Success and Failure on the Colorado Trail
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Maia
(maia) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Success and Failure on the Colorado Trail on 05/08/2012 12:13:15 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Success and Failure on the Colorado Trail

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Success and Failure on the Colorado Trail on 05/08/2012 12:51:52 MDT Print View

Great story. Excellent pictures. Thanks.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
re: Colorado Trail on 05/08/2012 13:17:19 MDT Print View

I really enjoyed this one, Luke, and you got some fantastic pictures. Thanks for taking the time to put this together.

Joseph R
(Dianoda) - MLife

Locale: Chicago, IL
Re: Success and Failure on the Colorado Trail on 05/08/2012 13:24:33 MDT Print View

Thanks for the trip report, Luke. Great pictures, too - looks like I need to add another trail to my list.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Success and Failure on the Colorado Trail on 05/08/2012 13:31:35 MDT Print View

Great report, and in no way was your trip a failure! You did all but a few miles and enjoyed all the most scenic parts. It's not your fault--or your failure--that your ankle went out on the final stretch!

Again, it's nice to see the sweet and lovely Maia added to the BPL office staff. A most talented dog!

Edited by hikinggranny on 05/08/2012 13:32:34 MDT.

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
Success and Failure on the Colorado Trail on 05/08/2012 13:47:28 MDT Print View

Luke, nice report and pictures, great job!

Benjamin Raty
(Sauber) - F - MLife

Locale: Mountain West
Success and Failure on the Colorado Trail on 05/09/2012 10:49:13 MDT Print View

I traveled to south-central Colorado for a funeral this past week and drove right through the area you traversed. As I was driving along I couldn't resist looking far away from the road to enjoy the scenery and wonder what I was missing.

The funeral was sad enough, but missing everything you managed to capture on this trip made it an especially frustrating week. I very much enjoyed the write-up and pictures, though.

For what it's worth, "Uncompadre" Peak as labelled with one of the photos is actually Uncompahgre Peak.

Thanks for the trip report, Luke!

Edited by Sauber on 05/09/2012 10:50:39 MDT.

Dambara Begley
(dambara)
Well done, Luke! on 05/09/2012 13:54:03 MDT Print View

Thanks, Luke, for your trip report and great photos. I'll add my reassurance: taking care of a bad, painful ankle is success, whether during long thru-hikes or professional sports. Life is the longer thru-hike, and a happy ankle for the rest of it means a lot. Anything else is ego-pride--way more fleeting than true wisdom. Cheers! -Dambara

Leigh Baker
(leighb) - F

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
Excellent, Luke! on 05/09/2012 16:56:45 MDT Print View

Thanks again for an awesome trip report!

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Very inspiring on 05/09/2012 20:38:05 MDT Print View

Luke, great report. I thought I'd read a bit, hit the shower (just got home from the gym) and come back and finish it. Nope. Read it straight through. Engrossing to say the least. Journey's tend to test, and build, faith. Glad you feel stronger. Being in Gods creation can't help but put you a little closer. Now that is what I call success.

Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
Wonderful Story! on 05/09/2012 23:02:44 MDT Print View

Wonderful story, Luke! I don't think the trip was a failure at all. I think you did great! I was especially interested in reading it, because thru-hiking the Colorado Trail is on my list of hikes I want to do. The pictures are beautiful. I can't wait to see all those areas myself.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Very inspiring on 05/10/2012 06:01:07 MDT Print View

I hope to do this trip as well someday. Nicely done!

I'm curious though why you like your poles so long as it didn't like look you were going downhill in most of those pics? All the advice I've ever read says your arms should be parallel to the ground.

Rick Burtt
(rburtt) - MLife
Thanks for the insight! on 05/10/2012 08:20:40 MDT Print View

Really enjoyed the report. I'm planning a thru-hike of the CT summer of '13, and I've read a ton about logistical challenges, but not so much about the mental hardships. I'd love to get your advice on foods to bring and what gear did or didn't work for you at various stages. I gather from the context that you started fairly late in the season, and wonder what impact that had. Thanks so much for sharing!

