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Summer of 2000

(Page 2 of 8 pages)

I was down to the South Platte river during early morning while also acquiring my first blister on the descent. Notice the foot bridge in the background which is the longest bridge anywhere on the Colorado Trail.

Here is a volunteer trail crew camp located just beyond the foot bridge over the river. These folks were very friendly and let me fill my water bottles from their cooler. The guide book warned of no reliable water sources for the next 13 miles so I drank all that my stomach would hold then decided to pack one liter. I bid farewell to the trail crew then began my ascent out of the cool morning valley.

Here is the Colorado Trail as it passes through the disasterous aftermath of the 1996 Buffalo Creek fire which consumed over 12,000 acres. Trail erosion is a constant battle after such an ecological disaster, but trail crew volunteers do a great job correcting the damage. There is little shade in this section of the trail and the only water is what I was carrying.

Here's me relaxing in my second campsite, just a couple of miles past county road 126. I had accomplished my goal today of making it to the highway where I easily caught a ride into the small town of Buffalo Creek and picked up my first maildrop. It's such a feeling of contentment just after a re-supply having fresh food, browsing the store, talking to people, and making a phone call home.

Lost Creek Wilderness Area

Day Three

July 1, 2000

Beautiful aspen on the right and lodgepole pine on the left line the edges of this backwoods road as I enter into the Lost Creek Wilderness Area. This road was originally built by the late W. H. Hooper between 1885 and 1887 who operated a sawmill in the area. Today the area is a recovering wilderness area and the Colorado Trail along this old historic road is the only obstruction. I made my third campsite on the ledge of a small cliff not too far from here.

From my journal (July 1st;Day-3)..."This has been a painful days hike but I just tried to think about other things which seemed to help. The morning took me through a lush green forest of mostly douglas firs and ponderossa pines which was sort of like hiking through a long green tunnel, but there were still a lot of places to view the distant terrain.

I passed by several bicyclists who were very trail courteous. Later in the day I walked with a couple of local day hikers who gave me a cold bottle of spring water at the Forest Service parking lot.

The blister on my right foot has doubled in size but I just keep on hiking and it hasn't yet burst. The map says that I'm camped at an altitude of 9,374 feet and my headaches have started back. At one point during my last two hours of hiking I got a little dizzy and was quite lite-headed."

Day Four

July 2, 2000

One of the huge spruce trees in the wilderness area and one of the reasons that Mr. Hooper liked these mountains so much! I'm not sure if I was hugging the tree or whether it was supporting me after a long climb... probably a little bit of both!

This looks like just a bunch of dirt and it is, but it's dirt in the form of one gigantic ant hill! The ants out west get really serious when it comes to building a house!

Just a nice picture of the trail up close as I leave the wilderness area and follow the North Fork of Lost Creek for many miles through its broad grassy meadows.

Here I'm straddling a fence in the saddle at the head of the North Fork. From here I descend into the Rock Creek valley and find a nice campsite in Black Canyon.

There's a lot of open-range grazing along the Colorado Trail on National Forest Service lands, where cattle were the norm is some areas. Treating or filtering your water on this trail is essential to good health.

This burned over tree had some beautiful colors of its own, even in death!

From my journal (July 2nd;Day-4)..."This has been another big hiking day and I surely don't reccomend starting a hike quite this way. Unfortunately due to my start date I just had to pump out some miles so as to avoid maildrop days on holidays and weekends. Tomorrow I only have ten miles to make Kenosha Pass, then catch a four and a half mile ride into Jefferson.

All of this morning I followed an open meadow path along the North Fork which was a very gradual ascent up to the saddle then down into Long Gulch. I passed two gentlemen who informed me that I'd find plenty of water all the way to Rock Creek despite what the guide book said. The older of the two said that he was carrying a 60 pound pack and he offered me some food to lighten his load but I declined the offer because I needed to eat my own weight! We enjoyed a great converswation which lifted my spirits greatly as I continued to move onward.

Tonight I'm camped in a black spruce and aspen forest somewhere I believe to be about 3 miles from Rock Creek. My legs were quite exhausted as I came into camp this evening and I just layed motionless on my ensolite pad for near an hour gazing out at the sky and valley. A small thunderstorm blew over this evening so I know that my tent is water tight."

Just a nice little woodpecker who stood still long enough for me to click a picture.

Join me as I hike over Georgia Pass, the first snow and on the Fourth of July!