July 18, heading out of Anaconda.

Leaving Anaconda we passed seven hikers heading in.

Over twenty hikers in Anaconda at the hiker hut.

There were more at Pintler’s Portal Hostel which was completely full.

It started before six, but the hiker feed at Pintler’s still had spaghetti, meat sauce, pasta, garlic bread, desserts, wine and beer left at 7:30. Since I don’t drink they still had plenty of beverages when I left.

It is the real CDT hiker bubble.

Deer were not counted for hiker totals.

Anaconda Again

We have our bear spray and Happy’s knife to pick up. Pintler’s Portal Hostel has its annual hiker feed and we have a wedding and then the terminus to head to.

Driving north has been full of new views.

We rented a car and headed out. Cheaper than airfair or a train.

But the record setting Anaconda smokestack is still there.

July 12, our short break continues

Happy’s comments. My comments.

We have a wedding to attend, then we go SOBO.

So we headed south from Grand Lake to the train station.

The train arrived and we were on our way.

It was beautiful countryside and finally not freezing. Mornings in Grand Lake had ice on the boardwalks.

It followed the river from Colorado into Utah.

We spent the night in Salt Lake (train arrived about 1:30 am or two hours late).

Right now we are resting, washing things, replacing some gear.

My replacement sun hoodie was not the size I ordered. Now they are sold out. Looks like I’ll use one that was not bad as clothing but not as optimal for hiking.

The old one just isn’t wearable.

Realized that my pants were probably over two thousand miles and wearing out. Replaced in the only color available as they are replacing the model.

Once the pants show up it is time to apply permethrin to everything.


Pants: just color—they wore out.

Sun hoodie. First wore out. Second was not suitable for backpacking and the third we will see.

Reading glasses. Broke or scratched up too much. Broke. Bought a new package of them.

Socks: looser fit. REI store brand.

Calf compression sleeves. Replaced for wear.

Shoes. Longer and narrower. Up a half size but no longer wide.

More aquatabs for water treatment.

New smelly proof bags as the current set is wearing out.

New hiking poles (so Happy can swap back). The $27 ones from Costco.

Leave the last Etowah tent peg home.

July 8

Some of the hikers had an early start. Three of the twelve camped at the community center last night got out before us.

Yesterday a kind local drove us around and showed us the trail head. This morning we had breakfast and started out. Did not stop at the one open place for hot chocolate.

The bypass was pleasant.

Though the reminder of the huge fire a few years ago was stark.

As we started west on the CDT we met a trail crew.

They were doing maintenance.

We hiked on.

Eventually we reached the road, and after a roadwalk started back on the trail.

I should have taken a picture of the crosswalk. It perplexes a lot of drivers.

We climbed and climbed.

Win started to feel the altitude.

We set up and rested for two hours.

That confirmed it for us. Time to take a one or two week break and then decide. Outside of Colorado the trail stays at altitudes that we are good with.

We hiked back to the trail head.

A forest ranger ran our identification and checked us for weapons. Then he gave us a ride back to the community center in Grand Lake.

We were able to find a shuttle and get railroad tickets.

Then we went out to dinner with other hikers.

We will return for the wedding, hike from Glacier and hit GenCon, then continue on the trail.

Happy’s Summary.

The big decision is whether to roadwalk Colorado at lower elevations or try something else. I’m agnostic about that, but really want Happy taken care of

July 7. Denver to Winter Park to Grand Lake and the cut-off

We left the residence inn after breakfast and headed to the train station

We are dealing with the altitude sickness issue with a train and then the free bus and will avoid extended time above 12,000 feet.

Also getting new shoes at Winter Park and then the camping at Grand Lake today.

Now planning on three days of food.

Happy Six needs new shoes fairly soon and they have her size in stock.

Picture out the train window.

After thousands of trail miles my feet have spread just a little but only longer, now wider. They are slightly longer and my big toes are bumping the ends of my shoes. I’ll see if they have 8.5 size shoes in stock. The wides I’m wearing have gotten “sloppy” and short.

Here is hoping.

Looking forward to picking up a day’s food, checking shoes and moving down the trail.

We got new shoes. My toes no longer bang off the ends. Win’s feet look sparkly.

Resupply was easy at the Safeway next door to the bus stop and shoe store.

Now we wait on the free bus. It picks up at one of several edges of the parking lot (and not the first two we went to 😄).

Getting cloudy and windy.

Our driver the last leg.

The community center camping area in Grand Lake for CDT hikers. People kept showing up after the picture.

The biggest bubble of hikers we’ve seen—and the biggest the center has seen.

Then we saw another Jolly Gear hiker with the pattern Happy has.

Now for hamburgers and a good night’s sleep.

July 5 & 6

Happy’s video

We took the trail out of Silverthorne. Coming in it was pretty sweet trail.

Going out it was straight up from 8,700 feet to about almost twelve hundred.

At that point, mile 29.1 there is no trail or path or tread. Just cairns everysooften. The tread goes up to the peak but the trail has no path for miles.

The cairns were kind of random.

Once in a while there was a trail.

Even stranger, sometimes the app reports a trail that obviously doesn’t exist.

