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Last weekend I joined one of many Colorado Trail Foundation trail maintenance crews. We car camped in luxury right off the trail where it crosses Highway 24. Our work involved a bridge replacement and general eroision control near the end of segment 8.
In this particular stretch of trail, the Colorado Trail shares singletrack with the Continental Divide Trail. A little over a year ago the CDT Alliance dissolved due to funding. A few months later the Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC) was formed and since then the 3,100 mile trail seems to be protected more now than ever.
Of course the Colorado Trail Foundation itself is still mainly responsible for maintaining 234 miles of trail where the CT and CDT share tread. In addition to this, during the scramble of the CDTA dissolving, the CDTC rising, the CT Foundation agreed to maintain an additional 80 miles of the "Collegiate West" portion of the CDT. Because this portion involves much road walking, the CT Foundation (along with the U.S. Forest Service, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, Southwest Conservation Corps, and the Buena Vista Correctional Facility) is currently in the process of creating new primitive trail for CT and CDT users alike! Click HERE to learn more information about the Collegiate West alternative.
Out with the old bridge, and in with the new. Many people had commented afterwards how interesting it is to see a big group of strangers get together and try and accomplish a task which could take on many different approaches.
Some of the first backpackers to use our newly constructed bridge.
The project morphed a few times, but the overall vision was to create a bridge so that mountain bikers (and of course hikers) could cross the bridge with ease. Beside the bridge we constructed a shallow water crossing aimed at equestrian use. These were vast improvements from the previous structure.
Trying to place stable rock as to fit like pieces of a puzzle.
Almost all of the material we used for new construction came from what had already been onsite. Rain showers came and went during the afternoon; a sign of things to come for the remainder of the weekend.
Creek crossing and bridge side by side.
Sunday we spent most of the morning and early afternoon constructing water bars and small drainage dips between highway 24 and Camp Hale. The trail was already in fantastic condition by many stanards, but this is the Colorado Trail we're talking about.
All the way down to Camp Hale and to the east fork of the Eagle River.
It is far from the most remote areas of the CT, but its own uniqueness is appreciated.
Volunteering for the CT foundation is an excellent way to give back and to meet good people. For more information on voluneering opportunites visit: coloradotrail.org