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  1. #1
    Senior Member Shrewd's Avatar
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    Thinking about the Colorado Trail

    Hey again folks,

    The urge is creeping back on me and the CT looks like an awesome trail thatís long enough to give me that proper adventure feel without being so long it changes my life (again).

    Iíve seen some Chopís thread that had my eyebrow raised by I guess Iím just feeling out the tent vs hammock situation for the trail.

    If youíve read my other threads you know Iím a hammock fan, though I got used to my tent on the PCT.

    Iím hoping for a conversation about how viable hammocking is on the CT or rather, how much more of an issue is it? Say, how much more planning or thinking about your day is required vs just throwing up the tent wherever.

    Cheers!

  2. #2

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    I hiked Watertown to Twin Lakes and hammocked every night no troubles.

    Thinking of finishing the trail this summer and will be bringing hammock. I also bring a z-lite pad cut to six segments. Goes under my legs in hammock, great sit pad and can sleep on ground if forced to(never had to yet)

  3. #3

    Join Date
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    I have section hiked most of the Colorado Trail the last two years, and hammocked almost all of it.

    It wasnít hard to find good hang sites most of the time, although there were a few stretches where we camped in areas where the beetle kill was pretty bad, and when the wind kicked up it made me a little nervous. Of course, the tent guys with me were a little nervous, too.

    The exception for not being able to hang were segments 22-24 (MP 357.8 to 411.1) where we were above tree line (about 11,500 ft., although it varies) almost the entire time. A had planned on tent camping for this portion, and although it was necessary I certainly didnít like it.

    The segments I have yet to do are about 55 miles in Segments 18-21 (MP 302.8-357.8) in the San Juan Mountains. I wanted to do it last year, but the trail head-trail end logistics are very difficult (the trail head is 3 Ĺ hours from Denver, and Trail Head to Trail End is another 2 ĺ hours) so it takes a lot of planning to stage vehicles.

    For this section (18-21) there is a lot of it above tree line, and a lot with beetle kill. I have a Tensa 4, and the Tensa solo conversion, so I plan to take the Tensa solo (and boom stakes) with me so I can just look for 1 reasonably good tree to hang from. I think the extra 3 lbs. or so are going to be worth it. The Solo wouldnít have done me any good in Segs 22-24 where we camped (although that was somewhat dictated by the tent campers with me, and their hiking pace).

    I am 63 years old (yikes!) weigh about 175 and reasonably fit. When we went as a group we were hiking 12-14 miles per day, and when I was solo I was doing 14-19 miles per day. One hot day I pushed it to 20 miles to finish, and didnít drink enough water. Big mistake. I ended up losing 8 lbs. in two days of hiking and one overnight stay. I was pretty miserable at the end.

    Southern Colorado is getting a lot of snow so far this year, so I imagine that the trail will open up pretty late for decent hiking (maybe mid-late July?). Currently the northern portion is less snowy, but that could change. We had fire bans all last year. It would probably be the same this year, because the beetle kill areas are such a tinder box. Plan on using a propane stove.

    I would recommend a couple of things in your planning:

    I would buy the Colorado Trail DATABOOK which is an excellent detailed resource for maps, mileages, elevations, and potential water sources. You can order from the www.ColoradoTrail.org website.

    I would keep a close eye on that website for trail conditions, as they will generally report when segments are open for passage (as the snow melts).

    I would also recommend the Guthook App, as it gives a lot of good info on water sources along the trail, and there are segments where knowing if water is flowing or not is critical.

    There is also a Colorado Trail Facebook group, which might be helpful.

    Good luckÖ there is some really fantastic scenery (kind of hard to do it justice in photos) and beautiful wildflowers. I am looking forward to getting out and finishing the Trail, and then looking at some other extended hikes (like maybe the Collegiate West Loop segment).

    I hope this helps!

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by LanceHawk View Post
    I have section hiked most of the Colorado Trail the last two years, and hammocked almost all of it.

    It wasnít hard to find good hang sites most of the time, although there were a few stretches where we camped in areas where the beetle kill was pretty bad, and when the wind kicked up it made me a little nervous. Of course, the tent guys with me were a little nervous, too.

    The exception for not being able to hang were segments 22-24 (MP 357.8 to 411.1) where we were above tree line (about 11,500 ft., although it varies) almost the entire time. A had planned on tent camping for this portion, and although it was necessary I certainly didnít like it.

    The segments I have yet to do are about 55 miles in Segments 18-21 (MP 302.8-357.8) in the San Juan Mountains. I wanted to do it last year, but the trail head-trail end logistics are very difficult (the trail head is 3 Ĺ hours from Denver, and Trail Head to Trail End is another 2 ĺ hours) so it takes a lot of planning to stage vehicles.

    For this section (18-21) there is a lot of it above tree line, and a lot with beetle kill. I have a Tensa 4, and the Tensa solo conversion, so I plan to take the Tensa solo (and boom stakes) with me so I can just look for 1 reasonably good tree to hang from. I think the extra 3 lbs. or so are going to be worth it. The Solo wouldnít have done me any good in Segs 22-24 where we camped (although that was somewhat dictated by the tent campers with me, and their hiking pace).

    I am 63 years old (yikes!) weigh about 175 and reasonably fit. When we went as a group we were hiking 12-14 miles per day, and when I was solo I was doing 14-19 miles per day. One hot day I pushed it to 20 miles to finish, and didnít drink enough water. Big mistake. I ended up losing 8 lbs. in two days of hiking and one overnight stay. I was pretty miserable at the end.

    Southern Colorado is getting a lot of snow so far this year, so I imagine that the trail will open up pretty late for decent hiking (maybe mid-late July?). Currently the northern portion is less snowy, but that could change. We had fire bans all last year. It would probably be the same this year, because the beetle kill areas are such a tinder box. Plan on using a propane stove.

    I would recommend a couple of things in your planning:

    I would buy the Colorado Trail DATABOOK which is an excellent detailed resource for maps, mileages, elevations, and potential water sources. You can order from the www.ColoradoTrail.org website.

    I would keep a close eye on that website for trail conditions, as they will generally report when segments are open for passage (as the snow melts).

    I would also recommend the Guthook App, as it gives a lot of good info on water sources along the trail, and there are segments where knowing if water is flowing or not is critical.

    There is also a Colorado Trail Facebook group, which might be helpful.

    Good luckÖ there is some really fantastic scenery (kind of hard to do it justice in photos) and beautiful wildflowers. I am looking forward to getting out and finishing the Trail, and then looking at some other extended hikes (like maybe the Collegiate West Loop segment).

    I hope this helps!
    I assume going down the CDT side of the Collegiate Loop is tenting territory.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  5. #5
    Two Speed's Avatar
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    The portion of that is shared with the CDT, West Colligate, definitely has some hammock territory. Maybe one spot you have to ground camp unless you pull a big day. The CT is one of the most beautifully maintained trails I've ever hiked.

  6. #6

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    The only night I had to sleep on the ground was the 35 mile stretch that was all above 12K' between Lake City and Silverton. Absolutely no trees in sight.

    Other than that I had my pick of trees just about every night. The tent campers had a tougher time finding flat ground most of the time.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ibgary's Avatar
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    I'm hoping to start south in May or June.

    Sent from my couch

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