Before we get into our trail plans, it seems best to go back in time a bit to see how we ended up here. This past winter, we spent 2.5 months in Guatemala (which was great by the way, but that can be a different post). While in Guatemala, we talked a lot about how we wanted to spend our time in the spring and summer. We had two trips which were kind of our “anchors” for the following six or more months…Trip #1 was going to Paris and London with our niece who was graduating from high school at the beginning of June. We were gone for the first two weeks of June and had a great time (again, another post – another time)…Trip #2 will be canoeing the Mississippi River with two friends from the hiking world (Qball and Safety Officer). We are scheduled to start at Lake Itasca (headwaters of the MS) at the end of August and we’re not really sure when we will finish, but guesstimate that it will be a 2 to 2.5 month adventure.
So, given our two trips which locked us into specific dates, we knew we weren’t going to be able to do any long trails this year. However, we really wanted to be able to get out a do a significant amount of trail miles. Our first plan was to hike the Grand Enchantment Trail starting at the beginning of April. We had done all the planning work (this involved Beardoh getting very nerdy with Google Sheets), we had downloaded all the waypoints into our GAIA App, and we had printed off the water report and some maps which showed the alternates. However, at the beginning of March, we got notice that we would need to be in a situation where we were easily reachable by phone or email for the month of April. Given that the Grand Enchantment Trail is pretty remote, and cell coverage is far from a “given,” we knew we had to nix the GET for this year.
Instead, we headed to the mid-west for some work time. We started to come up with a new plan for how to get out on ANY trail. Since we weren’t far from the Superior Hiking Trail, we started to make plans to hike that trail beginning in the second week of May. We couldn’t start any later, because we needed to be in California at the beginning of June for our niece’s graduation and our trip to Europe. However, as April went on, and our work load only increased, we accepted the fact that hiking the SHT this spring was out of the question.
On our way to California for the rendezvous with SweetPea’s family, we stopped on the PCT for a day and a half to deliver some trail magic. It was great to feel like we were brightening the day for hikers coming through the desert. We had a great time meeting all the hikers and sleeping in our hammocks again. We were really happy that we had the chance to deliver some goodies as we have been fortunate to receive a lot of trail magic over the years, but at the same time, it made us really long for being out on the trail…spending our days outdoors, getting to know such a variety of people, and feeling like a part of a community of really good folks.
So, all of that backstory brings us to now… in Colorado Springs…dog sitting for two very lovable/crazy dogs. The morning after arriving back in the states from our European vacation with our niece, we hoped in the car and started our drive from CA to CO, where we were going to house/dog sit for a week. That meant spending our 18th wedding anniversary and SweetPea’s birthday in our car, driving along I-80. It worked out really great, though, as we knew we needed to kill some time before starting the Colorado Trail (trying to let the snow melt), and being in Colorado Springs has been great to give us some acclimatization to a higher elevation. The city is at over 6,000 feet and we have gotten out for day hikes which has us over 9,000 feet. Definitely a bonus for starting the trail. We still remember our second day on the Tahoe Rim Trail, when SweetPea was really dragging from the elevation…we had gone pretty much from sea-level to the trail and were near 9,000 feet on the second day. Hopefully, we can start this trail feeling stronger.
The Colorado Trail has been on our radar for awhile now. We have heard such good things about it from multiple people. We had even considered doing it last year (hiking only part of the PCT), but instead we decided to continue on and complete the PCT. Being around 485 miles, the trail is a good length given our time frame. We expect to take about 3.5 weeks to complete the trail (including a few zero days). We even have the double bonus of seeing some old friends while we are on the trail…one friend from our Peace Corps days in Tanzania, and another childhood friend of Beardoh’s – as well as seeing other friends in the Denver and Colorado Springs area.