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Carolyn and Richard
Begins: Jul 31, 2010
Date: Fri, Oct 22nd, 2010
Trip Distance: 352.9
Entry Visits: 643
Journal Visits: 8,950
Guestbook Views: 297
Guestbook Entrys: 19
A bit of retrospect...
My favorite gear/food/idea from this trip is my new Neo sleeping pad. I slept better than I ever have on the trail and in crappy campsites. My top overall favorite remains a tie between my sleeping bag (like a warm feathery hug from a loved one) and my pee rag ('nuff said here). Rich's favorite idea for this trip was how well it worked to use Cytogainer for breakfast - 570 cals/74 g carbs/54 g protein/low sugar. His overall favorite gear remains his windshirt.
For trip planning, it would have been better to have started earlier in the season, even though we would have had more monsoon hiking. I personally would have liked less miles per day, even if it meant more days on the trail between resupplies and an extra pounds of food. An on-trail zero would have been wonderful, too, and there were a bunch of places that would have been perfect. I think we underestimated how long it would take to acclimate to the elevation, even accounting for my new found allergies. I also think we underestimated how long it takes to navigate when off trail (or off the Official CDT or CT) using Wolf's guides and Ley's maps. Generally, I underestimated how much non-hiking time I would have each day for washing up, rinsing clothes, combing my hair, journaling, photography, even cooking was a rush on some nights. The babywipes we carried were worth their weight to be able to quickly wipe down the pits-n-parts each night.
We overestimated how much gorp we would eat, but that seems to be a perennial problem for us. We sent ourselves way too much food but sent stuff home each time we sorted through it, except at Twin Lakes where we couldn't mail out.
I have used and loved my ULA P2 for many years (6+) but it did not perform as I needed on our trip segments that had us carrying more than 5 days worth of food and the times we had to carry 3 liters of water. I could have gone more lightweight but then I would have been cutting into those thru-hiker comfort items and would have been more cold, slept badly or more hungry or thirsty. Anyway, I bought a new pack for those trips that require me to carry 40+ pounds for everything (water, food, gear) and intend to use my ULA for less weighty ocassions until it rots. I got a Millet (French) women's pack that is a glow in the dark neon green color. It has more straps than I like but I can trim these but more importantly it has a sturdy harness to help support higher weights. It is about 4 pounds (or little less) and is about 4000 cu inches so I have lost some volume I didn't need but gained a bit of weight.
The MSR Hubba Hubba did great, even it wasn't really build to withstand hurricane winds. We had some water seepage one evening but we were on a puddle and it didn't become a disaster once Lake Noonan drained away. The tent is 5+ years old, too. We use soft tyvek as a ground cloth and it can't overcome ponding forever.
We weren't as happy with our boot performance - lightweight Asolos. The rubber on the toes on my newer boots are already separating and it will leak the next time I pouddle stomp if I don't goop it first. Rich is going to hunt for different boots and I am going to see if I can fix mine or talk REI into replacing them. We both have crappy knees and/or ankles and don't really want to risk (further) damage by giving up ankle support to lose ounces. I absolutely recommend short lightweight gaitors to keep all the crap out of your boots; I tie my boots loose for uphills and it is increadible how much junk gets in.
Our clothing system worked well but I wished for my warmer merino long underwear tops after we got past Salida. Longer length running shorts worked very well with our raingear pants that had full length zips (Marmot) so we (me) could vent heat. We skipped spending big bucks on waterproof gloves and went with newspaper bags - they worked great and weigh nothing. I alternated between light windbreaker gloves and fleece mittens (so warm and nice) and Rich had windbreaker fleece gloves and liners. I wore a visor with various combinations of 2 Buff headgear-thingies, so I could vent head heat and try to keep cold air from my lungs. (Hey, try hiking hot as a menopausal women and see how miserable it can be!) Rich stayed more covered up with a full brim hat with the pull down desert scarf-thingy. We were not fashion statements by any means! We were very vigilent about sunscreen but used less as we progressed becasue we were more covered up by clothing.
We carried a GPS and barely used it and ended up carrying way more batteries than we needed. Rich wore a wrist altimeter and we used it ALL the time. I barely used my little MP3 player, only to chase Sonny and Cher songs out of my head. Rich carried a bunch of camera gear but a great deal lighter than the gear he carried on the JMT. I went with an Optio that was really light. The blackberry turned out to be very useful in town for email, internet, phone and journaling. We were out of cell range on the trail once we got past Leadville. I would leave the MP3 home and dump some batteries. I also would have to be convinced that we really needed the GPS next time. I could have saved up to a pound of weight this way.
I hope this retrospect helps you future CDT hikers!
Colorado CDT Section Hike
"I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in."
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