Thursday, June 27, 2013

Gaining Altitude with Attitude!

Well, it has begun again. For all the anxiety I had getting started on this trail, it was like riding a bike...I simply fell in step again. My psyche is relaxing and I am beginning to appreciate my surroundings (even the mosquitoes). This trail is certainly different than the Appalachian Trail. I would say a little less social, but we seem to be in a little CT bubble right now. Also, we recently joined with the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) and thus have that traffic to contend with as well. They are all heading north as we head south! So, much conversation and sharing of campsites along the way. At the same time, there is much more conversation when traveling with a companion versus on the AT when I was basically traveling alone. It has been fun getting to know more about my friend Liz and having each other to push and pull along the trail. As Mike mentioned, we have avoided forest fires at this time. There is a big one brewing in the south consuming beetle kill which they cannot seem to contain. Liz and I are keeping our eyes on that one as well as the weather which can ignite anything out here in the dry state of Colorado. That is part of the reason I am sitting in a hotel in Frisco right now. Tuesday evening, we were suppose to camp 4 miles away from the highway between Frisco and Breckenridge. The trail book stated there were good campsites right after the water source at 4miles to go. I'm sure there WERE good campsites; however, there were also tons of dead trees in the way. Either the beetle kill trees were blocking our access to the campsites or they were laying in some awesome looking campsite areas. Between that and the dead trees still standing causing us some concern, we decided to power through those last 4 miles (making it a 19mile day instead of a 15mile day) and head in to Frisco. There is a bus stop on the road we cross at the point of the Colorado Trail thus making it real easy to go in to either Frisco or Breckenridge. Liz already had a reservation at a hotel in Frisco for the days I go to Leadville for my marathon, so we called them and they were able to put us in the room she will have during that time. That made it real easy for us to then catch the free shuttle back to the trail yesterday (wednesday), slackpack over the ten mile range (13+miles), catch the free shuttle in Copper, and be back to Frisco for the evening. The trip so far has been amazing. We have narrowly escaped a forest fire that has shut down the first 2 segments of the trail. Yesterday, we learned of a new one that has probably shut down segment 5 of the trail. This one we could see from the top of Georgia pass which goes from hwy 285 to Hwy 9. As I mentioned, we are still watching the West Fork Complex fires to see whether we will end up having to skip a segment or 2. We are hoping not to have to skip, but when it comes down to safety, we want to stay safe. Liz and I have also talked about waiting it out and doing some relief help if needed in that area if it looks like we might only be delayed by a couple of days. The beetle kill is just so extensive that most of the state could burn up! A couple of CDT hikers I met the other day mentioned making it through the area before their section of the CDT was closed because of the fires. That is how Liz and I have been playing the fires... Just a day or a few hours ahead of them. On a more personal note, I am missing my husband like crazy. During the day, I mostly hike alone as I have longer legs than Liz and just tend to go my own pace. Those are the times I think about my husband and my family. I am really excited to see my nephews this weekend as they come up to cheer me on at my Marathon. My father will once again be spending time watching me do crazy things in Leadville. He has already sat through my attempts at the 100. At least this time it is only a marathon and won't take as long and won't be as disappointing, as I plan to finish! Liz and I have been overwhelmed by the people who have rallied to help us on this excursion. Our first food drop was done 4days in to the trail by her mother and neighbor. It was wonderful and we carried a small bottle of merlot with us for the next week never finding the best time to drink it. Then our second drop was done by our friend, Deb, who spoiled us rotten. SO MUCH food! She has a cabin near Kenosha Pass and thus picked us up and took us there. Her husband works fire rescue in that area as well and was able to pick us up when we got in a day early! It was wonderful considering I had broken a tent pole and would have ended up duct taping my tent together to make it work for the night! Deb also brought up a couple of tents for me to choose from. At the same time, I had called REI from the ridge to buy the newer model of the tent I broke. We had a friend coming up on Monday who brought the tent up. However, after setting up the one Deb had brought up (which she had planned to use on her own excursion along the CT before she hurt her knees), I decided to take her Big Agnes copper spur 1. It was great the one night I got to use it so far. I look forward to the miles ahead and the adventures. We have plenty of people meeting us and hiking for a bit as well as just bringing us food or wanting to cook something for us. My appetite has not increased yet to the point of being able to consume everything in sight but it is certainly picking up. I am amazed at how much I am able to eat even when I am not feeling well. I know I need to get the food in or I will not be able to make the hike, so down the shoot the food goes! It is great feeling the body and learning its needs again. So, this has turned in to quite the long post. We are over 100miles along the trail and much has happened. I appreciate all the support as we traverse this trail and look forward to keeping everyone abreast of our adventures. The next post will probably come from Leadville and will more than likely be shorter. One can only talk about the trail for so long! Thank you and blessed be!

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