76
Food following page…
Essentials
1st Aid Neosporin 1 22
1st Aid Ibuprofen x40 Ibuprofen, x14 allergy, in snack zip lock 1 17
1st Aid O.B. tampons in snack zip lock 10 19
1st Aid ear swabs 10 total: supply packs (1)4, (2)2, (3)2, (4)2 4 2
1st Aid sterile wipes 2 pkg 2 6
1st Aid bandaids 2 small, 2 large 4 3
Repair needle and thread 1 1
Repair super glue 1 7
Repair safety pins 1 large, 2 small 3 1
Repair duct tape on each trekking pole below handles (under carried weight) 6′
Repair knife Leatherman Style keychain tool: tweezers, knife, scissors, file, screw driver 1 23
Repair matches water/wind proof and striker 4 4
Repair mini Bic lighter childproof removed 1 11
Toiletries tooth brush half version 1 13
Toiletries tooth paste mini tube 1 28
Toiletries floss doubles as thread 1 9
Toiletries comb 1 42
Toiletries toilet paper in zip lock 1 119
Toiletries hand sanitizer mini bottle with TP (in hip pouch) 1 34
Toiletries Insect repellant in snack zip lock 1 48
Toiletries chapstick  (in hip pouch) 1 13
Toiletries eye drops  (in hip pouch) 1 23
Toiletries sun block  (in hip pouch) 1 36
Miscellaneous
Camera Battery generic as backup 2 92
Phone/GPS/Music iPhone 4s no covers, with charger,  in zip lock 1 183
Identification ID, credit card, debit card, cash 1 32
Headlamp Black Diamond Storm Headlamp, fresh batteries (possibly one <0.8oz, red light, fewer batteries?) 1 110
Compass/Thermometer tiny keychain with both, extraneous but personal interest 1 9
Book entertainment 🙂 1 486
g lbs
Base Weight 4957 10.92832325
Consumables 5239 11.55002734
Pack Weight 10196 22.47835059
Gear Worn 3075 6.779220092
Skin Out 13271 29.25757068

CT trail mileage agenda

This is tentative as you can plan and plan and plan, but the second you step onto the trail all things change…

Date Trip Day Daily Mileage Total Mileage Camp Location Notes
11-Aug 1 getting to trail, hike some mileage
12-Aug 2 28 28 Little Scraggy TH
13-Aug 3 29 57 Long Gulch TH
14-Aug 4 31 88 before Middle Fork Swan River
15-Aug 5 21 104 & 109 Goldhill TH: free bus to Breckinridge; Miners Creek Post 8-17:00 Thurs
16-Aug 6 25 134 Cataract Creek
17-Aug 7 24 158 past Busk Creek
18-Aug 8 29 187 past Lost Canyon Rd #398
19-Aug 9 29 216 past Avalanche TH near Cottonwood Creek
20-Aug 10 32 248 N Fork Bridge
21-Aug 11 10 252 & 258 Hwy 50: walk/hitch to Salida; S Foose Creek #3 Post 7:30-17:00 Wed; laundry, shower
22-Aug 12 28 286 before Cochetapa Hills lookout
23-Aug 13 31 317 past Rd #787.2D TH
24-Aug 14 29 346 Middle Mineral Creek
25-Aug 15 21 367 past rd junction and side trip water source 20 mile section no water
26-Aug 16 26 393 past Cunningham Gulch Trail #502
27-Aug 17 18 411 Molas Pass-Hwy 550: shuttle or walk/hitch to Silverton; Cascade Creek Post 8:30-17 Tues; laundry, shower
28-Aug 18 14 425 return to trail; Cascade Creek–extra day to catch up/slow down
29-Aug 19 27 452 past Salt Creek Trail #559 and past Orphan Butte
30-Aug 20 24 476 before Dry Fork Trail #616
31-Aug 21 9 485 Junction Creek TH, maybe hitch into Durango END; hitch a ride home
TOTALS 485

