Sunday, July 21, 2013

Colorado Trail - Days 3 and 4 (Part I)

Day 3, Original Goal:  61 miles; Actual mileage:  45 miles (16 miles behind original plan), Carson Saddle to Eddiesville Trailhead, July 20, 2013

5:30 am When I asked Eric the night before what time he wanted to rise for day 3, he said he didn’t want to set the alarm.  He was bushed from epic day 2, but when 5:30 am around, he and Troy were ready to get up and get moving.

6:25 am  Eric and Troy leave Carson Saddle for what adventures await them today.  Crew access is planned for Highway 149, Spring Creek Pass, 17 miles in, and again at Eddiesville Trailhead, 27 miles further down the trail.  Eric and Troy anticipate they may want to stop at Eddiesville Trailhead, instead of continuing on to Saguache Park Road, 14 miles beyond Eddiesville Trailhead.  With Eric and Troy on their way, Guy and I pack camp and begin heading back down the mountain to meet up with Stephanie who slept in her car the night before, not knowing anything about how Troy and Eric were doing.  Needless to say, she is  glad to see us and to hear that Troy and Eric have pressed on. 

10:45 am Eric and Troy arrive together at Highway 149, Spring Creek Pass.  They take a good break, consuming lots of calories and resting in the shade for a bit.  They are in good spirits.

11:25 am Eric heads out for the next 27 miles to Eddiesville Trailhead.  Troy holds back a bit to finish eating and take a quick nap.  Eric anticipates it will take him 6.5 hours to get to Eddiesville.

11:55 am Troy heads down the trail.  We pack up and head into Lake City to refresh supplies, including gas, chocolate milk for Troy and a sweet find of homemade banana bread, and then head over to the library to update the blog on Day 1 and Day 2 happenings.  After that we’re on the road again for a long drive out winding, narrow Colorado roads to get to our next access point at Eddiesville.

4:00 pm  We arrive at Eddiesville and estimate that the guys will be arriving about 6 pm.  At 5 pm, I head out on the trail thinking that I’ll meet up with them and join them on the trek back into the crew access point.  I hike until 6 pm with no sign of Eric or Troy. This was disconcerting because I was expecting at least Eric to arrive to the trailhead by 6:30 pm.  I wait until 6:20 pm and then start heading back to the trailhead.  On my way back, I see Guy.  I had mentioned to Stephanie and Guy that I thought I would be back in about one hour.  When two hours have passed and I have not yet returned, Guy decides to head out on the trail.  When we meet up, Guy mentions that it is looking more and more likely that Troy and Eric will not want to press on the additional 14 miles to Saguache Park Rd. and we might want to start setting up camp.

7:30 pm Stephanie and I park our chairs with a clear, long view of the trail, straining our eyes to see Troy and Eric coming our way.  At 8:15 pm, we determine we better get the tents set up because it’s looking less and less likely that they will want to push on.

8:30 pm  Eric arrives at camp looking pretty beat.  That section took more out of him than he anticipated.  He said his engine just wasn’t working like he wanted it to.  At some point during the day, he lay down on the trail and took a rest, thinking that Troy might catch up to him.  Eric got into some dry clothes, ate a cheeseburger and stew, took a sponge bath, and got in his sleeping bag.  He expressed concern that he and Troy had dug themselves too deep a hole with day 2 and wondered about their plan for making up the lost 16 miles from today.

9:00 pm Troy arrives into camp looking pretty upbeat.  He said that he had decided he was not going beyond Eddiesville Trailhead and determined to just take his time and enjoy the 27 miles.  He stopped along the way and washed off in a creek.  He’s been having frequent nosebleeds, due to the altitude, I suppose.  Just as he was about to go to sleep, Eric heard Troy arrive into camp.  He asked me to talk with Troy and find out what the plan was for Day 4 so they could determine what time to get up in the morning. Troy ate his dinner and got ready for bed.  Guy has been studying the maps and  was able to tell us that in order to make up for lost mileage today, Eric and Troy should at least try to make it to a point 9 miles before Marshall Pass Trailhead. The only concern about that though is crew access.  We’d have to do another hike in to get to them, carrying all of their supplies and what we’d need for the overnight.  Troy was resistant, saying he wants to be able to access all his gear.  We determine we’ll get up at 5:30 in the morning and make some final decisions about day 4 then.  I make sure Eric’s Garmin data is uploaded to the computer and head to bed about 10:30 pm.

Day 4, Original Goal:  48 miles; Revised Goal (Note: Day 4 still in progress):  55 miles (9 miles behind original plan), Eddiesville Trailhead to point on trail 9 miles before Marshall Pass, July 21, 2013

2:50 am  Eric wakes me and tells me he’s ready to get up and get moving.  He’s been lying there awake for a while and just wants to get on the trail.  I express concern about Troy and the notion of Eric leaving before him.  How would the crew access both of them?  What if Troy doesn’t want to go as far as Eric today?  Eric is focused on the goal of finishing the CT in record time (of course).  He tells me he’ll go talk with Troy.  A few minutes later, here comes Troy raring to go for the day.  Stephanie, Guy, and I help with breakfast and preparations as Troy and Eric set out to begin day 4 in the middle of the night.

3:40 am Eric and Troy head off into the night.

7:00 am Eric arrives at Saguache Rd., 14 miles in for the day.  Troy arrives 5 minutes later.  They both eat an egg and tomato sandwich and other snacks before heading out at 7:25 and 7:35 respectively.

10:50 am Eric arrives at Highway 114, 27 miles in for the day.  Troy arrives at 11 am.  Eric eats, rests, and heads out about 11:15 am, telling Troy he plans to take a rest along the trail somewhere.  Troy eats and rests, but doesn’t eat as much as the crew would like him to.  Eric and Troy can’t afford to get behind on their calories.  Troy is having a low point mentally.  Knowing that he still has 30 miles to go for the day and no crew access can’t help.  Eventually though,  he gets up out of the chair, straps on his pack, and takes the first step.  Guy walks with him the ¼ mile to the trailhead and off he goes.  I think one thing that is disconcerting to Troy is that he is having to depend on us to remember everything he needs for the night since we’ll be having to hike in again to them tonight.  Guy and I will hike in to camp, while Stephanie goes on to Marshall Pass so Eric and Troy will be assured of aid at the 9 mile point tomorrow, Day 5. What else will Day 4 hold for us?  We're heading back out to the mountains to see. 


  1. Thanks for the updates Robin. Sounds like things are going according to plan -- expect the unexpected. I'll be anxiously awaiting your next update!

  2. Great updates. Really enjoy hearing about how the journey is going. Sending positive energy westward!

  3. Great updates, thanks. I'm running with them in spirit. Paul-Damascus