[cdt-l] Colorado Trail -- late start questions

Mike DiLorenzo dilorenz at hotmail.com
Sat Jul 8 19:05:05 CDT 2006

>Couple questions:
>1.  How late do you think I reasonably can start, to catch
>the turning aspens on the CT?  I've hiked (postholed) in
>snow before and don't mind it for a short while.  If an
>early September snowstorm hits, can you get down to lower
>elevations safely if you don't mind trudging through
>some cool sno?

i wouldn't start later than september 1.  it takes a few days to walk the 
100 or so miles to the central mountains from denver.  you'll see aspens 
surely in that 100 miles  but the aspen high light is definitely in the san 
juans, the sawatch is nice too, with some deep aspen stands, but the san 
juans are the high light.  from high up on the snow mesa and jarosa 
mesa/coney summit you can look out on aspen covered slopes for miles and 
miles.  it's real cool with a little fresh snow and flaming aspens.  
depending on how fast you hike you might even want to start a week or two 
before september.  this is a good time as the monsoon season will be winding 
down or have ended by late august.

you can easily get down if it gets hectic. in the san juans before the road 
to lake city, you could bomb down to creede if it got hectic.  on the other 
side of the road you could hitch out near the rio grande river with some 
four wheelers if it got hectic.  on the other side of us rt 550 (molas 
pass), i hope i got that road number right, i'm pretty sure you can bomb way 
down off the range if it gets hectic.  so you have opportunities to escape 
if the weather gets bad.  other than those sections i wouldn't worry about 
getting trapped in snow, you'll have easy access to escape if need be.

>2.  I've been following the SNOTEL site and it looks like a
>pretty severe drought has taken hold of Colorado this year.
>How hard do you think it will be to find water?  I have the
>Data Book and am wondering if the "cup FULL" sources will be
>reliable this year.

the cochetopa hills will be dry in the fall.  you'll have to drink from some 
serious cow streams.  treat that cow stream water well, lest giardia hit you 
toward the end like it did me.  other than that you should have good water 
once you get to the central mountains.  it's kinda dry initially (and HOT in 
waterton canyon).

>3.  I'm looking to bring some "Rocky Mountain High" with me
>and am wondering what type John Denver smoked and where he
>got high.

grow some dreads quick-like and hang out in bars in resort towns and chat up 
other similar looking trustafarians... and you'll be all set.

good luck on the CT, i hiked the CT in 2001 starting in late august 
finishing in late september and i recommend this time of year.  i also hiked 
the CDT last year and was in CO in the month of september the weather is 
much better then than it is now (rain, rain, rain, violent thunder storms, 
rain, rain, rain).


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