May 8, 2012 at 11:13 am #1289666
@maiaLocale: Rocky Mountains
Companion forum thread to:May 8, 2012 at 11:51 am #1875552
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
Great story. Excellent pictures. Thanks.May 8, 2012 at 12:17 pm #1875566
@ikeLocale: Central Michigan
I really enjoyed this one, Luke, and you got some fantastic pictures. Thanks for taking the time to put this together.May 8, 2012 at 12:24 pm #1875567
@dianodaLocale: Chicago, IL
Thanks for the trip report, Luke. Great pictures, too – looks like I need to add another trail to my list.May 8, 2012 at 12:31 pm #1875569
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Great report, and in no way was your trip a failure! You did all but a few miles and enjoyed all the most scenic parts. It's not your fault–or your failure–that your ankle went out on the final stretch!
Again, it's nice to see the sweet and lovely Maia added to the BPL office staff. A most talented dog!May 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm #1875573
@thomdarrahLocale: Southern Oregon
Luke, nice report and pictures, great job!May 9, 2012 at 9:49 am #1875841
@sauberLocale: Mountain West
I traveled to south-central Colorado for a funeral this past week and drove right through the area you traversed. As I was driving along I couldn't resist looking far away from the road to enjoy the scenery and wonder what I was missing.
The funeral was sad enough, but missing everything you managed to capture on this trip made it an especially frustrating week. I very much enjoyed the write-up and pictures, though.
For what it's worth, "Uncompadre" Peak as labelled with one of the photos is actually Uncompahgre Peak.
Thanks for the trip report, Luke!May 9, 2012 at 12:54 pm #1875908
Thanks, Luke, for your trip report and great photos. I'll add my reassurance: taking care of a bad, painful ankle is success, whether during long thru-hikes or professional sports. Life is the longer thru-hike, and a happy ankle for the rest of it means a lot. Anything else is ego-pride–way more fleeting than true wisdom. Cheers! -DambaraMay 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm #1875967
@leighbLocale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
Thanks again for an awesome trip report!May 9, 2012 at 7:38 pm #1876063
Luke, great report. I thought I'd read a bit, hit the shower (just got home from the gym) and come back and finish it. Nope. Read it straight through. Engrossing to say the least. Journey's tend to test, and build, faith. Glad you feel stronger. Being in Gods creation can't help but put you a little closer. Now that is what I call success.May 9, 2012 at 10:02 pm #1876111
Kathy A HandysideParticipant
@earlymusicusLocale: Southeastern Michigan
Wonderful story, Luke! I don't think the trip was a failure at all. I think you did great! I was especially interested in reading it, because thru-hiking the Colorado Trail is on my list of hikes I want to do. The pictures are beautiful. I can't wait to see all those areas myself.May 10, 2012 at 5:01 am #1876162
I hope to do this trip as well someday. Nicely done!
I'm curious though why you like your poles so long as it didn't like look you were going downhill in most of those pics? All the advice I've ever read says your arms should be parallel to the ground.May 10, 2012 at 7:20 am #1876194
Really enjoyed the report. I'm planning a thru-hike of the CT summer of '13, and I've read a ton about logistical challenges, but not so much about the mental hardships. I'd love to get your advice on foods to bring and what gear did or didn't work for you at various stages. I gather from the context that you started fairly late in the season, and wonder what impact that had. Thanks so much for sharing!May 10, 2012 at 7:46 am #1876207
Well thanks a lot for all the kind words ya'll.
First to give credit where its due I had a lot of good ideas from other BPL articles before I went into this. I got some good ideas for organizing the article from Ryan Linn's articles about the PCT and Eric ("Balls") and Sunshine's articles about their PCT thru hike. Reading their articles gave me an idea of what made a good trip report and how to focus in on the "big ideas" or the things that really dominated the thinking and emotions on a hike rather than focusing too much on little details.
To answer a few questions…
Michael – I probably do have those poles adjusted a bit long. I don't think I changed the lenght very often at all on the trip.
Rick – Foods are a personal thing. I think the main thing is to make sure you have enough. To start off I had about 2000+ calories a day or 1.4 pounds of food. This was definately not enough. I was feeling hungry on the third day. Also think about the melting factor if you'll be out in warm summer weather.
