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[cdt-l] route questions

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In a message dated 3/21/2003 10:16:17 AM Eastern Standard Time,
janehaxby@hotmail.com writes:

> Been lurking for quite some time now, going through the archives and
> gathering random bits of information.

Deciding which route and from where to where to is one of the harder tasks of
a CDT hike.  Starting mid may in the Gila shouldn't pose many problems, of
course that depends on the snow levels there, but usually it hasn't been a
problem.  Typically entering Colorado and the South San Juans will be more

We made an on trail decision last year to hike CO north due to a very low
snow year.  For the most part, we only had two days of less than enjoyable
hiking with lots of postholing.

In order to have a successful CDT hike you'll have to remain extremely
flexible.  CO may be a no go early on due to snow levels and depending on
your experience.  In order to cover the trail you have planned another option
you may consider is to hike north from the Gila to Cumbres Pass, then south
from South Pass City WY to Copper Mt where if I remember correctly, the CT
bails off.  Then flipping back up to South Pass City and hiking north to

With this option you may have less of a chance into running into serious snow
pack and can use Greyhound from Antonito or Alamosa, CO to Lander WY and then
from Frisco, CO (free bus from Copper MT) back to Lander.  You may have to
hitch or find a ride from Lander to South Pass City.

It may be possible and advisable to hike south from Yellowstone starting mid
June after NM, but I never really thought about that option.

You'll definately want the CDTS guidebooks.   Northern NM generally follows
forest service road or newer trail built by the NM mountain club and avoids a
long paved road walk in and out of Charma.  If you bail at Cumbres Pass you
can hitch into Antonito and be fine with a drop at Ghost Ranch.  In WY,
there's one spot north of Sheridan Pass where the official books suggest,
since there isn't a trail (or road) you drive.  And the CDTS guidebook in CO
generally follows a more scenic and somethimes more challenging route.  The
crosscountry hike from the mountain (?) after Berthoud Pass to James Peak was
one day I'll soon not forget.  It also avoided a serious drop in elevation
and a long climb back up to James.  I had both the guidebooks, but generally
cursed the official guides.

As far as food storage in Griz country well that's up to you.  I tried to
keep my smellables down to a minimum and triple ziplocked most all my meals
through this area, but unless there was a food storage device and/or mandated
by the local authorities I always slept with our food.  My feeling is why
would a Griz bother with a couple pounds of Lipton meals when they had 200
lbs of flesh to choose from.


>  And now finally I think I have
> gathered enough to ask some questions.  :)  I and my fiance Dan are
> planning
> to hike about half the CDT this summer, from mid May through the end of
> August.  We're planning to go northbound and we'd like to hike all of
> Wyoming, ending in Yellowstone.  We have two main route options that I'd
> really like some advice on -- option one: start near the Gila cliff
> dwellings and go north along the Gila and then join the more official
> route,
> continuing into Colorado and stopping at about where the Colorado Trail
> joins the CDT (I forget exactly where that is -- somewhere near Lake
> City?),
> then getting a ride from a friend up to northern CO,  around where the CO
> Trail goes off on its own path (one of Silverthorne, Winter Park, or Grand
> Lake -- we figure here we can be flexible), and hiking on through Wyoming
> to
> YNP.  This way, we can go back and do the CO trail someday and not repeat
> segments (not that that would be all bad either of course).  The other
> option is to start farther north in NM and hike a lot more of Colorado.
> What do you all think?  We'd like to start out kinda slow, and I'm worried
> about snow/flooding now that CO got all those many feet of snow...what do
> you think will be the impact of that?  Gila flooding?  Lots of snow in the
> San Juans?  We're not all that experienced and would like to skip places
> where ice axes are needed....
> Also -- is it true that it is not necessary to bag food away from the tent
> most places except in grizzly country?  I always bear bag, and don't live
> near grizzlies, and am kinda surprised that most people seem to sleep with
> their food...but that sounds much easier to me, so if it works, sounds
> good!
> I'm sure I have more questions, but those are the big ones for now.  Thanks
> for any advice you can give!