Mile 0 Waterton to 18.9 near South Platte River
5:30 rolls around. I wake up to the 5 Star alarm clock. I sure did miss that. I carefully crawl out of the bunk bed and onto the floor. I eat a bagel, banana, and bacon. A 3 B breakfast. Allen offered to drive us to the trailhead and so we head outside and see one of those short shuttle buses. Awesome!
We get inside and its spacious and has brewery stickers on the ceiling. Allen says he uses it for running up to the mountains and doing brewery crawls.
We get to the trailhead which is a large parking area. We say goodbye to Allen and start making our way up the “trail.” The start of the CT is along a dirt access road for Denver water. The road has mountain bikers flying up and down it. The road is technically part of the CT and goes for about 6.2 miles.
We started hiking down the road at a leisurely pace. The road is graded nicely and has a very slight incline if at all. After about 2 or 3 miles we came to a gazebo and pit toilet. Jim ran in to take care of some business while Tami and I discussed how likely it is for a 125 lb mountain lion to maul our faces off.
A couple of solo hikers that looked like thru hikers passed by us while we taking a quick break at the gazebo. We heaved our packs up and continued to plod on. The road follows the South Platte River and every once in awhile we would see some fly fishers in the river. Even saw some asshole Canada Geese in the middle of the road.
We eventually came up to where there is a dam and the road heads away from the river. We sat under a pavilion and had some snacks and took a quick break. A couple more hikers passed by. These hikers definitely stand out from what I’m used to seeing on the PCT. They have much bigger packs, heavy boots, and a lot of things lashed to the outside. Their packs look quite heavy.
We got up and started making our way uphill along the road. Here we go. We make our way up the road and see a sign saying Colorado Trail and pointing left. Guess this is where the trail starts looking like a trail. The trail is predominately in the forest and reminds me a lot like northern California.
The entire time we are walking along the trail we have got keep an eye and ear out for mountain bikers. Definitely not used to that. The CT is a multi-use trail that allows mountain bikers. The PCT does not.
We continue plodding along heading up hill. Around 1 we take a lunch break under a bit of shade. I pull out this stuff called Moon Cheese that I saw at the store. Its dehydrated cheese. I eat the whole bag which is only 2 ounces. By the end my stomach is starting to not feel so good. That’s no good. I drink some water and have some peanut butter. Tami pulls out a zip lock bag of powdered donuts. Well they were donuts. Now its just a bag of powdered crumbs.
As we are sitting in the shade a guy with two horses ride by. His trailing horse loaded with all sorts of big camping gear. After about an hour we get up and start making our way up the trail some more.
We have to go up a bit more but I’m starting to feel bad in my stomach. It only feels bad when going up. Which is all we see doing at this point. I fall a bit behind 5 Star and Tami but keep them in sight. I’m feeling pretty bad but now I’m not sure if its my stomach or I just really need to go. I decide to wait a few miles until we get to this river that has a pit toilet.
We make it up to the high point of the day and I’m drenched in sweat. At least its all down hill until we get to the river. We hike down the switchbacks and can see the river.
Finally we drop down onto a forest access road and I head to the pit toilet. I open it up hoping for the best. It was the worst I have ever seen. People filled it up with trash bags. I close the door and walk across the bridge and follow 5 Star and Tami down to the river. There are a few hikers and some people there for the day hanging out on the river. We find a spot and set our packs down. I pull out my foam pad and lay down. I’m exhausted and feel like shit.
5 Star gets up after about 10 minutes and goes to the river. I fet up and follow. The water is cold and feels good on my feet. 5 Star and I sit on a big rock with our feet in the water. Tami comes over and just plops right down in the river. She leans back and lets the water flow over her as she tries to float without being carried away. I decide I want to wash out the nether regions and butt crack so I don’t chaffe. I take off my pants and shirt and just sit down in my underwear. It was cold down there.
After a few minutes we get up and walk over to our packs and I lay down again. A couple walk down to the river with a husky mix. The couple goes into the water while the dog walks around the river bank. Tami and I call the dog over and she is super affectionate. She has very soft fur. Total sweet heart.
Eventually we see the skies starting to darken so we decide to pack up just in case it starts to rain. We cant camp by the river and dont want to because that’s were hiker noblets or car camping noblets will be.
We start making our way up. We have about a 700 foot climb over two miles. After about 500 feet of elevation climb I am exhausted. We get to a spot that looks flat but decide to pass it since its a big spot and we are anti social.
I’m falling further behind and it feel like I’m walking in molasses. I slowly plod along until the trail starts heading down again. I quickly catch up and we see a tee with what looks to be a flat spot off to the right of the trail. We make our way over and check it out. Its semi flat and is plenty big enough to cowboy camp. I pull out my foam pad and lay down for about 30 minutes.
I decide I should probably go dig my inaugural hole and see if that helps. I walk off with the tools of the trade and find a hole to dig. Of course the ground is hard packed so it takes a bit to scrape a hole to the proper size. I do my thing and feel a bit better.
I head back and set up my stuff to cowboy camp. I eat some trail mix and dried apricots and start feeling a bit better.
I wasn’t expecting today to be so hard. We only did 19 miles but I’m definitely not in the same shape I was last year. Also, it didn’t help that my stomach hurt.
Here’s to hoping the bats flying arpund stay out of Tami’s hair and it doesnt rain on us.