Read the entire description if you wish to go. Since this involves an overnight stay, I insist on good communication.
This is the fourth hike in my "Hike the Colorado Trail Series". It is the most difficult trip scheduled for 2014. I anticipate a mix of core hikers (hiking most of the trail with me) and groupies (hiking just a few pieces) in conjunction with Colorado Backpackers (and Campers). For more details on the full 4-year adventure, please send me a message.
This is a 4-day trek. We'll meet early Thursday morning and return Sunday afternoon. Alternatively, we can look into driving closer to the trailhead and camping the night before. I think this is the better thing to do considering the distance (5 hours) to the trailheads. We'll discuss as a group.
Segments 18-20 are fairly remote and dry sections of the trail, so expect some solitude (besides the group) along the way. It contains a 21 mile waterless stretch between Pine and Cochetopa Creek, so be prepared to carry a substantial amount (essentially 2 days worth) of water in warm, sunny terrain.
Distance: 41.7 miles (one way - see below)
Speed: moderate (guessing about 6 hours of hiking each day)
Dogs: Please don't bring them even if they're allowed.
The Plan: Everyone must meet in the US 285 and Twin Forks PnR no later than 5 am (earlier if people are up for it). We will have groups in each direction.
This meetup hikes toward Durango. The CB meetup hikes towards Denver. Choose the meetup group by your preferred direction. If this meetup is fuller, consider the other direction - need to stay balanced to avoid tipping a giant beaver's dam bringing the end of the world as we know it. I (Jim) am hiking towards Durango (though might appear in both groups).
Carpooling vehicles go to the end of their respective hikes. I'm recommending both directions exchange keys and war stories while camping near Cochetopa Creek on the second night of the trip. We'll coordinate those plans before starting.
Priority is given to those identified as core (contact me if interested). Declared groupies get next selection. After that, we'll fill the group (4-8 people each way for backpacking) with those with good attendance records.
Bring: Backpacking stuff. We will follow proper leave no trace and bear proof practices. If you're not sure what that means, please ask someone. Your keg of home made beer might be enjoyed by all, but I'd recommend leaving it behind and buying me a local beer after the hike instead.
Apres the hike: Each direction is on its own for this hike as it will be too difficult to coordinate in a reliable manner.
Denver side Trailhead: This is our start. "CO Hwy 114 trailhead access." It looks a bit goofy, but should be in the vicinity of[masked], [masked]38°13'21.1"N 106°35'35.7"W. Special parking instructions apply. It is about 4 hours from Denver.
Durango side Trailhead: This is our end. "San Luis Pass Trail Access"north of Creede CO. 4-wheel drive w/ clearance is highly recommended to avoid 1.5 miles of extra hiking. The CO Trail is 1.5 miles north of where you can park at the end of the road. It is about 5 hours from Denver to this point.
Also, consider supporting Trails and Ales by buying a Trails and Ales shirt. Ask me how.
When you sign up: Send me an email indicating the following: your experience (or lack of), your willingness to backpack in a responsible way, your understanding that you are solely responsible for your safety (see the waivers associated with the group) and you are aware that this is a group event. The Colorado Backpackers group has great resources. I will not add people who do not contact me with the basic information.