And I Would Walk 500 Miles… Honeymoon in Review: The Colorado Trail

 

 

 

Some of you may already know that we’re doing ‘his & hers’ honeymoons.  ‘His’: hike 484 miles from Denver to Durango on the Colorado Trail (CT) in six weeks.  ‘Hers’: head somewhere exotic-ish, where beds and showers are available on a daily basis.  (Thank you, Jeremy, for the suggestion that ‘hers’ involve six weeks of foot massages…)

[His honeymoon came first, because (a) this was the perfect season to go, and (b) it was within our current budget.]

 

The CT is a very well established and maintained (by volunteers) trail that cuts through six national forests, six wilderness areas, five major river systems, and eight of Colorado’s mountain ranges.  It is stunningly gorgeous~~dramatic peaks, dense aspen and pine forests, and wide open meadows.  We were blessed with great weather~~a few afternoon thunderstorms early in the trail, a few snow/graupel showers late in the trail, and only one genuine snowstorm.  Along the way, we met many a mountain biker, a good lot of hunters, a few other hikers, and many friendly locals.  In the towns where we stopped, we reveled in the joy of laundry, showers with soap and free motel shampoos, beds, t.v.s, and meals that did not consist of dried fruits, nuts & seeds, and were not re-hydrated.  It was bliss.

Here’s a rundown of our FANTASTIC time on the Colorado Trail:

Start: 23 August 2008, Waterton Canyon, Denver (ok, Lakewood) CO

Finish: 02 October 2008, Junction Creek, Durango CO

Total days: 42

Re-supply stops:  Bailey, Jefferson, Frisco, Buena Vista, Twin Lakes, Leadville, Monarch Pass, Creede, Silverton

Animals seen: squirrels, chipmunks, cows, mule deer, white-tailed deer, moose (one bull), elk (one dead with its hunter, followed by MANY herds), black bear (one, from a distance), coyote, pikas, marmots, vols, lizards, snake (one, dead)

Animal evidence seen, sans the animal: beaver dams, badger holes, bear scat & tracks, horse poo!

Animals we really wanted to see, but didn’t: bighorn sheep, mountain goats

We took a total of 3 zero days: Labor Day in Frisco, waiting for the post office to open; a rainy Sunday in Creede, waiting for the post office to open and tending to an important task; and a well-needed rest day on a Saturday in Silverton (one of these may not really count, as it involved a 9 mile roundtrip walk/run to retrieve a lost wedding ring (there’ll be a separate post on this adventure for details).  

At the beginning of the trip, we were hiking around an average of about 10-12 miles a day, usually ending in the early afternoon because of the threat/presence of thunderstorms.  Towards the end, we rocked out about 14-16 miles a day.  Our biggest day was 19.5 miles, very eager to get into town for burgers and ribs.

(We owe our mileage to very comfortable shoes for both of us: New Balance sneaks for M, Saucony sneaks for C.  Blister-free for nearly the whole trail!  *One blister each after the snow day, probably due to wet/frozen/thawed socks and shoes.*)

We were very thankful for two occasions of ‘trail magic’: a soda cache on what might’ve been a long dry stretch, and a beer and water cache on what was indeed a very long dry stretch.  The community around thru-hiking is just incredible.  These two caches were provided by veterans of long trails, and were a truly welcome sight.

There are few honeymoons where you come out in better shape than you went in.  This was one of them.

Probably, there are few honeymoons where you regularly go to be around 8pm.  This was one of them.  (9pm is ‘hiker midnight.’  One night, C was in bed by 7pm…)

There are also very few honeymoons wherein you stink so bad you can hardly stand to be around yourself, let alone your new husband/wife.  This was one of them.

Regardless, we had the best time.  Isn’t that what honeymoons are all about?

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~ by ... on 15 October 2008.

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