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Answers to a couple questions on 05/10/2012 08:46:57 MDT Print View

Well thanks a lot for all the kind words ya'll.

First to give credit where its due I had a lot of good ideas from other BPL articles before I went into this. I got some good ideas for organizing the article from Ryan Linn's articles about the PCT and Eric ("Balls") and Sunshine's articles about their PCT thru hike. Reading their articles gave me an idea of what made a good trip report and how to focus in on the "big ideas" or the things that really dominated the thinking and emotions on a hike rather than focusing too much on little details.

To answer a few questions...

Michael - I probably do have those poles adjusted a bit long. I don't think I changed the lenght very often at all on the trip.

Rick - Foods are a personal thing. I think the main thing is to make sure you have enough. To start off I had about 2000+ calories a day or 1.4 pounds of food. This was definately not enough. I was feeling hungry on the third day. Also think about the melting factor if you'll be out in warm summer weather.
Gear wise things worked out. I started with a small 5x9ft. tarp. It worked but it was a pain in the neck when it rained all the time. A bigger tarp was very nice for the extra coverage. I am glad I carried an internal frame pack on the trip instead of my usual frameless pack. With food and water my total pack weight was over 20 pounds quiet often so the extra pound for a sturdy frame was worth it.
Starting late meant no real snow. It should have meant fewer thunderstorms but they didn't really slack up until towards the very end.
A couple things would have helped make the trip a bit easier.
1. I should have used gaiters to keep dust out of my shoes
2. I should have done first aid on blisters more proactively (don't skimp on blister care by the way)
3. I should have put new socks in my resupply boxes.
4. Camera batteries go quickly in cold weather. I had five batteries but it would have made more sense to take 2 or 3 and bounce a charger to resupplies.
If you think about doing this I highly recommend you read Andrew Skurka's book first.

Edited by Cameron on 05/10/2012 08:47:48 MDT.

Gus Lott
(gklott) - MLife

Locale: Texas Hill Country
Nicely done on 05/12/2012 06:44:04 MDT Print View

Excellent trip report. Thanks.

Tim Cheek
(hikerfan4sure) - MLife
Not a failure at all! on 05/13/2012 18:47:50 MDT Print View

Luke,

Thank you for the report.

I'm curious. Looking back on it, would you have rather hiked only the most scenic parts of the trail (on different trips) rather than the whole trail?

Or to ask the same question another way, was the enjoyment of completing the whole trail worth the "boring" parts?

Dana Sherry
(dsherry) - M

Locale: Mi Upper Peninsula
trip on 05/13/2012 20:02:01 MDT Print View

Love how you shared the emotional challenges of hiking solo. I face similar challenges on my solo trips, and therefore have done very few long trips when I can't get a hiking companion. this yrs test is the Wonderland.

Thanks for the trip report. Loved it. Must have been a great experience.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Not a Failure at All on 05/13/2012 20:54:26 MDT Print View

"I'm curious. Looking back on it, would you have rather hiked only the most scenic parts of the trail (on different trips) rather than the whole trail?

Or to ask the same question another way, was the enjoyment of completing the whole trail worth the "boring" parts?"

Tim thats a very good question. I think it depends on what your goals are. In this case my goal was to stay on a trail more or less continiously. I wanted to know how a longer backpacking trip felt and how to plan for one. For those goals the boring parts were worth it becasue they were part of the "long trip" experience. I could have done the most scenic areas in about a week by driving to them and doing seperate mini trips but it would not have been nearly as powerful of an experience.

R S
(rps76) - F
Re: Re Not a Failure at All on 05/13/2012 21:42:36 MDT Print View

Wait...when did you leave? Is this this year?

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Dates of Trip on 05/13/2012 22:13:24 MDT Print View

RS, I started something like August 20 of last summer and finished about September 12 if I recall correctly. Basically I went than because it was when I had the time but it worked out pretty well. It never got really cold and the thunderstorms slowed down a bit toward the end. The colder days seemed to produce less of them. The downside was the creeks were drier and there wasn't much snow to look at on the mountains.