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Begins: Aug 6, 2010
Date: Mon, Sep 6th, 2010
Entry Lat: 37.533429
Entry Lng: -108.032428
Entry Visits: 130
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Colorado Trail Map
Miles hiked today: 21.9
Miles from Denver: 454.3
Elevation: 11,000 ft
Segments 26, 27
Landmarks: Hermosa Peak, Blackhawk Mountain, Blackhawk Pass, Straight Creek, Hotel Draw Road
Even though I was camped at a busy road for four wheelers and ATVs last night, thankfully there wasn't too much activity. What I didn't anticipate was how windy the spot was, and I was kept up listening to the tent make sounds in sudden gusts.
I wasn't in too big of a hurry to get going today, mainly because I knew exactly how many miles I planned on doing, I knew it was going to be a pretty flat walk, and I knew it was supposed to be sunny all day. All of those things were as true at the end of today as they were at the beginning, so there really weren't any surprises.
I passed a couple this morning who were out backpacking for the weekend. They were fascinated by my trip, but I had to laugh when, after explaining that I had walked from Denver and had gone some 440 miles with only 45 left, and I was excited I was almost there, the gentleman said, "so you have what, a week left?" I said, "Three days." His eyes got really big, and I think he was shocked anybody walked that far that fast. I lost sight of them after the first turn, and never saw them again.
This morning was the best part of the day. The trail goes right past the foot of Hermosa Peak, and you can see Blackhawk Mountain long before you go over it. Going over Blackhawk Pass was really something special, and I was aware that this could possibly be the last such experience on this trail. I had a break in the cold wind when I was at the top of the pass, and I really didn't want to leave. There were fantastic views looking back at Rollling Mountain, north towards Lizard Head Peak and the Wilsons, and even the Grenadiers far to the east.
There is a note in the data book that Straight Creek, which I encountered after Blackhawk Mountain, would be the last water source for 23 miles. This presents a problem because that would add up to a 30 mile day for me, and I'm not going that far. I've also heard from several sources that there is indeed a spring running about halfway into that stretch, but these sources are weeks old and we haven't had much rain.
So, I loaded my pack down with 4 liters of water, or nearly nine pounds for the entire afternoon. I normally carry 2 liters, so two more wasn't a huge difference especially because I only have a few days of food. But I know for a fact that tomorrow when I'm not carrying all this water, and have eaten a lot more food this pack is going to feel featherweight.
The trail is headed due south now, making a beeline for Durango. I only have about 30 miles left, which I will split into two somewhat easy days. Today will be my last high mileage day, and most likely I will have a lot of leisure time on my hands tomorrow. It is also supposed to storm both days, so that should make life interesting. I'm looking forward to the last five miles of segment 27, which is described as having a 5 mile ridgewalk above treeline.
The Colorado Trail is a 486-mile long-distance trail running from the mouth of Waterton Canyon southwest of Denver to Durango in Colorado, United States. Its highest point is 13,271-foot above sea level, and most of the trail is above 10,000-foot. Learn more: www.coloradotrail.org