Friday, November 28, 2014

day twelve: Miner's Creek to Copper Mountain, 8/23/14

8 or so miles

got a late start due to rainstorms.  today's hike will take us up and over the Ten Mile Range and down into Copper, and hopefully even further past the resort.

with the rain we considered hiking back down the Peaks Trail and taking the Summit Stage over to Copper, skipping the mountain pass.  as nice as that sounded, our goal is to complete the entire trail and we didn't want to skip this part.

we started the day's hike when the rain stopped for a bit.  the trail up to the top of the Ten Mile Range is steep, definitely the hardest thing we've hiked yet.  it also doesn't help that our backpacks are super full and heavy.

this day was my low point on the trail, I was having a hard time climbing, breathing, and just keeping my shit together emotionally.  the weather was windy and rainy, but without thunder and lightning so we kept trucking, actually C trucked - I cried and moved way too slowly.

as we got to the top of the ridge, the wind picked up and it started to downpour.  I was in a horrible place both mentally and physically, C had to push and yell to get me moving - and it worked.  I shut my head off and hauled across the ridge and down the other side of the mountain.

I was miserable, but thankful for C, and for my new sturdier raincoat.  we made it down to the parking lot at Copper and had a snack and discussed the plans for the day.  we decided to make it to the resort, get lunch and pull it together.

after a few miles of hiking across Copper and next to their golf course we make it to the resort and settle in to eat lunch.  we decide to get a room for the night, there's still more rain, and the temp is almost freezing.  we feel bad about this decision at the time, but in retrospect it was a turning point in our trip.

I wish I had been able to take pics at the top of the range, but this is all I got for the day.

I'm looking forward to hiking from Breckenridge to Copper in the future, with less weight and on a sunny day.  this terrain was amazing and I want to be able to enjoy it and reverse my negative memory of it!

day eleven: Breckenridge to Miner's Creek, 8/22/14

6 miles

had a nice slow and warm morning at the Fireside Inn.  ate breakfast, grabbed sandwiches for lunch, and made all final preparations for departure. 

the weather has started to change and this will be the beginning of a couple weeks of lots of rain.

we dropped off a package to send home to the post office and got on the Summit Stage bus by the gondola.  the trail picks up at Gold Hill.

at this point I'm feeling cold and nervous about the incoming storms and sad to be leaving the comforts of town with a HEAVY backpack.  I might have been fighting back tears the entire hike.

the trail out is pretty miserable, there is lots of beetle kill trees and deforestation, along with giant construction vehicles clearing out the forest.  luckily, C is motivated and is keeping me moving and trying to keep my head up.

our campsite is underneath the Ten Mile Range.  we get to sleep early, due to rain. 

not my pic (if I had taken one it would've been grey and wet and sad)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

day ten: Breckenridge rest day, 8/21/14

0 miles

slept in, ate lots of food, organized our shit, relaxed, had a smoothie, and watched Shangai Noon - which I also didn't like because it made no sense and I guess I'm not into wild west train fights.  very important.

day nine: above Horshoe Gulch to Breckenridge, 8/20/14

6 miles

still feeling rough in the morning, but I was so excited to get to Breckenridge that I could've run this 6 miles with my giant pack.  maybe.  in retrospect, yes.

pretty easy 6, mostly downhill.  really not much to report except shit tons of beetle kill trees.

we caught the Summit Stage bus at Tiger Run and headed into town.  we stayed at the Fireside Inn, which is lovely and adorable and weird.  we showered, took a bath, and sat in a hot tub.  then ate, and ate, and ate.  and then watched A Fish Called Wanda, which I did not like because I found Kevin Kline annoying.  should I turn this into a movie review blog? 

day eight: Georgia Pass to east of Horshoe Gulch, 8/19/14

18 miles

we were super excited to get up and over Georgia Pass, and got an earlier than usual start.  we also wanted to avoid an inevitable thunderstorm at altitude with no tree protection.

the hike up the pass was amazing, meadows with wild flowers, crazy high mountain views, a little snow pack, some insane jeep roads (seriously, how the fuck do you get up here with a jeep?), and beautiful forests.  we were stoked.

Mt. Goyot, aside Georgia Pass

mountain meadows

cresting the pass
trees and mountains and sky all day

we headed down Georgia Pass and met a man that looked like our old neighbor Ralph.  so there's that.  when you see about 3 people a day, that's notable.  after the pass we headed up another giant hill where we had views of Keystone and Breckenridge, once we started to head down the west side.  

as we started to descend I started to bonk pretty hard.  I had a headache, chills, and nausea. this was definitely due to not getting enough calories.  after we set up the tent, C cooked dinner and took care of me while I warmed up and rested.  we know at this point we have 6 miles to Breckenridge where we'll have two nights at the Fireside Inn and able to refuel.

day seven: Johnson Gulch to Georgia Pass, 8/18/14

14 miles

beautiful warm sunny morning on the hill next to Johnson Gulch.  the morning stayed warm while we hiked to Kenosha Pass, where I got super homesick and wanted to catch a ride home to see my dog.