CT food supply list

Food Supply List

Calories oz
Breaky 300 3/4 c Grapenuts
130 1/4 c granola
140 1/4 c Craisins
160 4 tbsp whole milk powder
0 vitamin B 100 & Daily vitamin
Lunch 70 Salmon
70 Tuna (plain)
80 Lemon Pepper Tuna
110 Hickory Smoked Tuna
110 Herb & Garlic Tuna
250 SPAM
125 1 Triscuit crackers
160 2 pkgs mozarella string cheese
Supper 720 1 pkg meal: potatoes, rice, pasta
bacon bits
960 8 olive oil (120cal/oz)
0 8 Cholula
Choc milk/powdered milk mix (1 tbsp)
20 EmergenC pkg
Drinks 210 PopTart – Strawberry
210 PopTart – Chocolate chip
Snacks 200 PopTart – Raspberry
200 PopTart – Smore
540 4 GORP: cashews, almonds, raisins, peanut M&Ms
390 salty mix
330 Nutty Bars
170 Keebler chocolate chip cookies pkg
190 Keebler pecan shortbread cookie pkg
200 Keebler fudge stripe cookie pkg
200 CLIF Shot Bloks
235 Raw Revolution Bars
160 Slim Jim (4 sticks)
This is not exact to what I just mailed myself today, but it approximately accurate. I threw in some extra home made cookies, Clif Shot Bloks, Clif Builder’s Bars, and other snacky items.
My meal agenda:
Date Trip Day Snack 1 Breaky Snack 2 Snack 3 Snack 4 Lunch Snack 5 Supper Dessert Drinks CALORIES
11-Aug 1 Grapenut mix GORP Tuna choc chip cookie Pasta RawRev bar
12-Aug 2 Grapenut mix GORP salty mix Tuna choc chip cookie Rice RawRev bar 1875
13-Aug 3 Grapenut mix GORP salty mix Lemon Tuna pecan cookie Pasta RawRev bar 3170
14-Aug 4 Grapenut mix GORP salty mix Salmon pecan cookie Potatoes RawRev bar EmergenC 3180
15-Aug 5 Grapenut mix GORP salty mix Lemon Tuna pecan cookie (in Breckenridge) 2415
16-Aug 6 PopTart-rasp Grapenut mix GORP salty mix Tuna pecan cookie Rice RawRev bar 3360
17-Aug 7 PopTart-smore Grapenut mix GORP salty mix Slim Jims Lemon Tuna choc stripe cookie Pasta RawRev bar 3540
18-Aug 8 PopTart-rasp Grapenut mix GORP salty mix Slim Jims Salmon choc stripe cookie Potatoes RawRev bar EmergenC 3550
19-Aug 9 PopTart-smore Grapenut mix GORP salty mix Slim Jims Lemon Tuna choc stripe cookie Rice RawRev bar EmergenC 3560
20-Aug 10 Grapenut mix GORP salty mix Slim Jims Lemon Tuna choc stripe cookie Potatoes RawRev bar EmergenC 3360
21-Aug 11 Grapenut mix GORP Tuna Nutty Bars (in Salida) 1270
22-Aug 12 PopTart-straw Grapenut mix GORP salty mix Slim Jims Garlic Tuna Nutty Bars Potatoes RawRev bar 3710
23-Aug 13 PopTart-choc Grapenut mix GORP salty mix Slim Jims Hickory Tuna Nutty Bars Rice RawRev bar EmergenC 3730
24-Aug 14 PopTart-straw Grapenut mix GORP salty mix Slim Jims Garlic Tuna Nutty Bars Pasta RawRev bar EmergenC 3730
25-Aug 15 PopTart-choc Grapenut mix GORP salty mix Slim Jims Hickory Tuna Nutty Bars Potatoes RawRev bar 3710
26-Aug 16 PopTart-straw Grapenut mix GORP salty mix Slim Jims Garlic Tuna Nutty Bars Rice RawRev bar EmergenC 3730
27-Aug 17 Grapenut mix GORP salty mix SPAM (in Silverton) 2195
28-Aug 18 (in Silverton) GORP Hickory Tuna Nutty Bars Pasta RawRev bar 2220
29-Aug 19 PopTart-choc Grapenut mix GORP salty mix Slim Jims Garlic Tuna Nutty Bars Potatoes RawRev bar EmergenC 3730
30-Aug 20 PopTart-straw Grapenut mix GORP salty mix Slim Jims SPAM Nutty Bars Rice RawRev bar 3850
31-Aug 21 PopTart-choc Grapenut mix GORP salty mix Hickory Tuna 1875