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#168687 - 01/04/19 02:51 PM Backpacking in Colorado
CPD Offline
enthusiast


Registered: 04/07/06
Posts: 256
Loc: Lorain County, Ohio, USA
I have a non-literary question for our esteemed host (or anyone else on the list with some knowledge on this).

Some friends and I are planning to do a 2- or 3-day backpacking hike in Colorado this summer, to mark that three of them are turning 50 this year. I'll be 52 by then. I'm celebrating getting physically fit with a >60lb weight loss (57 lbs accomplished) and fitness regime. I live in Ohio at an elevation of around 800 ft. Two others of the group live near Boston and Washington, DC, respectively. The third lives in the Denver area. Three of the four of us are not used to elevation. The guy from Boston is a marathon runner.

Do you have any suggestions for a hike? Loops are preferred to in-out trails, but nothing is off the table. Three of us have regular backpacking experience from hiking in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.
_________________________
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. —Samuel Beckett

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#168688 - 01/04/19 06:27 PM Re: Backpacking in Colorado [Re: CPD]
bhuesers Online   content
member


Registered: 11/28/07
Posts: 9
Loc: kansas,USA
The Zirkel Circle, about 45 minutes from Steamboat is breathtaking.

https://www.theoutbound.com/colorado/hiking/hike-the-zirkel-circle-gilpin-lake-loop

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#168694 - 01/13/19 04:11 PM Re: Backpacking in Colorado [Re: CPD]
Dan Simmons Administrator Offline
CEO of the Hegemony


Registered: 09/02/05
Posts: 11206
Loc: Colorado
 Originally Posted By: CPD
I have a non-literary question for our esteemed host (or anyone else on the list with some knowledge on this).

Some friends and I are planning to do a 2- or 3-day backpacking hike in Colorado this summer, to mark that three of them are turning 50 this year. I'll be 52 by then. I'm celebrating getting physically fit with a >60lb weight loss (57 lbs accomplished) and fitness regime. I live in Ohio at an elevation of around 800 ft. Two others of the group live near Boston and Washington, DC, respectively. The third lives in the Denver area. Three of the four of us are not used to elevation. The guy from Boston is a marathon runner.

Do you have any suggestions for a hike? Loops are preferred to in-out trails, but nothing is off the table. Three of us have regular backpacking experience from hiking in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.


Dan S. responds to CPD:

My sincere apologies for not responding sooner to your backpacking query. I've been truly AWOL for a few weeks.

When I moved out here decades ago I found it easier to backpack here in Colorado than in the Adirondacks where I'd put many miles into packing and climbing -- the reason is that the trail-builders out in Colorado believe in switchbacks to get up the slopes.

There are a myriad of great loop trails and to and fro trails right along the Front Range of Colorado. (And "Front Range" doesn't mean you'll be taking a number and trudging along in single file with tons of others . . . it's easy to get into the backcountry quickly and see some astounding scenery, and get a true sense of isolation, within a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. I recommend that you and your pals look at some of the trails in Rocky Mt. National Park. (Yeah, you have to reserve backcountry camping sites ahead of time with the Park Service, but they're usually available. And, yeah, they're primitive.) And the Park is HUGE, spreading on both sides of the Continental Divide.

Only a couple of caveats about 'packing out here. One is the obvious warning about dehydration; your body doesn't know it's sweating out here, especially at any real altitude. Before you know it, if you don't keep drinking water, you do a faceplant. The other is about trails that take you up and keep up up above treeline. As a view-fanatic, I always loved getting above the trees in the Midwest and east, but out here you can spend days -- weeks -- above treeline. (Hiking south from Maroon Bells, say.) My advice is -- don't do it. Not only is the altitude truly taxing above 11,000+ feet, but the storms are nasty. #1 killer of hikers in Colorado is drowning -- those quiet little mountain streams grab you and won't let you go. (Unbuckle those belts and a strap if wading any mt. stream -- be ready to let the pack go if necessary.) But lightning is the #2 killer here and trust me that the storms WILL come up with a terrible suddenness whenever you spend much time above treeline. The general rule is to get the hell down below treeline before noon.

But in the meantime -- ENJOY! I've found hiking and backpacking in Colorado one of the great joys of life. Even a few days should be rewarding for you guys. (And you've already lost 57 of a proposed 60 lbs. in weight to prepare?? You've already triumphed!)

Contact me on the this forum when you guys come out. I'll give you a circa 1911 Trapper Nelson, 6 lbs. of hardtack, and point you down my Windwalker canyon toward some of the wildest country in Colorado. And, yes, there ARE mountain lions there!