Gear wise things worked out. I started with a small 5x9ft. tarp. It worked but it was a pain in the neck when it rained all the time. A bigger tarp was very nice for the extra coverage. I am glad I carried an internal frame pack on the trip instead of my usual frameless pack. With food and water my total pack weight was over 20 pounds quiet often so the extra pound for a sturdy frame was worth it.
Starting late meant no real snow. It should have meant fewer thunderstorms but they didn't really slack up until towards the very end.
A couple things would have helped make the trip a bit easier.
1. I should have used gaiters to keep dust out of my shoes
2. I should have done first aid on blisters more proactively (don't skimp on blister care by the way)
3. I should have put new socks in my resupply boxes.
4. Camera batteries go quickly in cold weather. I had five batteries but it would have made more sense to take 2 or 3 and bounce a charger to resupplies.
If you think about doing this I highly recommend you read Andrew Skurka's book first.May 12, 2012 at 5:44 am #1876905
@gklottLocale: Texas Hill Country
Excellent trip report. Thanks.May 13, 2012 at 5:47 pm #1877330
Thank you for the report.
I'm curious. Looking back on it, would you have rather hiked only the most scenic parts of the trail (on different trips) rather than the whole trail?
Or to ask the same question another way, was the enjoyment of completing the whole trail worth the "boring" parts?May 13, 2012 at 7:02 pm #1877360
@dsherryLocale: Mi Upper Peninsula
Love how you shared the emotional challenges of hiking solo. I face similar challenges on my solo trips, and therefore have done very few long trips when I can't get a hiking companion. this yrs test is the Wonderland.
Thanks for the trip report. Loved it. Must have been a great experience.May 13, 2012 at 7:54 pm #1877379
"I'm curious. Looking back on it, would you have rather hiked only the most scenic parts of the trail (on different trips) rather than the whole trail?
Or to ask the same question another way, was the enjoyment of completing the whole trail worth the "boring" parts?"
Tim thats a very good question. I think it depends on what your goals are. In this case my goal was to stay on a trail more or less continiously. I wanted to know how a longer backpacking trip felt and how to plan for one. For those goals the boring parts were worth it becasue they were part of the "long trip" experience. I could have done the most scenic areas in about a week by driving to them and doing seperate mini trips but it would not have been nearly as powerful of an experience.May 13, 2012 at 8:42 pm #1877395
Wait…when did you leave? Is this this year?May 13, 2012 at 9:13 pm #1877405
RS, I started something like August 20 of last summer and finished about September 12 if I recall correctly. Basically I went than because it was when I had the time but it worked out pretty well. It never got really cold and the thunderstorms slowed down a bit toward the end. The colder days seemed to produce less of them. The downside was the creeks were drier and there wasn't much snow to look at on the mountains.May 14, 2012 at 8:00 pm #1877720
@klrodgersLocale: North Texas
Awesome work, Luke. Very good pics. I'm still looking forward to my first "long trip", and this gave me a good taste to keep on looking.May 15, 2012 at 6:12 pm #1878047
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
Great photos, Luke, and I enjoyed the article even more.
Wondering if that was Lake City you visited for a day after Snow Mesa. Looked unsuccessfully for another Twin Lakes near Spring Creek Pass, and couldn't find one.
Have wanted to do Cochetopa and La Garita for a long time, but so far haven't got to it. Your account and photos are much more interesting and gave a better sense of what the trail is really like than any guidebook I've run across.
Hope your ankle is restored and you can get back to Weminuche sometime. If you have a chance, visit Virginia's at the north end of Vallecito Lake. Really enjoyed the times I spent there.Nov 6, 2012 at 11:06 am #1926674
@carvizuLocale: Colorado Rockies
I see you're planning a CT thru-hike summer 2013. So am I. Any interest trekking as a team?
I'm beggining my planning for a solo hike because I don't know any thru-hikers(see my post: Colorado Trail Partner on 11-5-12). I'd prefer to find a partner–safety considerations, company, and begin meeting folks with the same spirit of advanture. My wife would worry alot less too!
According to your info you live just north of me. I live in Monument, CO. If you're interested and have not made any firm plans maybe we can dialogue and see if a partner thru-hike is possible.
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