Lost Creek Wilderness

Date: 8/13 – 8/14/2022
Who: myself
Length: about 13 miles
Weather: mild, clear sky, calm, rainy overnight

This was an overnight backpacking hike in the Lost Creek Wilderness. The hiking route forms a loop, with mostly uphill gains to reach the campsite, and downhill for the return to the trailhead. It was a good challenge!

It rained a-lot overnight. But, my equipment did its job well and I stayed dry and warm.

I found this route written up here.

This hike followed the BLUE line:

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Mt. Elbert

Date: 6/3/2021
Who: myself
Length: about 10.8 miles (5.4 up + 5.4 down)
Time: 9.5 hours
Weather: mild, clear sky, calm

It has been awhile, and I’m not in the best shape. Surprisingly, I was able to summit Mt. Elbert, my 11th fourteener! I camped at Lakeview Campground, just above Twin Lakes. Then, drove early in the morning a short distance to the upper trailhead of South Elbert Trail (about 10,500 ft. elevation). I started at 2 AM with a headlamp. I encountered snow at about 12,000 feet, but was prepared with microspikes. I lost the trail at about 13,000 feet due to more snow, but followed the tracks that had been made by others. I reached the summit (14,433 ft.) at about 7 AM. Mt. Elbert is the highest point in Colorado.

On the way down, I felt a little altitude sickness. I just took it slow and kept hydrated to overcome the queasy stomach. Otherwise, I felt ok physically. It was really nice to get back out in the mountains!

view West from the summit
view of Mt. Massive from the summit of Mt. Elbert
Mt. Elbert viewed from Twin Lakes

This hike followed the BLUE line:

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Colorado Trail Segments 8 and 9

Date: 6/29/2018 – 7/5/2018
Who: Chris and myself
Length: about 40 miles
Time: 6.5 days
Weather: sunny, warm

In 2017, my friend Chris invited me to join him on a 1-week hike of the Colorado Trail, which he had planned for Summer 2018. My previous experience has been as a day-hiker, so multi-day backpacking was going to be a new challenge. It was fun to expand my horizons and try this new experience.

The Colorado Trail (CT) stretches 486 miles from Denver to Durango, and is divided into 28 segments. We had originally planned to start in Durango (segment 28) and work our way northbound. However, the CT was closed near Durango due to the 416 fire. As an alternative, we decided to start at segment 8 and work our way southbound. Michelle drove us to the segment 8 trailhead located near Copper Mountain ski resort on Friday, 6/29. Thanks, Michelle!

To help prepare for the multi-day backpacking trip, I watched YouTube videos and listened to podcasts. Two resources which I found particularly valuable were The First 40 Miles podcast, and Dixie on the Homemade Wanderlust YouTube channel. We also had maps and books published by the Colorado Trail Foundation. I took some long day hikes, carrying my new backpack loaded with extra gear, to get used to carrying it. Chris and I did a practice one night camp in Jones Park to test our gear.

Chris and Chris on the trail

Over the 7 days on the CT, we hiked 2 sections or 40 miles total, and spent 6 nights camping. We had great weather the whole time. The scenery along the trail was beautiful. My favorite campsite was at beautiful Porcupine Lakes in the Holy Cross Wilderness. It was a good challenge to pack in the gear and food needed for 7 days. Water sources were plentiful, and our filters worked just fine.

Porcupine Lake in Holy Cross Wilderness
Porcupine Lake with reflected mountain alpenglow, in Holy Cross Wilderness

Most of the time, it was just the two of us. But we did meet friendly people along the way. At one point in segment 8 we met thru-hiker Dixie, and her friend Aaron, who were northbound on the CT. Where the trail crosses into Camp Hale, we met a kind “trail angel” Soulflower who gave us snacks and reduced our load by taking trash off of our hands. In the Holy Cross Wilderness we met thru-hikers Avalon and Tinkerbell who shared a bit about their experiences on the Appalachian Trail. The trail-names of other people we met were Cracker, Toad, Waitforme, Little Bear, and Vicious Soup.

Chris and thru-hiker Dixie
Mount Massive in the distance; Chris B on trail below

On 7/5, we were starting into section 10 of the CT. But, we decided to cut our hike short due to sighting smoke (or what we thought was smoke), and smelling smoke. We were fortunate to have a cell phone signal, and called Michelle to ask for a pickup at Turquoise Lake trailhead. Thanks again, Michelle!

This hike followed the long BLUE line:

View Colorado Chris Hikes in a larger map

My main time commitment in the Summer of 2018 was a home improvement project. We hired a contractor to have a sun room addition and other work done on our house. It was a long process. Thank goodness the project is now complete! Writing this entry in my hiking blog is helpful for getting into a good mindset for 2019.