When Life Gives You Lemons…
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What a time to be alive! Like pretty much every other hiker out there my summer plans have taken a drastic change. I have to say though that I am one of the lucky few who may have actually gotten a better deal, assuming we can kick COVID in the next month or so. How, might you ask, can that be? Let me tell you.
Saying Addio to Italy
If you read my last post, you know that I was originally planning to hike the Italian Dolomites this summer. This was primarily a product of my cousin’s wedding being right smack in the middle of July. I was excited to go as I have never been across the pond. However, I was NOT excited about paying for and sleeping in a refugio every night. While I like staying in hostels perhaps more than the next person, the reason I love backpacking is the wilderness experience. The Alps still sound awesome and super cool, but they are a bit more civilized than what I am used to. I’ll visit someday, but since my cousin decided to postpone his wedding it wont be this summer.
San Luis Loop
So since Italy is off the books, what is the alternative?
I am fortunate enough to call Durango, Colorado, home. There are so many beautiful places in the state and the Colorado Trail has a special place in my heart. I have had a dream for the past two years of creating a loop that encompasses the southern CT AND the Sangre de Cristo mountains. I have also had a dream of doing a thru-hike with my dogs since I had to send them home in 2018.
I got out my maps this week and took a close look. I have to leave in early June as I will likely start a new teaching job early to mid August and will need time to move. Is it possible to leave Durango heading east without swimming in snow? Can I connect the CDT to the Sangre de Cristos somehow? All questions I had to answer.
But, wonder of wonders, a 700-mile loop hike was born!
I am naming it the “San Luis Loop” for now because it circles the San Luis Valley before heading back through the San Juans to Durango.
Before you get all up in arms, I have a plan to stay away from people if we are allowed to leave home, but COVID is still a bit sketch.
Since I live in the area-ish, I am planning on caching food (and water) rather than resupplying in towns. Besides social distancing, this is something I would have done anyway to shorten my food carries. I have found that when I backpack with the dogs it is best to keep food carries to about four days. If things are on the upswing I can replace some of the caches with town stops, such as on HWY 285 to Salida.
I am also planning on carrying a solar panel for the first time. They aren’t always ideal, but it’s necessary if I am not going into town to recharge my power bank.
I do want to also point out- we are going to be doing a LOT of road walking. Especially in New Mexico. One of the trade offs to making my own route.
What a time to be alive! I get to walk out my door, blaze a trail, hike my favorite section of the CT, and bring my puppers along. I still have one or two kinks to work out, but otherwise I am ready for summer!
Stay tuned for updates on planning and our hike!
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