Twig Adventures

SOBO Day 67: Leadville

August 30th, 2019 Jacque Creek mm 1798.6 to Tennessee Pass Trailhead and Hwy 24 mm 1818.7, then hitch to Leadville. Distance in miles: 20.1 0620-1400 We have another easy day to town again. In fact, I haven’t done my usual 30 mile day in almost a week and I’ll admit, it’s been kind of great. We head up the creek valley early and are surprised to meet a CT hiker, Palisade, up and at em early, too. We hike with him to the top of Searle Pass and then across to Kokomo Pass. These were my highest passes yet on the CT and today they feel like child’s play. We hit Kokomo by 9 am, whereas it took me until[…]

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SOBO Day 66: Town to Town

August 29th, 2019 HWY 9 mm 1780.8 to Jacque Creek mm 1798.6 Distance in miles: 17.8 1100-1900 Stellar has to head down to Denver in the morning and then Relentless and I are left wondering what to do. We’d like to take a longer rest but it’s expensive around here so we decide to head back to the trail. Had we planned better, we could have slack-packed the section from the highway to Copper Mountain. But it involves too many logistics so we just lug our heavy packs up and over the Ten-Mile range. I bought way too much food at Walmart the night before and am angry with myself for my poor planning as I set out. I have[…]

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SOBO Day 65: A Nero in Multiple Ski Towns

August 28th, 2019 North Fork Swan River mm 1768 to HWY 9 mm 1780.8 Distance in miles: 6 0610-0810 Town day! After the longest of stretches, I need a shower but more importantly, food. We have an option of taking a minor road walk cut-off and we gladly go with it. I have already walked the stretch of trail into Breckenridge, as has Stellar. Relentless and I have walked all of the “red-line” (official CDT route) along the ridges from Grays Peak and we feel like we have earned a little savings of about 6 miles. Many others are taking the Silverthorn alternate, which cuts off about 35 miles and misses out on summiting Grays, as well as all the[…]

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SOBO Day 64: More Than I Could Even Imagine

August 27th, 2019 Warden Gulch stream mm 1746 to North Fork Swan River mm 1768 Distance in miles: 2206 10-1740 I stood at the intersection of the Colorado Trail and CDT at Georgia Pass 2 years ago, wondering what it would be like to hike the CDT. The pass was the highest point we had yet seen on the CT and still, the CDT route continued to go up even higher. How intimidating it seemed to hike the divide, so high and exposed on the ridges and peaks for miles. At the time, I was terrified of the routine afternoon thunderstorms. Over the past week, I finally saw what was behind the curtain and it has been more incredible than[…]

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SOBO Day 63: A Special Day on Two 14ers, Grays & Torreys

August 26th, 2019 Quayle Creek near I-70 mm 1730 to Warden Gulch stream mm 1746 Distance in miles: 16! 0610-1630 Some days are more special than all the other days in the calendar year and you may think you get to do whatever you want on those particular days. In my case, I still have to hike this trail, or at least, I’m choosing to hike. And why not add 2 more 14ers to my list? Grays Peak is 14,278′ and officially part of the CDT, the highpoint of the entire trail. Torreys Peak is just across a saddle, about 700′ back up in elevation…a quick scramble. Most people tackle both after going to all the trouble of climbing to[…]

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SOBO Day 62: What Doesn’t Blow Me Away Only Makes Me Stronger

August 25th, 2019 Bill Moore Lake mm 1699.5 to Quayle Creek next to I-70 mm 1730 Distance in miles: 30.5 0610-1840 The wind howls all night but I don’t feel it in my tent. It flaps maybe once during a gust. It makes me happy every time my tent doesn’t get blasted but at the same time, I am reminded that the wind is going to be present all day long while I’m hiking. At least I sleep well, probably the best I ever have above 11,000′. It’s hard on a body to even rest above this elevation. Your metabolism is working overtime just to stay warm and get enough oxygen. It is surprisingly dry and not too cold in[…]

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SOBO Day 61: James Peak

August 24th, 2019 Indian Peaks Trailhead mm 1673 to Bill Moore Lake mm 1699.5 Distance in miles: 26.5 0615-1900 Whoa, is today tough. We hoped to do 32 miles to get over two 13 ers but we fall way short. We severely underestimated this whole section. Between the altitude and crazy ups and downs, we should not have planned 30 mile day averages. We should have gone with 25 miles or even less. I’ve gotten complacent about being able to knock out the miles no matter what. But I failed to realize just how hard this 130 mile stretch to Breckenridge is. We’re on the trail plenty early, spotting several moose right off the bat. It’s an easy descent for[…]

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SOBO Day 60: Cruising Along Lakes

August 23rd, 2019 Grand Lake mm 1649.7 to Indian Peaks Trailhead mm 1673 Distance in miles: 23.3 1030-1900 The Shadowcliff hostel doesn’t have a free breakfast but there is coffee. Also, they hosted an event last night and when I returned from town, the employees were munching on all the leftover finger-food. We asked if we could have some and were able to secure our breakfast for today. Score! We leave the hostel to travel through mainstreet, part of the official route, and I am tempted by a bakery. I get an apple strudle covered in whipped cream but it’s just ok. Then I go to the small grocery amd scrounge what I can for resupply. They don’t have most[…]

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SOBO Day 59: Grand Lake

August 22nd, 2019 Mm 1607.7 to Grand Lake mm 1649.7 Distance in miles: 24 0620-1600 The valley is cold in the morning but not as damp as I expected. We are climbing right off the bat, first on motorcycle trails, then on a steep jeep road that goes straight up…it’s just what jeep trails do. We enter the Never Summer Wilderness and go over Bowen Pass. Many years ago I backpacked in this area and I think I might have come right over this pass as part of a loop hike. A lot looks familiar to me, especial the nice easy trail/road that runs through a flat valley where the Colorado River flows. Little did I know I was hiking[…]

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SOBO Day 58: Ridges and Peaks

August 21st, 2019 Mm 1579.1 to mm 1607.7 Distance in miles: 28.6 0630-1850 The morning is dry and warm, just as I predicted. But I wake with anxiety about the upcoming day. In studying the map the night before, I saw that we are in for a lot of steep climbing. The trail jumps from one ridgeline to another, with many 1,000 foot climbs and descents. Total for the day: 7300′ up, 9300′ down. I feel really low energy starting out. I wake with a stiff and sore back and have to take a pain killer. Shortly I snap out of it and just start enjoying the views. Most of the day, the trail goes like this: on top a[…]

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