Lamar hiking with us on a yurt trip earlier this summer, best mountain bulldog ever

the great part about Kenosha Pass was that we were able to eat lunch at a picnic table and throw out 5 days worth of trash.  truly exciting.  we filled our water up at the campground on the west side of 285 and carried too much water for the rest of the day.  our water filter at this point has been a hand pumper and it takes too much time to fill up what we need, so we took advantage of the spigot at the campground and suffered the rest of the afternoon.

after Kenosha Pass we hit Miller Creek, which is beautiful and reminiscent of the Kancamangus in NH.  Miller Creek also marks the start of the climb over Georgia Pass, which will be our first time (of a million) up and over the Continental Divide.

we camped about halfway up the pass in an area with quite a few bear prints.  but we yelled and found that we had a neighbor - an older gentleman named Fred who was hiking from Kenosha Pass to Breckenridge, solo.  

went to bed, prepping for a big day tomorrow.

 somewhere east of Kenosha Pass

Monday, October 13, 2014

day six: Brookside-McCurdy to Johnson Gulch, 8/17/14

16 miles

cold cold cold cold morning.  holy cow.  walked around camp wearing my sleeping bag while trying to warm up.

each day we're working up our mileage.  while planning we decided to take the first portion slow.  we hadn't backpacked any major mileage for years, and wanted to ensure that we didn't get injured or destroy ourselves by going out too fast too soon (in the next few days, we'll run into people whose partners had to drop out because they started doing 20 miles a day cold)

the hike up the brook and through the gulch is beautiful, but monotonous and at the kind of incline that kills me: not super steep, but steep enough to hurt for 6-7 miles.  listened to Hannibal Burress' comedy album, which made me crave chicken fingers and french fries. ok.

once we got to the top of the gulch guess what we did? we went down!  down a bunch of dry switchbacks until we entered segment 5 and headed back into Lost Creek Wilderness.

the wilderness alternated between dense forest, meadows, and aspen groves.  it was beautiful, but endless.  we were so excited to get out of it, to finally feel like we made some progress.

we came to a road and saw a group of folks picnicking, they hollered to us and told us they were Colorado Trail volunteers doing some work for the weekend.  they fed us fresh watermelon, gave us homemade energy bars, and a bag of milano cookies - and a CT bandana for C!  this was a huge pick me up and we were so grateful.  

after we left them we had a few miles to our campsite above Johnson Gulch.  climbed up, set up camp fast - due to impending thunderstorm, and chowed on dinner and cookies.

day five: Craig Creek to Brookside-McCurdy, 8/16/14

5 miles

our first really cold morning of the trip, and we're only at 9400 ft.  at this point, I'm nervous about the temperature for all our high altitude days.

got an early enough start to get in 5 miles by noon.  but by noon, i was toast.  we didn't have water at the campsite last night, so we started the day a little dehydrated.  this was also the first day i had no appetite, but was also super hungry.  very happy for a short day, to rest and fuel up.

the hike for today continued up the log road, and through a very dense wet forest.  lots of mushrooms.

C found an amazing site with a  creek, waterfall, sitting area, and tent area - and excellent views of the valley.  we set up camp, washed our clothes and ourselves, and i climbed into tent and napped hard for an hour.  this area seemed to be a good place for day mountain bikers to get in a good ride. 

C puttered around and made repairs and cleaned while i read Tasteful Nudes by Dave Hill and John Muir.

views of the valley

drying clothes at camp

John Muir is a maniac

day four: Morrison Creek to Lost Creek, 8/15/14

14 miles

nice easy start to the day, working down to Buffalo Creek.

ate lunch at the river, soaked feet, prepped for climb.  climb turned out to be super hot, sunny, and pretty exposed.  i hiked with headphones, listening to music, and it made the climb much more manageable.

sat and ate lunch at Rolling Creek TH and entered into segment 4.

segment 4 starts with a solid climb up an old rocky logging road.  it started to rain, of course, so we suited up.  the trail worked it's way through a giant aspen grove, which shined yellow while we hiked through sun showers.  these sun showers became one of the our high points on the trail, they were beautiful.

camped on a ridge at Craig Creek.  planned a zero day for tomorrow, but we're going to move a few miles to a more open campsite and take a short day.

Scraggy Peak
C keeping us legal and getting a permit at Lost Creek

 the logging road, if only I had taken a picture during the sunshowers

Thursday, August 21, 2014

day three: Buffalo Creek Burn Area to Morrison Creek, 8/14/14

12 miles

woke up in gully, dry!

hiking through burn area was obviously v hot and sun exposed.  lots of caterpillars. lots of looking at the ground, to avoid staring into sun.

as we hit the second portion of the burn area it started to drizzle and the sun went away.  this area was beautiful and we were happy to enjoy it with some cloud cover.

this is either little or long scraggy peak.

made it to the Buffalo Creek Fire Station and filled up our water.  thunder and lightning started up so we rain geared up and hustled into the woods.

sun came out. basically the moment you put on your pack cover and rain gear the sun will come out.

little scraggy trail was nice, had hiked this before in the winter and hated it, for some reason, but it's now lush.

set up camp at Morrison Creek, campsite  had a cave that we peered into, but stayed out of.

