Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Dayhike on the Colorado Trail

I never forget the feeling I have the first time I set foot on a new trail.  Anticipation mixed with enthusiasm, plus a dash of apprehension for the new challenges it may present. 

The Colorado Trail (CT) extends 485 miles from Denver to Durango through spectacular scenery.  It shares part of it’s length with the Continental Divide Trail.  I’d heard a lot about it, but had never hiked on it before.  I was really excited when Still Waters suggested we go up for a dayhike to check it out.
Fancy trailhead sign.
Still Waters drove us up a bumpy 4-wheel drive road to the CT trailhead at Kennebec Pass.  I was a terrible passenger and kept exclaiming, “It is so WRONG that a road goes up here so high.”  When we got to the trailhead at 11,600 feet, I could see why she’d been so insistent to take me here before the snows fly.  We were in the heart of the stunning La Plata Mountains.  Snow-covered mountain peaks were all around us. 

I headed north past Taylor Lake, up to the Indian Ridge Trail.  Heart thumping in my chest with the altitude.  Unforgettable beauty.
Crossing over a little snow.
After less than a mile of climbing, I gained a 12,000 foot ridge with incredible views to both sides.  These mountains were unfamiliar with their jagged shapes and the geology was different than anything I”d seen on the PCT.  And yet, being up high, I felt like I was in my element. 
I took out my compass and shinny, crisp new map to get oriented.  I could identify the peaks and valleys, and could make out the trails switchbacking up distant passes. 
Map and compass.
I probably won’t have a chance to explore the CT more this season.  Other hikers I met up there said it’s unusual to be able to up there this late in the fall because early snows usually dump snow up there.  But I know I’ll be back someday.  I felt the pull of these Colorado mountains.  The dreaming has begun again.
Gazing in wonder at the Colorado Trail.
For more information:
Colorado Trail Foundation
PMag's Colorado Trail End to End Guide


  1. Gorgeous! I love Colorado! I have done a day hike or two in the foothills and drove through RMNP---pretty cool to see the ice that stays up there through summer and see how deep the snow gets along the roadways. Looks awesome!

    1. Will be interesting to be somewhere with snow again. It's sure not the south that's for sure!

  2. On my list for sure, maybe 2016.

  3. Love your blog. I've read every page.
    Seeing you in that Melenzana fleece hoodie reminds me of how much I love my Melenzana hoodie.
    I also have had mine for many years. I sleep in it almost every outdoors night, usually in my hammock, which has been quite a lot this past couple years.

    Hope to run into you on the trail.

    1. WOW thanks! Glad you've enjoyed reading.

      Aren't the Melanzana hoodies great?!?! You are the only other person I know who uses one for sleeping in the hammock too, but I totally agree it's a winning combination. Mine's been holding up well too. The only clothing item that I brought on the PCT that isn't full of holes or threadbare.

      Where do you hike/ hang?

  4. I do most of my hiking in the NY area, Catskills, Adirondaks, AT, ... This is prime hammock Country.
    I do spend a month or so for the past couple years in the Southwest, AZ, NM, UT and NV. I find it much harder to find places to hang and have gone to ground on many occasions when I'm hiking the deserts.

    I do have a couple holes in my Melanzana hoodie, but it still has plenty of life left in it. I never backpack without it.

    1. Ah I was just talking to someone about the Adirondaks- will have to get out there someday. Great to know the hanging up there is so good. :)