Colorado Trail Segment 3: The Bikers

You’ve heard it before: After hiking the previous segment the previous weekend, I was geared up for the next! For the third weekend in a row, I continued my path down the Colorado Trail segments toward Durango. Despite the hikes being separated by workweeks, hiking the segments consecutively increased my enjoyment and feelings of accomplishment.

The Stats

Segment: 3
Endpoints: Little Scraggy Trailhead to FS-560 Wellington Lake Road/Rolling Creek Trailhead
Miles: 12.2
Type: Day hike

The Journey

Similarly to our Segment 2 arrangement, Alex dropped me off at the trailhead and I hiked toward him for the day. From the start, this section felt rather lively and almost festive. The Little Scraggy Trailhead seems to sit in the middle of many trails, popular especially for mountain bikers. Furthermore, the segment starts off by roughly paralleling a Forest Service road connecting many campsites. A lot of hikers want to get away from people while they’re outside, but I didn’t mind the distant din of camper and biker voices. 

Topographically, I felt like I flew these miles. The first nine of the 12 miles are super smooth and rolling, winding the trail through open forest. It was warm as soon as I set off and got rather hot in the afternoon, so it felt especially like the beginning of summer.

The last fourish miles include a steady but manageable climb out of a creek valley where there were yet more people car camping and enjoying the water. The trail rose up to a decent view of the surrounding mountains, though the most majestic of the snowcapped peaks are still a ways off.

Mountain view

Where three straight weekends of hiking had only increased my hiking energy, Alex, on the other hand, had walked just a mile from the end of Segment 3. I found him sitting on a log, reading a book. Perfectly relaxed! With no sore muscles! For that last mile, he got to put on a mildly rare show of hiking faster than me, as my feet were aching from 12 miles. But spotting baby aspens and their bright green leaves along the way brought me more joy than I predicted.

Baby aspens

The Gear

Not a lot of new things to highlight here. Day hikes don’t require anything too fancy.

Packs and Poles

Osprey Celeste 29L Backpack: The old standard.

Hiking Poles: The even more old standard.

Clothes

Shirt: A rather boring, very old athletic T-shirt. I’m trying to figure out if finding a long-sleeved sun shirt is worth the sunscreen cost savings. Unrelated, I’m also trying to find something less boring to write about than shirt sleeves.

Shorts: Also rather boring, standard athletic shorts. I tried the Patagonia Baggies based on how much I hear people rave about them. I really did try. I just could not finagle them into something even mildly not unattractive.

Shoes: My old boots! I have a pair of hiking boots that have served me SO well for the past six years. But I bought trail runners for the first time this spring; ever since, I can’t seem to wear my boots without my feet feeling super cramped. The trail runners aren’t perfect, which I’ll discuss some other time, but either they’re way better than these boots, or my feet spontaneously changed shape. Segment 3 will probably be these boots’ last outing. Rest in peace, old friends.

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