 C hydrating. sun out, pack cover on.

gear upgrades.

luckily our first stop is in Breckenridge which will be the biggest town we see until Durango.  we decided that some of our gear could be better so we've switched out the following:

- water filter: we have a pump which we've used for years, but have seen a few lighter and faster options.  pills would be the lightest but I'm not stoked about adding chemicals to our water, so we've opted for a gravity filter.

- rain coat: this is the piece of clothing I had the hardest time with, because I wanted something worth it's weight- and I didn't think it would rain a lot. our old rain gear was bought on clearance and it's too big.  before we left I bought a very lightweight rain coat, water resistant not waterproof.  after being caught in a few storms and it soaking me through, I went to Columbia and got a legit waterproof coat.  I've kept my old rain pants because I bet they'll get worn once (maybe), because replacements cost $170 at Patagonia, and because they're neon orange.

- sleeping pads: fuck mummy everything.  our bags are hourglass shaped, so a hybrid btw a mummy and a standard rectangle. I sleep best on my stomach with one leg flamingo'ed out.  the last week I've spent as much time on my pad asleep as off, the mummy doesn't work- so we got some rectangular lightweight ones to fix that.  wide and long.

- pants: purchased a pair of fleece leggings to wear over long underwear at camp.  it's just getting colder and higher.

- gloves: sent home my basic winter gloves and upgraded to a warm fleece lined waterproof pair- for the rainstorms.

- snacks: the last 2 days I started to bonk, I was def not eating enough.  so, we resupplied with way more denser snacks.  the bummer is that we're starting the next segment with heavy loads and some heavy climbs.  

eating (not enough) snacks on Boulder Ridge.

trail reads.

tales about doing it with trees?

day two: Bear Creek to west of Platte, in burn area, 8/13/14

about 10 miles.

late start after the first tent night, it's always an adjustment.

met a few other thru hikers and thru bikers.  mtn biking the whole trail would be a blast, one guy said he planned on 12 days to do it.

heading out of Bear Creek was hot and humid, which meant lots of wild raspberries growing along side trail- which we ate up.

ate lunch at Platte river and soaked our feet.  at this point I had 8 fucking blisters. and I did break my boots in.

after lunch we headed into segment two of the trail through the Buffalo Creek Burn Area.  once we climbed up, the weather changed and we got caught in a lighting rainstorm, so we hung out in a gully for an hour before moving on.

as we moved on - the area became more exposed and the storm came back, so we set up camp for the night in another gully.  we trenched out our tent in case of downpours.

cheebie crossing the Platte.

our gully campsite, so we don't get struck by ⚡️⚡️.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

John Muir is a maniac

day one: Waterton Canyon to Bear Creek, August 12, 2014

9 easy miles, easy in retrospect. 

v hot and sunny in canyon, it's August, it's expected.

Bear Creek is pretty small at this point, not like Lair o' Bear creek.

v anxious to start and leave for 40 days, but felt good to get a move on.

big horn sheep not giving a shit:

c and me, fisheye, an ode to Missy Elliot and Puff Daddy.


made it to breck! 104 miles hiked.  

Monday, August 11, 2014

clothes, packed.

3 x tshirts
1 x hiking pants
1 x hiking shorts
1 x long john pants
1 x long john shirt
1 x down coat
1 x fleece coat
1 x rain coat
1 x rain pant
1 x sun hat
1 x snow hat
1 x gloves
4 x socks
4 x undies/bras
1 x swimsuit
3 x headband
2 x bandana
1 x belt
1 x crocs

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

boot conditioning.

our last 12 months.

gear roll call.

shared gear between c and me:
tent (nemo losi)
stove (jetboil)
kitchen utensils
cooking gear
emergency kit
solar charger for phone
repair kit
bear canister x 2
water filter

my gear:
backpack (gregory deva 70)
sleeping bag (nemo nocturne)
sleeping pad (thermarest)
first aid kit
hygiene kit (toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, sunscreen, soap...)
pack cover
hiking pole
clothes - t shirts, long underwear, jackets, bandanas, buffs, undies, bathing suit, rain gear, hat, gloves, sun hat, shorts, pants
hiking boots
camp shoes
notebook + books to read
water bottles + camelbak

if it's not listed, I probably just forgot to type it.  our shit is tight.

north fork canadian yurt:

Monday, August 4, 2014

resupply boxes sent!

snacks on snacks on snacks

resupply 1: Breckenridge / miles from Denver: 105
resupply 2: Twin Lakes / miles from Denver: 175
resupply 3: Mt. Princeton Hot Springs / miles from Denver: 230
resupply 4: Lake City / miles from Denver 358
resupply 5: Silverton / miles from Denver 410

also pictured: our very orange bedroom and baseball bat for intruders!

oh hey.

blog a log.

hiking the Colorado Trail from 8/12-9/20 ish/2014

can't wait.

maybe I'll post pics here while we're hiking, maybe I'll post pics on my twitter (

peace and love,