Wednesday, July 8, 2009

July 8, 2009 - Kim Does Segment 1 of the Colorado Trail!

We began the day by meeting Mikey at 5AM for a ride to the ghost town of South Platte, the western terminal of Segment 1 of the Colorado Trail. We made it there and were abandoned by Mikey at 6:30.

This was Kim's first major hike ever and her first attempt at going over ten miles. According to the CT logbook, Segment 1 is 15.4 miles with approximately 1560 feet of vertical elevation gain. It was in the upper 40's and very humid at the South Platte River when we began at 6:30.

The first thing that we faced was a 1200' climb to 7250' over the course of 2.4 miles. Kim started out at a conservative pace and kept it up throughout the climb. She made it to the top in about 1:20 and was rewarded with huge views to the west in the gentle morning sun. Yes, she feasted on a ham sandwich at 8AM.

Here are some self explanatory photos:

Things got a little shadier and cooler once we got into the West Bear creek drainage. The Devils Club and other vegetation reminded us of some of the trails we hiked in Alaska back in the 70's. We came across a nice little waterfall and a giant thistle - almost 8 feet tall! - that was trying to stretch to the sun. We found a great bunch of wild strawberries and picked a few for a snack before lunch. They were sizable for wild strawberries and were packed with flavor.

We took a nice little break at a bench near Strontia Springs dam. Then we cruised past the dam which was putting out quite a plume of water. The remaining 7 miles of trail were on a service road for the Denver Water Board to the reservoir. It's open to bikes and foot traffic but not vehicular traffic. The afternoon temperature had soared into the 90's in Denver this afternoon. Very little shade is found in Waterton Canyon, where the South Platte continues it's journey eastwardly. There even was a cormorant on a rock in the middle of the river - an unusual bird for Colorado. It took nearly 4 hours to finish the 7 miles on the road as Kim was quite stressed from the heat and sun. We finally made it to the eastern terminal of the Colorado Trail, 473 miles from the western terminal in Durango. This segment measured 16.2 miles on my Garmin Forerunner, a bit longer than advertised.

Here's Kim flashing a victory where's Monica with that air conditioned car?????

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