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[pct-l] FW: Exploring Colorado Trail.doc

Exploring the “Colorado Trail”

  Exploring the “Colorado Trail”
  Trip Report – Marge Prothman  (the old gal)  (kinda long)

  It was 12 hours of driving from Hailey, Idaho to the trailhead we selected
to enter the Colorado Trail out of Frisco CO.  We were able to camp that
night just above the Gold Hill trailhead.   The elevation for entry was
9,200 ft our goal on this section was Georgia Pass at 11,900 ft then hike
back to the car and re-enter on a different section after a couple of days.

  The first nights camp on the trail was a” Colorado Welcome” and it scared
the living daylights out of me.  We were very conscious of the lightening,
thunder and rain. I am usually counting from the lighting to the sound of
the thunder so as to determine how far away the lightening is.  I was hiking
with a good friend and hiking companion for the past few years who is a
Benedictine Monk from the Monastery of the Ascension in ID.  He has PCT 85,
95 behind his name.

  About 5 p.m. the rain started so the Tarp tent was quickly put up and we
sat on our pads to outwait the storm.  The lightening was getting closer and
closer and finally I could not even get the word “one” out.  We had 3 big
strikes directly above us. I of course leaped on the Monk and held on (I am
sure he thought he had been hit by lightening) we smelled smoke on the third
strike.  The rain came down in buckets

  for about 20 minutes and then we were able to get out and determine if the
forest was on fire.    We found nothing and the weather was clearing up………”
Welcome to the Rocky Mountain of Colorado”.

  The rest of the hike on this section was uneventful, and we saw only 3
hikers and hundreds of young people on mountain bikes, pumping their way up
to 12,000 ft.  Saw a couple of guys with small trailers behind their bikes.
They were riding from Keystone to Denver CO and said once they get up to
Georgia Pass it would be all downhill from there to Denver.  This was over
the Labor Day weekend, but we later found out there was a big international
bike race planned for the area, hence the bike pants denoting the various

  We saw absolutely no wildlife during this time, no scat.  Saw a couple of
chipmunks who were really scared of us, not too many birds either. The food
stayed in the pack.  We had great weather during the day for hiking, some
little rain showers in the early evening with lightening and thunder far
away.  We were in the trees the entire time until we got close to Georgia

  The next section: After a fabulous drive up a highway called “Top of the
Rockies”.             We had marvelous views the entire way.  We went by
Copper Mountain and Vail ski areas and then came to Tennessee Pass at 10,424

  We entered here at Tennessee Pass trailhead.  There was a memorial for the
10th Mtn. Division on the highway and parts of the trail were the original
trail for the training of the 10th Mtn. division, and parts were cross
county ski trails.

  This was a pretty area and we soon had great views of the surrounding
mountains.  We camped at Porcupine Lakes, which would be the highest at
11,480ft in this section.  Part of the time we were in the Holy Cross
Wilderness with views of the Continental Divide glaciated walls.

  Here again was one of those nights from hell, at 6pm the rain starts, I
dive into my tarptent.  My friend dives into his bivvy sack which at this
moment is set up a little bit out of hearing and sight from me.

  The lightening and thunder and pouring rain kept up until 1.30 a.m.   The
lightening changed to Sheet Lightening and lit up the entire sky for another

  The worst was the wind along with strong gust.  I think I could have
selected a better place for my tarp.  I was sure that it was going to blow
off on one side.  I had become complacent in my set up and did not even
lower one of the ends.  I was hesitant to try and change anything at that
point, as I did not want to get wet or loose control if part of the tarp got

  I was getting some water on my down bag at the foot end.  Then I
remembered something the Monk had told me previously.

  I took my Gortex jacket, did it up and put my feet in it and pulled it up
over the foot of my bag, this worked great.  Not much sleep that night.

  Again, we never saw any wildlife, but we are seeing evidence of Moose and
Elk. We finally dropped down to the end of this section to the Hagerman Pass
Rd at 10,360ft.  We had planned to camp here and then start the hike back up
to the car the next morning.

  This is when the rain and snow started and when a lady came into the
trailhead and offered to drive us to our car, we graciously accepted.  We
got the car, went to the town of Leadville at 10,200ft. Had dinner and
watched the mountains get covered with snow.   We decided to end the trip a
few days early.

  We looked for Flying Brian and we did see one CD hiker named Chris ?

  Found out this morning that if the weather had held then for sure Brian
would have caught us, he was not that far behind.

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