Good hiking, guys.

ds

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#168695 - 01/13/19 04:14 PM Re: Backpacking in Colorado [Re: Dan Simmons]
Dan Simmons Administrator Offline
CEO of the Hegemony


Registered: 09/02/05
Posts: 11206
Loc: Colorado
ps --

check out the loop trail in RMNP. http://www.coloradoswildareas.com/2014/05/24/five-colorado-backpacking-loops/

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#168696 - 01/13/19 04:35 PM Re: Backpacking in Colorado [Re: Dan Simmons]
steele,rick Offline
Super User


Registered: 07/30/11
Posts: 2616
Loc: Sarasota, Florida
Great advise, from one who has been in the Shadow of Everest.

One minor suggestion from a former Colorado Geologist: Don't rush right from the airport to RMNP. You'll more than likely suffer from altitude sickness...no matter how fit you are or how much weight recently lost. Perhaps you could spend a day or so in Boulder...just do day hikes along the Flat Irons. They are iconic enough to be memorable and you can challenge yourselves on some technical trails. Then after a couple of days, with some carb loading at some fantastic Boulder Restaurants, head up to RMNP. Wave at Wind Walker II cabin as you cruise the Peak-to-Peak Highway.
_________________________
In questions of science, the authority of 1000 is not worth the humble reasoning of 1 man. Galileo

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#168697 - 01/13/19 05:46 PM Re: Backpacking in Colorado [Re: steele,rick]
Dan Simmons Administrator Offline
CEO of the Hegemony


Registered: 09/02/05
Posts: 11206
Loc: Colorado
http://www.silentlandscapes.com/boulder-flatirons-snow

Edited by Dan Simmons (01/13/19 05:47 PM)

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#168698 - 01/15/19 06:44 PM Re: Backpacking in Colorado [Re: Dan Simmons]
ColinFraizer Online   content
enthusiast


Registered: 12/15/13
Posts: 101
Loc: Indiana, USA
Thanks for the hiking advice!

As I read the first couple paragraphs I was thinking, "Should we really be taking hiking advice from someone known to spontaneously crash head-first into rocks?" I was glad you addressed the issue in the fourth paragraph. :-)

Quick questions: when you briefly re-emerged into DS Forum society, did you see your shadow? What creative projects are on the horizon that we fans should be anticipating? New novels?

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#168699 - 01/16/19 05:25 PM Re: Backpacking in Colorado [Re: ColinFraizer]
CPD Offline
enthusiast


Registered: 04/07/06
Posts: 256
Loc: Lorain County, Ohio, USA
Thank you, Dan, and the rest for the responses! I am sincerely appreciative. Please, have no worries about the timeliness of your response. It's enough that you took the time to do so.

I've dayhiked in the mountains before as I love to visit the western US. I am careful about dehydration. As part of my fitness regime, I drink a LOT of water. That will increase in the mountains.

Back in '96 I did an ill-advised first-time-ever solo hike over the Continental Divide in Yellowstone to Shoshone Lake. Lots of noob mistakes there. It makes for a funny story, which is too long to rehash here. But I did learn a lot, such as how much I needed to learn.

Years ago, one of the friends and I hiked up San Jacinto Peak in CA with no time to acclimatize to the altitude. Won't make that mistake again. I plan on at least a couple days in the Denver/Boulder area before hiking. My formerly estranged brother and a couple of other old friends live out there and I will spend some time visiting.

Also years ago, 1999, my wife before she was my wife and I were up in RMNP at the highest point when a storm suddenly rolled in. While we were literally running down the path to the visitors' center, a family that was a half-mile away and at a lower point from us was struck by lightning. The father was killed and the three-year-old he was carrying was critically injured. Lesson learned there, too.

As for the 1911 Trapper Nelson and hardtack, I really appreciate it, but I think I'll stick with my 1996 Dana Design Arcflex Terraplane and real food, as far as dehydrated food is "real."

Although, I certainly wouldn't mind seeing Windwalker canyon.

Thanks again,

Chas
_________________________
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. —Samuel Beckett

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#168700 - 01/16/19 05:27 PM Re: Backpacking in Colorado [Re: Dan Simmons]
CPD Offline
enthusiast


Registered: 04/07/06
Posts: 256
Loc: Lorain County, Ohio, USA
I've looked at that one, thanks! It's high on my list to submit to my friends.
_________________________
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. —Samuel Beckett

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#169224 - 07/15/19 05:47 PM Re: Backpacking in Colorado [Re: CPD]
CPD Offline
enthusiast


Registered: 04/07/06
Posts: 256
Loc: Lorain County, Ohio, USA
Just a friendly update:
Couldn't get permits for RMNP hikes, as they were almost all claimed.
We're hiking the Kings Lake-High Lonesome Trail-Devil's Thumb loop trail in about ten days. I'm coming out a few days early for acclimatization.
If you've been up there, any tips are appreciated.

Chas
_________________________
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. —Samuel Beckett

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