Twig Adventures

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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SOBO Day 57: Escaping the Vortex

August 20th, 2019 HWY 40/14 mm 1554.3 to mm 1579.1 Distance in miles: 24.8 1045-1900 There are so many things I’d still like to do in town but we may never leave if I try to do them all. It’s time to get back on trail. We walk down to the natural grocer and buy a few items for the road. Then we hold up a sign for Rabbit Ears Pass and start walking out of town. We don’t get further than the first pull-out, where a guy offers to take us to the base of the pass on his way to a construction site. This works for us. At the next spot, we wait at a huge pull-out designed[…]

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SOBO Day 55 & 56: Steamboat Springs

August 18th, 2019 Mm 1533.6 to HWY 40 mm 1552.4 Distance in miles: 18.8 0615-1230 I am prepared for a very cold night but it doesn’t happen. It may even be warmer when I wake up than when I went to bed. The wind dies down overnight and there is just a crisp breeze in the morning. The sky is clear and the sun comes out to do its job. The stormy weather of the day before has just vanished. We make our way a mile and a half to a parking lot and campground near a lake, our planned destination the day before. The cold air is trapped in this spot and it costs money to camp, so I[…]

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SOBO Day 54: I Remember This

August 17th, 2019 Mm 1503 to 1533.6 Distance in miles: 30.6 0610-1840 It’s so cold in the morning, I have to leave my puffy on while I hike. That’s 4 layers: my t-shirt (which is worn paper-thin by now), R1, puffy, and rain jacket. My legs are bare under my skirt…they can take the cold. It’s all about keeping your torso warm. The sky is partially overcast in the morning and rain seems like a strong possibility. We hike down the valley towards the Zirkel wilderness and Park Range. There is some toilet magic and a parking lot where we take a break. From here, we have to climb from 8200′ to around 11,900′, our highest point yet. Let’s go![…]

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SOBO Day 53: Rocky Mountain High, Colorado

August 16th, 2019 North Fork Encampment River mm 1470.3 to mm 1503 Distance in miles: 32.7 0620-1940 It’s time to finally get back to Colorado. I took the most unexpected hiatus to visit there early in this adventure and now I am returning under much better circumstances. I have hiked through 2.5 states (Idaho was kind of only half) and it has taken nearly 2 months.When I first started backpacking in my 20’s, my original long-distance goal was to hike the CDT through Colorado. I did about half of it when I hiked the Colorado Trail 2 summers ago. Then it’s taken me 2 more long-distance hikes, plus over half of this one, to finally be ready for such a[…]

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