Colorado Trail 2022 Prep-N Brown
2/27/22. As a total neurotic, I have to plan for everything on the almost 600-mile Colorado Trail starting in June, 2022. Having generated a spreadsheet for everything, I will hike west to east going from Durango, Colorado, to Watertown Canyon in Littleton. I want to carry as light as possible, so I made pals with REI, ordered stuff, used my fine Sharpie to label. Plan early, stay well, train, and budget more time. I love hiking, biking and anything outdoors. Being “retired”, structured time not important.
I grew up in Colorado. Used to altitude, we kids would scoff at family from sea level. Their headaches, ailments, and breathlessness amused my brother and me. Of course, these folks were obese and had a host of other ailments. Rather than feel sorry for them, we could not figure why none of them returned. Now, I understand.
Cycling Ride the Rockies for years, hiking Arizona’s Trail, Texas Big Bend, and section hiking the CT, I knew training, the right clothes, aerobic fitness, patience, having cash, credit, and planning necessary.
Weather changes fast above 10,000 feet. I know any weather possible, including snow. Most items, especially food, were the more pricey, prepackaged variety. I knew I would be tired and wanted to minimize cooking chores. A quick trash toss when available.
I also planned for clean water. Girardia took me by surprise and off the trail a few years ago. It was horrible! Never again! FYI: I probably got it in a town. But once enough!
I got with my pharmacist in Houston, we discussed needed inoculations and emergency provisions.
Here is my tentative list:
Inoculations: rabies, tetanus, Japanese encephalitis, COVID-19, flu, shingles.
Hiking poles: Black Diamond 120 cm Distance Carbon FLZ.
First aid: In baggie: band-aids, Red Cross certification, antibiotic ointment, blister bandages and regular bandages, diamox for altitude, cold sore meds, anti-diarrhea agents, antibiotics, tweezers, ibuprofen, aspirin.
Pack: Osprey 60L burgundy Ariel XS. Extra parts. Glow in dark zipper pulls.
Sunscreen: lip and face; small umbrella.
Seeing: Sun, regular, and reading glasses. Extra screws and pieces. Special screwdriver for those pesky tiny screws.
Water: Sawyer brand small purification system, one 2L internal Gregory water bladder, two filtering bags, one water “scoop”; emergency water sanitation pills. I planned on at least ten miles per day, so I had to carry at least 2 water per trip. Two Nalgene water bottles, one water tube, two mouthpieces with magnets.
Sleeping: REI magma W down zippered bag with stuff sack, Thermo-light pad.
Stuff sacks: Four. One large, one medium, two small. Different colors.
Clothes: One Smartwool balaclava, one alpaca beanie, one brimmed hat, one pair silk underwear and gloves; wool and silk socks, one t-shirt; one pair long, deep-pocketed zippered pants; one alpaca hoodie, one neck pipe, rubber sandals, matches, compass, anti-bug ointment, bear bag, zippered Smartwool shirt; fleece vest, rain pants.hoodie, Dirty Girl gaiters, bandana. # Exofifcios underwear. Everything grey or black.
Fanny Pack: worn on front. Use the Hyperlite Versa, as it’s water-resistant and offers extra pockets.
With diaper pins as zipper pulls externally and internally.
Jacket(s) one Gore Tex snap up, high collared hooded rain coat with zippered “pit zips”, one pair thick gloves; one down jacket with hood.
Light: One Black Diamond headlamp
Potty: Deuce of Spades Trowel, T.P. hand sanitizer, a few Wet Wipes, doggie poop bags, rubber bands, surgical gloves.
Stuff: toothpaste, brush, floss, detergent leaves, small scissors; thread, needle, maps, technology re-charging, items, two different credit cards, various size baggies, small tube glue, plastic trash bag, small interchangeable flat head and Phillips screwdriver, tenacious tape, two carabiners, safety pins, laminated proof of inoculations; two face masks, small pad post-it notes, flip notebook, hiker’s pen, multi-tool pocket knife, nail clippers, surgical gloves.
I plan to wear my socks, shoes, silk underwear, hat, pants, jacket, vest, Smartwool zippered long sleeve shirt alpaca hoodie. Carry small-denomination cash, credit cards, glasses, i-phone, neck pipe, pocket knife.
I also will charge all electronics, carry a small Olympus camera, extra media, charged batteries, and charging devices. Maybe my Kindle.
Money: small-denotation bills; two different credit cards, color-copied driver’s license, blood type, SSN, emergency contact data; insurance cards. All placed in sealed plastic baggie.
Food: Everything cooked, dehydrated, portioned out in sealed bags: pastas, fruit, noodles, rice, dried cheese, tofu, dried creamer; plain tuna, nuts, chocolate nut butters, dried cranberries, raisins, bone broth packets, instant coffee salt, pepper. Lots of coffee.
Total weight: 40 lbs. Still too heavy. Need new plan.
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Good luck, it’s a great hike.
A little unsolicited advice. Keep a close eye on the snow levels and, if deep, consider switching directions. I hiked it a few years ago, starting on June 21 in Waterton Canyon. Despite starting on the “lower end” I ran into significant snow in multiple spots. Giving the western end a few extra weeks to melt down worked out well for me.
Take me with you! Been wanting to do this! Sounds like you are well prepared. I know you’ll have an amazing time!
Possibly ditch the waterproofs and go for something that maintains its thermal properties well when wet. I’ve got an eVent Rab jacket and it’s heavy. If I wear it all day while hiking, I’m soaked beneath it anyway from sweat & condensation. Better to ditch 570g (well over 1lb) and something else upper body wise, then wear a water resistant soft shell jacket and carry a really lightweight waterproof jacket for heavy showers.
Good luck. I’m going through the same process myself, ditching sleeping pad & uninsulated heavy airmat for an insulated air mat at less than half the weight of the old ones combined. Losing weight is expensive though, I’m finding!