Rocky Mountain High

We have officially walked up, over, and through the Rocky Mountains.

And if feels pretty damn good.

Originally I was planning on getting a ride over the mountains and continuing walking to the coast from the other side. Mainly for fear of death by ninja cougars or raging bears that would surely attack a lone female hiker and her adorable dog. (Movies and television have assured me that the truly vicious animals go for the cute girls and dogs.) However, Fate intervened by way of Ralph and Alice offering a partnership through the mountains. And boy am I glad they did.

Walking through the mountains was an amazing experience. It’s nothing at all like the Appalachians or any of the mountains we have in Maine. There is just nothing to compare to the Rockies.

We started by going up and around Pike’s Peak.

Pike’s Peak, from a distance

Then worked our way up through a few mountain passes

Ute Summit

Wilkerson Pass, elevation 9502

Trout Creek Pass, elevation 9346

And eventually through our highest elevation and toughest climb up and over Monarch Pass

And then it was all easy sailing from there…..ha, no. That’s a lie.

Monarch Pass, elevation 11,312

But when we crested our last mountain pass, and saw not another row of summits before us but wide open land…

wide open below us

..well that was a pretty amazing feeling.

There were days where I thought the mountains would go on forever, but of course they didn’t.  It was both harder and easier than I thought it would be, walking through the Rocky Mountains, and I’m really glad I decided to hike on through instead of hitching a ride.  An experience on this adventure that I’ll never forget.

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Colorado and Beyond

This is the post in which I finally share my plan for getting past Colorado. This entire adventure I’ve been saying I’ll just get to Boulder, visit with my brother, and figure out the rest of it from there. Well, before I knew it I was in Boulder and I had to actually figure stuff out.

The plan: I am teaming up with fellow thru-hiker Ralph. Together we plan to face down the Rockies and the deserts of Utah and Nevada. Right now we’re in Colorado Springs (which is amusing the Stargate geek in me), and are planning to head out tomorrow morning for our first venture into the mountains. We’ll be following hwy 24 until Buena Vista, where we’ll jog south and onto hwy 50 – which we’ll probably be on for quite awhile.

Teaming up and following a route through the mountains and the desert was a tough call to make. I really had my heart set on heading up towards Portland and then possibly Seattle, but it wasn’t meant to be. I just couldn’t see a path where I wouldn’t need car support, which is something I couldn’t find. Ralph contacted me and offered to share his car support through the desert – an offer I found I couldn’t pass up.

It’s going to be tough – we’ll be hiking through some rough spots here in Colorado, getting up to 11,000ft elevation at some points – but I think together we can make it happen. Plus, it’ll be nice to have someone to talk to for a change. I talk to Anna a lot, but it’s just not the same.

So tomorrow we’re off to start the (hopefully) two week trek through the mountains. Wish us luck, because I think we’re going to need it.  Those mountains are intimidating from down here.

The view from the hotel in Colorado Springs.

Boulder, CO

Hello from Boulder, Colorado!

How, pray tell, did I end up in Boulder when I just crossed over the CO border yesterday?  I shall explain.

My older brother, John, lives in Boulder. The entire trip I was planning on stopping for a few days to visit. With me living on the east coast and John living in Colorado, we don’t see each other that often. So a chance to visit was pretty cool.

However, the timing was off.  I was planning on getting here the first week in September, but ended up moving a lot faster than planned. John has a busy schedule of weddings this summer, and my moving faster than planned was not working out. If I kept walking I’d end up getting in to Boulder when he was off in Maine at a wedding. Not cool.  I was not going to walk all the way to Colorado and not see my brother.  So John, being an awesome big brother, offered to come out to pick me up so we could have a few days of visiting before he has to take off.

So now I am in Boulder. Woo!

 

Now to figure out how to get to the coast.  The rest of the country was the easy part, this last stretch is the tough stuff. Going to take some actual planning now.

In which there are many maps and no definite answers.

It has been brought to my attention that when I ask for help along the way, people to meet, and places to stay, it might be a good idea to let you all know where exactly it is I’ll be walking.

As per usual with me, nothing is set in stone. However, here are some maps with a general idea of where I’ll be heading.

Starting from where I am today:

Hah, pretty detailed, right?

I’m just about into Indiana, and here’s how I’m thinking of going.

Mostly I just need to hit Kokomo, IN, avoid Chicago, and then at some point start drifting up towards Rock Island/Davenport area where I’ll meet back up with the ADT.

The ADT maps for Iowa,

(Iowa is a bit iffy for following the entire trail, as it would cut down on time to skip the ups and downs and try and go straight across)

Nebraska,

and Colorado.

Once I get to Denver/Boulder I’m planning on reassessing the situation and going from there. Portions of the CO trail make me a tad nervous, so I might be changing it up there. We’ll see.

Hopefully that clears things up a tad and lets people know where I might be looking for a place to stay. If you are familiar with any of the areas I’m proposing to go through and have some tips or suggestions, please don’t be shy in sharing!