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  1. #1
    Registered User Papa D's Avatar
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    Default CT Hike in AUGUST 2020

    Good day everyone:

    I'm planning on hiking the C.T (all or most) this August, 2020. This is a trail that I had planned a few years back but drought,
    fire, and some personal issues got in the way. This August, calendar wise, looks good for me.

    What I would like is some logistical assistance. I have purchased the CT Data book and (though I don't like screens on the trail)
    may consider using the/an APP. What else do I need to know logistically - especially in light of the Covid-19 deal. I understand that
    some stores, hostels, etc. will be closed but hoping I can scrape up re-supplies "ok". What else?

    I don't particularly need advice on "backpacking" unless there is something very specific about the CT that I wouldn't otherwise take it along or think of it. I have completed one A.T. Thru Hike and have "re-hiked" right at 1400 miles a second time. I have also hiked the Long Trail, BMT, and others.

    Logistics would include: Should I go NE-SW or SW-NE? I do know that it is a bit more of a strenuous pull out of Durango vs starting in the East. I run about 50 miles a week and spend a lot of time in the woods - I know that's not true "trail legs" but mine are mostly good to go. Aside from that, any pros or cons? Guessing the "standard" is DE-DU - kind of like being a North-bounder? I understand that Waterton Canyon Park is closed so, if I start in the NE, I'll use the Indian Creek Trail to 'Lenny's Bench" (and make up the missed 7 miles later)? Are there any other big swaths of the trail closed or that I should be concerned about. How's the water situation. I can plan on some long dry carry sections but hoping it is at least "decent." I skied this year and the snow was pretty good, so, I'm guessing so? Do y'all think re-suppluy by shopping alone? That's my typical M.O. - any need to mail-drop or bounce anything? Maybe in light of Covd.? Do we think the Data Book's re-supply points would be "mostly good?"
    Oh, One (cool) different thing about my plan is that I plan to fly my own airplane from GA to Colorado. I can fly into Centennial Airport (KAPA) which is only about 35 miles from the Indian Creek start or I could fly direct to Durango (KDRO). There are also a few small airports roughly in line with the trail's routing. Maybe some lucky hiker gets an airplane shuttle back to the start.
    Thanks for your responses everyone.

    Papa D
    Last edited by Papa D; 06-27-2020 at 15:41.

  2. #2

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    The most important thing to remember is there is like no shade on the CT. UV block sunglasses and a wide brim (cowboy) hat are must haves. Water can be little and far between and you'll need a lot of it. It's amazing how quick you loose water in that dry heat. Make sure you can carry a ton of water at times.

    How well and how fast you acclimate to the thin air is the another issue. Starting at the north end with it's relatively low elevation and working up to the higher elevations over 5-7 days is generally recommended.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  3. #3
    Registered User Papa D's Avatar
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    Good stuff - thanks !! I acclimatize well. I generally carry two full liters (or aim to) - should I do 3 liters? 4!!?

  4. #4
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Couple of pro's to hiking Denver->Durango: As Slo said, acclimation is easier as the first 80 or so miles barely get above 10K, and the first few days mosy around 7-9K, and this works great for most.

    If you're a "social" hiker, going SW means you'll have more opportunity to make some hiking pals along the way, as with the AT, 80-90% or so hike the same direction (SWBO for the CT). Going the opposite way, you'll see more folks, but only briefly in passing, of course. So, going SWBO, you'll probably see fewer overall folks, going with the grain, but have the chance to get to know the ones you do, if this all makes sense.

    Another slightly compelling reason to go SWBO; you'll be starting the trail right smack in the middle of "monsoon season", with threatening lightning storms practically every afternoon. This pattern starts tapering off in late August, meaning by the time you hit the long above-treeline stretches down south, the monsoon pattern will be tapering a bit. Every year is a bit different, but it sure seems like the worst of it is mid-July to mid August. It's all statistical though, the opposite might be true some years (like you have a great stretch of weather in early August, though this really is rare).

    By the way, I thought Waterton canyon is now open on weekdays, unless they closed it again? If you have to start on a weekend, of course, Indian Creek works, or Roxborough is actually prettier and maintains the same overall mileage (IC is 4 miles shorter). IT also gets you to Lenny's rest where you hit the actual CT above waterton canyon. I've done all three options quite a few times, I think Roxborough is the prettiest, though Waterton is cool and unique and I'd go that way if you can (weekday). Start early though! It gets really hot in the canyon by 9-10 am or so. It's 6+ miles to where you finally get to the trees.

    No advice on the resupply; I've always mailed to myself on my thru and other long hikes. FWIW, I don't see any obvious COVID restrictions out there in CO right now, things are pretty much back to normal as far as I can see, though definitely bring and wear a mask when you go into stores along the way (though not legally required in a lot of places). Lots of outdoor seating restaurants along the way, seems safer eating outside these days. Just last night I had my first actual restaurant dinner since early March, the rule was you wear your mask inside the restaurant until seated, then relax and remove it. It was raining, so we did eat inside (Steamboat CO).

    Super cool about flying here yourself! Centennial is a cool airport, I've flown with a pilot buddy from there a few times.

  5. #5
    Registered User Papa D's Avatar
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    Wow Colorado Rob. Thanks!!!

  6. #6
    Registered User Papa D's Avatar
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    Ok - so I’ve got the Data book and continuing my planning. It seems like a pretty hot Summer is brewing so I’m considering pushing the trip back by about 2 weeks - starting mid-August and hiking into mid to late September - what do y’all think of that (vs mostly in August)?

    also, pardon my ignorance but what’s the deal with the Collegiate Peaks West - this is an alternative route? I suppose you are still considered an end-ender either way you go? At least this trim, I’m not seeing time to do both. Is the west route more scenic? Cooler?, better/worse water?, more or less strenuous?

    thank you

  7. #7
    Registered User Papa D's Avatar
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    Collegiate Peak West or regular route?

    wait till later in August to start / avoid some heat?

  8. #8
    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    Both are part of the CT. One advantage to the east route is that you go right by Mt. Princeton Hot Springs.
    Lonehiker

  9. #9
    Registered User Papa D's Avatar
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    Nice. I think I’ll do the traditional East route but

    I’ve been reading about the West Side which seems

    spectacular - I’ll probably want to come back just to

    add it. Thanks

  10. #10
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Papa D View Post
    Ok - so Iíve got the Data book and continuing my planning. It seems like a pretty hot Summer is brewing so Iím considering pushing the trip back by about 2 weeks - starting mid-August and hiking into mid to late September - what do yíall think of that (vs mostly in August)?

    also, pardon my ignorance but whatís the deal with the Collegiate Peaks West - this is an alternative route? I suppose you are still considered an end-ender either way you go? At least this trim, Iím not seeing time to do both. Is the west route more scenic? Cooler?, better/worse water?, more or less strenuous?

    thank you
    Mid-August to Mid September is probably the most ideal time to hike the CT for many reasons.

    And yeah, the Collegiate west option is significantly more beautiful; I just plain don't like the lower altitude, hotter, drier and much less scenic east side. It's almost like when the trail was originally laid out, the CT folks just wanted to let hikers get past the Collegiate range as quickly and easily as possible. I sure hope you opt to put in the extra effort to do the west side. Plenty of water and yeah, a bit more strenuous than the east. Zero difference in thru-hiking legitimacy doing either east or west. You should be thoroughly acclimated to the higher altitudes by the time you get there. It's only something like 72 miles from Twin Lakes to Monarch Crest along the west side, 4-5 days tops, easy to start out from Twin lakes with 4-5 days of food.

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