First half done

Day 15

Sunday July 8, 2018

15.1 Miles Total mileage 247.6

Morning view from the back porch of our resort room.

Last night we made our final plans for our transportation back home. We will be finishing up the trail tomorrow in Salida. We arranged a shuttle driver to pick us up from the trailhead and drive us to the nearest town 14 miles away (Salida). We will spend the night there then take a 3 hour bus ride back to Denver. Where we will catch a 40 minute train ride to the airport for our flights home. It’s going be a long day of sitting around after being on the trail for 2 weeks.

The terrain today was different from what we have been walking through. Today we had more forest and pasture looking areas. We even saw a few cows. It is still beautiful.

The forecast for today didn’t really show any rain, but we managed to find it. And it wasn’t just a tiny shower. It was a storm with thunder and lightening that had a both scream out once. And why not throw some hail in the mix just to make it more fun!!!😫 We slid into camp looking like drowned hikers. I set up my tent for the first time in the rain. It’s not something I would like repeat!

It looks bad and it was bad!

Today was really an enjoyable day until the rain started. We didn’t have may miles to complete so we took some long breaks and talked to a lot of hikers. It was really enjoyable when your not trying to crush the miles.

Day 16

Monday July 9, 2018

5.3 miles Total mileage 252.9

Today was my last day on trail. I have completed just over half of the 486 miles of the Colorado trail. I do plan to come back to finish it and hopefully with the same girls that I started it with this year.

When I left camp this morning my shoes were still wet from yesterday’s rain and I didn’t want to get my dry socks wet so I put some doggie poop bags over my socks then slid my feet into my shoes. It looks retarded and you should like you are wearing a diaper but I was happy. No wet socks for this hiker chic!

What ever it was must have died from the heat and dust inhalation.

I am happy to be headed home tomorrow. I miss my family and can’t wait to be together with them again.

My hiking partner SHORTCUT loves luxurious travel when she is not sleeping in a tent. Tonight we are staying at a 5 star hotel in Salida called The Palace Hotel. I am definitely learning a few things about travel from her. Thank you SHORTCUT. It has been a very fun and pleasurable trip traveling with you.

I would like to thank my wonderful husband, Jim for all his support. I love you, Babydoll.

Also thank you Nikki and Dr Nong for allowing me to take the time off of work and the girls there for making due without me.

Penance

Day 12

Thursday July 5, 2018

16.6 Miles Total mileage 197.8

Last night SHORTCUT was sitting outside on the front porch. She called me out to check out the storm that was moving in. As soon as I stepped out side I know it wasn’t a storm. It was smoke!!! I could smell it. It is the first time we had any smoke of any kind. Sometimes we could see smoke off in the distance, but never could we smell it. It’s hard to believe but each day we hike I can see signs that there had once been a fire in the area. I heard that one of the fires was started at a shooting range.

We left our cute little cabin this morning and rather than take the 1.95 mile side trail back to the CT we decided to get shuttled down the road where the trail was next to the road. So I skipped 3.8 miles of trail. And I paid for it. We got lost twice early this morning and only covered 2.4 miles in 3 hours. I think I walked those 3.8 miles anyway.

Some how we walked right by this sign and didn’t even see it. We had to back track .6 miles to where we missed our turn.

We had some pretty nice hiking weather this today. The high was only in the low 70’s with a chance of some afternoon storms. We had a big climb at the end of the day when we were supposed to get the storms. We were hoping that the storms would hold off until after we summited the big climb and it did. You don’t want to be on top of a mountain in a lightning storm. We were really lucky. When we were doing our big climb it was threatening to rain and it did sprinkle some, but I was most grateful for the cloud cover. Once I started down the other side of the mountain the sun came back out and there was a lot less smoke.

View from my awesome lunch spot.

Fallen tree right over the trail.

There is a huge beaver dam in this creek.

Day 13

Friday July 6, 2018

18.8 Miles Total mileage 216.6

We got a tiny bit of rain last night, but I woke up to a dry tent and chilly temperatures. It was 38 this morning.

I have been following these animal tracks for days now and finally figured out what animal makes them.

It’s a Llama! When we rolled into to camp tonight they were here. Apparently a woman hiked 160 miles of the trail last year and carrying a pack was just killing her back. So she rented a couple of Llamas to carry her gear.

At about 11:30am we started our difficult climb for the day. It was a 3 mile climb up with 2600 feet of elevation gain. I did not do so well on this climb. I was hot and had to take numerous tiny breaks in the way it. I would basically move from shady spot to shady spot.

Day 14

Saturday July 7, 2018

11.8 Miles Total Mileage 230

We woke up to a less chilly morning temperatures. It was 42 this morning. It is still tough to get out of those warm thermals.

Today we were headed into Mt Princeton/Hot Springs. There is a resort right on the trail. I was happy to be headed in for a shower. The days have been pretty warm and I was super stinky. It seems to me that once you have been out here for a while the stinkness returns just as soon as you start to sweat again. Plus the new longsleeve shirt I purchased to block the sun was mostly polyester and polyester gets pretty stinky. I love to hike in wool. You can wear those shirts for days and it won’t smell to bad. It also seems to wick the sweat away from my skin better as well.

We saw some bear tracks this morning. It was unclear to me of they were black bear tracks or brown bear. When I later check on Google I discovered that brown bears do not live in Colorado. So the tracks are from the more skittish black bear.

We have seen a lot of horse poop on the trail last couple of days. My hiking partner, SHORTCUT has this theory that horse pop is non-stick. So of course she has to put it to the test. So you dare.. check out the video below for the results. If it doesn’t gross you out you should get a good laugh from it.