The blue line is the trail. It goes up. The alternative route, which I recorded in yellow, goes to the side. I saw the trail go up. Never saw it come back down and dip into the valley we could see below.

Ptarmigan pass was mile 31.2.

That was easy. But later it was talus and scree and an ascent to a saddle.

Then up and over. Down to around 11,103 where we camped under the trees. An 18.7 mile day. Camping under trees meant no condensation in spite of running water and moisture all over.

Then we continued on. Took off our shoes to ford one stream. Then it was pathfinding and bushwhacking to mile 42.3 where a dirt road went from 10,047 feet to 12,460 and mile 1,285.2 on the trail.

Looking back at the saddle we crossed over.

We kept climbing up the road until we climbed past the tree line.

The saddle we crossed was far in the distance.

The road was supposed to continue down the other side of the pass but was blocked by a snow field so we stayed on the trail instead of the alternative.

Eventually we would do 14.8 miles today.

So many summits and peaks over 12k and so much wind. We also saw some trail runners from time to time.

It was cold and windy with snow fields and rocks from time to time. Made me wish we had crossed the snow on the road.

We took the Stanley Mountain Trail down to the parking lot. Happy was on her second day of altitude sickness. But dropping down was warmer and less altitude.

At the parking lot a guy pulled over and offered us a ride to Denver where we are going to rest and reassess and plan. We had planned on Winter Park but Denver is good.

Denver is lower in altitude and warm. Next we plan.

Happy’s post from Denver.

The bottom line is Happy really shouldn’t go above 11k feet and 10k is a soft cap. Which means all of the trail except Colorado is good.

Now we decide what to do next.

Today isn’t the day to make decisions but tomorrow will be. Robin was born today.

July 3, Copper Mountsin, Frisco, Dillon, Silverthorne

We had the only condensation free place in probably fifteen miles. The trees and everything were perfect.

We woke up and hiked to Copper Mountain.

It is a huge resort town, which was larger than we expected. Breakfast was not very good. They were open, but clueless and the portions were aimed at people on diets and did not match the menu.

We hiked on.

We were taking the low route, which was direct.

It also had an old mine and other diversions.

We had lunch in Frisco.

Probably the worst Ruben sandwich we’ve had.

But you know, enjoyed it anyway.

We arrived in Silverthorne/Dillon. We had reservations at the Super 8, dropped by REI for some zipper lubricant, bought food for our next segment and did laundry.

Tomorrow we take a zero.

July 2

Such a beautiful day.

The only surprise was that the trail went up from the pass.

We passed a lot of cyclists and CT (Colorado Trail) hikers.

About 3,817 feet of ascent today. Two passes.

We crossed eight snow fields and walked around one.

This was not one of them. But it was snow. 😄

The snow was flat and melting.

We had Jessie Sherman’s Taco Soup for dinner. It was great.

Just over nineteen miles hiked after the shuttle dropped us off at 9:30. And in spite of of the water, creeks and days of rain? By camping under trees we had a condensation free night.

June 30 and July 1

The forecast was ambiguous and there were rooms finally available in Twin Lakes but we decided to hike on. Two days to Leadville and we were on the red line on forest service land just past the development that is trying to close out the trail.

We got started around 6:00 am after waiting out a spattering of rain. We then started hiking uphill.

Hiking into sunrise

Yesterday it was all uphill. About 1,400 feet but steady the entire way. Another 800 feet up climbing out of town.

Today we had around four thousand feet of ascent but that included downs.

We are camped at 10,405, but started at about 9,300 and got all the way to over 11,000 feet.

We saw a lot of people today. The weekend had people headed up to the mountain peaks and doing the trail between cross roads. Everyone from teens to an old guy in a back brace with a dog that looked twenty years old.

We stopped briefly at 1:00 or so and set up the tent to take a nap in the rain. It was light where we stopped but further up the trail we could see where there had been a deluge.

It was a great stop at mile 14 and a good nap. We then packed up and headed for our goal, a campsite just before a dirt road.

On the way we met Turtle who we had run into on the PCT.

We also met a hiker who was “at last” trying to start the CDT and doing about a mile an hour.

We offered her space at our campsite but she wanted to press on SOBO. The next good camping was 4-5 miles away (where we took our break) though she hoped to find something before then.

The rain started up so we just snacked instead of cooking a meal.

With the holidays coming up, getting rooms looks tight. Luckily showers, laundry and resupply looks good. We need three days to the next town.

Ideally we will get a zero but may not find anything. We had a good day going out of Twin Lakes.

Colorado is now more than half done. That is neat.

No cell service so this entry will also cover July 1 as we head to Leadville.

We may end up hiking in the rain. The forecast has possible rain all day tomorrow.

We do want to make town for dinner tomorrow. We have some shopping to do.

I’m hoping for a new sun hoody as my current one is pretty worn out. Patched together with sweat and tenacious tape.

Now July 1. It rained for hours. More rain for today.

There was a road just below the ridge. It runs straight to Leadville.

We are at a hostel now.

Happy Six’s notes.


Coming into the hostel I was 169 fully dressed. After a full day’s town food I’m up to 175 fully dressed.

Back on trail tomorrow.