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.
Day 2 - Colorado Trail High Point
Continental Divide in Weminuche Wilderness
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