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The Heathen Hiker
Country: United States Of America
Begins: Jul 14, 2022
Date: Mon, Jun 26th, 2017
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Colorado Trail Map
Today I spent the day doing some itinerary planning for my thru-hike of the Colorado Trail. The first step was to examine all of the segments of the Colorado Trail of which I was planning to hike. I wrote them down, in the order I was going to hike them, including the Collegiate Loop West option. Finally I was able to get a full scope of what my hike will have in store for me! The total mileage calculated was 489.7 miles. I am hoping to complete the hike in 35 days (5 weeks). This equates to a pace of 14-20 miles a day depending on how many zero days I take, and is about 100 miles per week.
The other major purpose for my itinerary planning today was to determine the locations I was going to utilize for my resupply pickups. Instead of trying to do mail drops, or hitching into town, I have the benefit of being a Colorado native. This, in conjunction with having an amazing partner in life, allows me to approach my resupply a little differently than some hikers. To coordinate scheduling, my resupplies will occur every seven days. Considering it only takes about 6 hours and 20 minutes or so to drive from Denver to Durango, there is no trailhead to which my wife could not drive to within a day. Therefore, I figure that the easiest method to resupply would be for my loving wife to meet me at predetermined locations every seven days or so. The obvious additional benefit to this is spending ever so precious time with my spouse!
I was able to locate four suitable pickup spots along the trail. I was looking for places that were around the 100 mile marks of my hike, and wouldn't be overly difficult for my wife to get to. The resupply pickup locations which I determined would be the best are as follows:
Mile 000.0 Waterton Canyon TH: The northern terminus of the CT, and the beginning of my hike. The trail head is across the paved street from the dirt parking lot.
Mile 104.4 Gold Hill TH: Here, the CT crosses Hwy 9 just north of Breckenridge. Hwy 9 is a paved highway, and there will be no issues getting there.
Mile 180.7 Twin Lakes/Hwy 24: Here, the CT enters the town of Twin Lakes, follows Hwy 24 east for about 4.2 miles. There, it heads south again. Hwy 24 is paved and an easy approach.
Mile 307.5 CO Hwy 114: Here, the CT follows County Road 31 CC until it meets CO Hwy 114. Then the trail crosses Hwy 114. Hwy 114 is a gravel road. This will be the most difficult approach.
Mile 415.8 Molas Pass: Here, the CT crosses Hwy 550 at about .2 miles north of the summit of Molas Pass. Hwy 550 is paved, and there is a rest stop at the summit of the pass.
Mile 489.7 Junction Creek TH: The southern terminus of the CT, and my final destination! The trailhead is on a paved road about 4.5 miles from Downtown Durango.
You might notice that the resupply locations aren't exactly every 100 miles. Well, that is due to the balance of the distance I hike, and the ease of the drive for my wife to get to me. I figure a little extra hiking some days to get to an area which is safer for my wife to get to is well worth it!
Now to continue accumulating all my gear, and waiting until I have accrued the required amount of vacation at work!
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