As we were getting closer to Mt Princeton/Hot Springs we passed a ranch that is a kids camp.

The trail turned into a 3 mile road walk on black top into town. Road walking is the worst with a pack on. It’s hot and there is no shade. We decided that if a car passed us we would try and hitch a ride into town. We walked over a mile before the first car passed us and we stuck out our thumbs. Yeah, they picked us up so we didn’t have to do the last 1.6 miles of road walking. It was a group of day hikers visiting the area and they so kindly made room for us in their rental. I bet that they didn’t realize when they stopped that we would smell so bad. Luckily for them it was a very short trip.

We got to the resort about noon and our room was not ready so we sat at a little corner in the bar hoping we were far away from most of the guest that they could not smell us and had lunch. Then we headed over to the spa to get showers while we were still waiting for our room. When we got to our room it was the usual of cleaning gear and doing laundry in the bathtub since there was not a laundry room here.

I’m getting funny looks!!!

Day 9

Monday July 2, 2018

21.9 Miles Total mileage 157.8

SOULFLOWER will be leaving us today. She has something that came up from home that she needs to take care of. So she dropped us back off to continue on our way. Her blisters are continuing to heal, but still bother her some. I am very thankful of the time I was able to spend with her and all that she did for me. She is a wonderfully special friend.

These photos are from the night that I had the ice on my tent. The night before last. From left to right is my tent, SOULFLOWER’S, we both have solo tents and SHORTCUT’S two man tent.

This is my cook system. Stove and pot which I use just to boil water. And a food container where I mix my dehydrated food with the boiling water and let it sit for about 20 minutes to rehydrate. I carry 2 one liter smart water bottles for clean drinking water.

This is me laying down inside my tent. It seems to have gotten smaller then I remember. Or maybe it’s just that I see how much room SHORTCUT has in her tent and I’m envious!

We had a cool start to the day as SOULFLOWER dropped us back off at the trailhead. The temperature gauge in the car said it was in the mid 30’s. Today ended up being one of our best weather days on the trail. Within a couple of hours we were both taking off our jackets. The terrain wasn’t too bad, and we had less sun exposure and cooler temperatures.

Feel like taking a break? We saw this early in the day so we didn’t make use of it but you do occasionally run into benches on the trail. This is the nicest one I have ever seen. It even had a bench in front of the swing to put your feet up on!😊

The views were spectacular again today. It amazes me all the flowers that grow above treeline. They are everywhere.

We crossed over some snow that was still covering a small section of trail.

We even saw our first horse on the trail today.

I’ve been getting some funny looks from hikers that are going in the opposite direction on the trail! When your out here sometimes you just don’t care what you look like and this is one of those times. 🤣

I have my banana over my head to keep the sun off my neck and face as much as possible, but I also discovered that when I tie it under my nose it filters out some of the dust I breath in.

Slack Packing

Day 7

Saturday June 30, 2018

13.5 miles Total mileage 117.6

I had an awesome nights rest. A queen size bed with 5 pillows all to myself.

The photo above is looking back toward the town of Breckenridge.

SOULFLOWER dropped us off at the trail and we headed out at 7am. We had a 3600 foot ascent today followed by a 3000 foot descent.

We walked through a quarter mile section of burned trail. I looked to be pretty recent.

It was an amazingly beautiful day. The weather was cool for our climb and once we were above tree line it got really windy and down right cold.

We skirted some snow on the way up to 12490 feet of elevation. The highest I have ever hiked. I did well with the elevation. No sickness or anything. My legs felt good today. I believe most of the soreness is gone.

We finished up at 2pm today and SOULFLOWER already had a campspot pick out for us right next to a river. So I was able to wash my nasty dirty feel in the river.

When I was in town yesterday I found a saline gel for my nose and it seems like it has helped out. While I was above tree line and the weather was cooler it felt great then as we descended and the heat picked up it bothered me some but it is definitely better.

I can’t believe all the laughs I have had with these girls. It has been so much fun.

I just heated up some water to rehydrate my dinner for the evening. I also filtered my water for the next day. It is usually best to do it at night because in the morning it is usually too cold and it really makes my hands sore.

Day 8

Sunday July 1, 2018

18.3 miles Total mileage 135.9

It got a little chilly last night. I noticed when I woke up this morning that there was some condensation on the inside of my tent. I dried it up and moved outside to dry the outside after I finished I preceded to pack up my tent but then I noticed that there was ICE on the floor of the tent!!! I guess that there was a layer of ice on the inside of my tent and when I was drying the outside I knocked it off. I noticed when SOULFLOWER was driving me back to the trailhead that her car said it was 32* out. BUR!!! No wonder I was freezing. This was a first for me. I don’t think I have called in such cold weather before. It bothers my hands the most. While trying to pack up I kept having to hold them over my mouth and blow warm air on them to make them a little less painful.

We had more clumbing above treeline today. The climb was less intense than yesterday, but the views were just as spectacular.

I saw a marmot up above treeline. He was moving to quick for me to get a picture of him. This is the first one I have ever seen. SHORTCUT thinks she saw was a mountain lion up there to. But I missed it. She was in the process of taking a shortcut when she noticed it so I couldn’t see it from my spot on the trail.

It seems like things have gotten even drier out here. We’re could no longer walk right behind each other because of the dust that would kick up with our steps.

SOULFLOWER picked us up and another hiker as well and took us into the town of Leadville to a hostel to get cleaned up.