356.0 trip miles
I didn’t get much sleep for having to run to the bathroom every couple hours. Food poisoning? Segment 4 started out in tall pine trees and we remained in them most the day. We were trying to out run a thunderstorm, but by 5pm it caught us and two other hikers. We were hunkered down in the trees while the lightning and thunder clapped overhead, terrifying Dizzy who normally can’t hear a thing. After an hour we were all soaked and carried on behind the storm. The other two hikers stopped for the night and we planned to camp just over the saddle we were approaching. Once at the saddle, round two of the storm hit us with a vengeance! We hiked as fast as we could trying to descend in elevation. It didn’t help and all the possible spots to camp were a wet mess or had flash steams flowing through them. About 9 pm, we found a flattish spot and set up camp as fast we could as it was still raining. Miren built Dizzy a lean-to and we crawled in the tent to settle for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner. Me, having to force it down as I was nauseous and still running to potty every couple hours.
12.5 miles…the slowest we ever hiked
368.5 trip miles
It was a cold hard wet night in the tent and I couldn’t seem to get up even though I didn’t sleep much. Finally after choking down a few nuts we hit the trail about 10 am having 12.5 miles to go to the van and a little comfort. It was the most difficult 12.5 miles as I was dragging and couldn’t get any food down. Miren kept encouraging me and dragged us through the miles and we finally made it to the van about 4 pm as the rain set in again. The storm was so bad that two bike packers resorted to spending the night in the outhouse to stay dry. Yuck!
Miren and I had to debate what to do. I was not feeling any better but all we had left was segments 1-3, about 38 miles. In the end, the next morning we drove to a pharmacy and then to Molly’s in Boulder. A couple days of puking and bathroom runs and my appetite was back. So back to the trail we head.
381.2 trip miles
Today was an up down day. The drive to the trailhead was through a gorgeous canyon along the South Fork river. We met several hikers who were just beginning the Colorado trail. This was segment 1 and we were hiking the dog alternate route, which is a 4.5 mile side trail that parts from the CT ending at the Indian creek campground. Being lower in elevation, we were in trees all day with no real views to mention.
392.9 trip miles
Segment 2; we had been warned by many that this was a dry section that had burned and everyone complained about it. We loved it, lol! We started about 6:30 am to beat the heat and loved the open rolling hills with random rock features jutting out along the way. There was a herd of mule deer that crossed our path and the openness made us giggle after being in trees the day before. It only took us until 10:30 am to hike the whole section so we got to spend the afternoon lying in the sun and shade along a river.
405.1 trip miles
The last day of our journey. Segment 3 wound through the pines with lots of other roads, trails and camping spots crossing its path. Being a Saturday the trail was full of mountain bikers. I’m sure they were as frustrated with hikers as we were with most them. Going such different speeds, it almost becomes a hazard for both. Most were polite and would yield the right away if we we slogging up hill. A few others made our experience a bit annoying, making us want nothing more than to be done with the section. Some wouldn’t brake at all going downhill, forcing us off the trail or risk being a handlebar ornament. Mixed trail use can be a bit crowded on the weekends near the front range…aka, Denver side of the continental divide. About noon we finished up the hike and touched the signpost marking the end of our journey! Yippee!
We drove back to Grand Junction and I should mention my stomach problems had returned for the last three days of the hike. On Monday I went to my doctor and four hours later was informed I had both giardia and another stomach bug, Hpylori. I’m on the road to recovery now, but let me tell you, it’s not a pretty or fun process. With that diagnosis and the fact that we are flying to Europe in September for a month, we decided against hiking the western colligates. I think next summer we will hike that section with Dizzy…she really wants to say she hiked the whole thing. 🙂