Tuesday, September 15, 2009

3 Days on the Trail

The Colorado Trail meanders from Denver to Durango, covering 480 miles and approx. 77,000 feet of climbing. Last week I had the pleasure of spending 3 days and 111 miles on the trail with my buddy Scott Jaime, who was doing the entire trail to celebrate his 40th birthday. He finished on Sunday in Durango with a time of 11 days 12 hours 46 mins. After doing my short portion of the trail with Scott, I can confidently state the following:

1. I'll never, ever do the entire CO trail at one time as Scott did! Or any other trail that takes more than 3 days. I have a huge amount of admiration for those who tackle these long trails, but I'm not cut out for it. I like to go hard, and then go to bed. And then not have to get up and do it all over again.

2. I will do all of the Colorado trail eventually however (in nice short sections). It is stunningly beautiful. It is also neat to think about crossing such a huge area with relatively few road crossings. The Colorado population is concentrated along the I25 corridor in the Front Range, along I70 through Ski country, and then on the Western Slope around Grand Junction and Durango. But the rest of the state is amazingly free of large cities.

3. After swearing I'd never do Hardrock, well, ok maybe! My section, while not on any of the Hardrock course, was in "Hardrock country" and it is amazing out there. We did spend several hours on the San Juan course (which I've done) and that made me want to run San Juan again.

The section I ran/walked with Scott was from Highway 114 to Highway 550 at Molas Pass. The section started at 9600 feet and finished at 10880 feet. The hight point was near the Carson Saddle at 13334 feet and the low point was crossing the Animas River at 8920 feet. This distance should be 107 miles, but we got a little turned around in the Saguache Park area, adding approx 5 miles and 500 feet of climbing to the total.

First Day in the Aspens

Where the Hell Are We? This Data Book Sucks.

Self Portrait

Day 2 - Colorado Trail High Point

Continental Divide in Weminuche Wilderness

Cuba Gulch

Day 3 - Looking down at Elk Creek Drainage

Scott Descending Elk Creek Drainage

Elk Creek with Bright Green Moss

Beaver Pond and Arrow Peak

Narrow Gauge Train going from Durango to Silverton

Animas River


GZ said...

Wow. Great shots.

I did a week on the AT once ... as a test of the dreams I had to through hike it someday. After a week solo, I figured "no way" on the thru hike ... I get too lonely.

Paul DeWitt said...

George - funny you should mention the lonliness factor. On our super long first day (60 miles over 18 hrs) we saw one truck with 4 hunters in it, one hunter camping, and one cowboy. Yes, cowboy. We came over San Luis Pass and saw over 200 Sheep. Then saw a young guy in jeans, cowboy hat, spurs and rifle hussling down a ridge towards us. He said he'd been up there since July 10th watching the sheep! We were probably the first people he'd seen in awhile and he was pretty chatty for a cowboy.

Harsha said...

What was that mountain that you guys spent the first night at? Brokeback mountain? Yeah, I bet the cowboy was very chatty.

Anonymous said...

hey paul... thanks for sharing this post. i'd love to complete all the segments of the colorado trail someday, and this has provided some motivation to do so.

were you by chance in the bagel/coffee shop in ouray on sunday morning? if it wasn't you, it was someone who looks darn similar

Paul DeWitt said...

Solarweasel - no it wasn't me; must be another scrawny balding dude out there! Hope you get the chance to do the trail; you'll love it. Scott Jaime will be doing a nice write-up with more info on his blog over the next few days that you might want to check out.
- PaulD

David Putney said...

Paul- Great write up and photos! I really enjoy reading about your adventures. John Geesler and I have done the Northville Placid Trail in the Adirondacks this year, had a great time.
Congrats to both of you, nice...