Day 3- The Burn

While there were no more storms overnight, we woke to a very wet tent. Inside and out. There must have been a lot of moisture in the air. By 5:30 am the sun was already peaking over the mountains. The clouds snaked over the river below and slowly tried to creep up the mountain side. We didn’t leave camp until 7 am so John could capture the play of sun and clouds.

Photo credit- John Lauritsen

New Friends

Without shelters to gather at like on the Appalachian Trail, this trail is very different socially. Honestly, most people just pass me. Today was the first day we met new people and saw them later in the day. First we met two women who need to get a message down the trail to a friend. It’s funny how with cell phones and satellite communication devices, people still rely on others to send word. The three ladies were from Colorado and out to hike the whole trail too. They were a definite mixture of experience- 1 having hiked the CT multiple times and another with brand new gear. Like us they had hiked a few miles up from the river to try to get a head start through The Burn.

We also met Beeshwhack who was also from the east coast. We bonded over how the Colorado sun is so strong. No – like wants to burn your skin off strong. It was fun to see them on the trail, at water, and lunch.

The Burn

Okay, so I’m the only one who calls it that, but this section and I have history. After leaving the Platte River, the trail travels through a section impacted by a wildfire in 1996. While there are grasses (and cacti!) with a few low shrubs- trees and shade are hard to come by.

At home during the summer it’s hot whether you are in the shade or not. But here the sun is so much more intense and it’s so much drier. In 2018 I underestimated both how strong the sun was and how much water I needed to drink. It was in this section I sat down along the trail and told John I needed to stop for a minute. Two hours later he woke me up and moved me to a campsite. I rarely nap and am not the person who can sleep anywhere. I prefer a pillow and comfy pad, not the dirt beside the trail and my pack. Heat exhaustion had won.

This year I was determined to be the winner. Step one I completed last night- hike 3 miles up from the river in the cool of the evening. Step two- wake up at 5:30 am. Step three- drink all the water.

The Outcome

I was the winner this year, not the Colorado sun. This section has great (dry) camping and views you notice when not suffering from heat exhaustion. We made to the water at the fire station with only mild complaining from me. By noon it was hot, hot, hot and my feet hurt from pounding on the hard gravel trail all morning.

We even scored a cute little campsite tucked up in the trees. Arriving at Tramway Creek (really what we would call a ‘crik’) the sites all appeared to be taken. As we filtered water, I steeled myself to push on a few more miles. Thankfully I have a runner husband who is still willing to explore up a hill at the end of a long 14 mile day. He found a spot that was perfectly flat, quiet, and even had a seat.


Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

What Do You Think?