Week 2 on the Colorado trail brought us from Copper Mountain to Buena Vista over 97 miles. This trail continues to amaze me despite its challenges. So in love with the Colorado Trail!!
We were hoping after our day in Breckenridge that the next segment would reopen after a large forest fire had been mostly contained. Unfortunately, the segment was still closed forcing us to skip the segment and pick up the trail at Copper Mountain Resort. Thankfully the public buses between Breckenridge, Frisco, and Copper Mountain were free, frequent, and easy to use. We headed to Copper Mountain around noon right as the daily afternoon storm was beginning. It didn’t take much to convince us to take a full zero day in nearby Silverthorne and dodge the rain.
PSA: If there is a fire ban in an area that you are camping in, then that means FIRES ARE BANNED!!! Please respect the protected areas and the rules that come with it. No one ever thinks they’ll be the cause of a forest fire, but two hikers are responsible for the Breckenridge fire that caused hundreds of millions of dollars of damage. Please, don’t be that person.
We headed out from our hotel in the morning back to Copper Mountain ready for a week long stretch on trail. It was nearly 1:30 by the time we were ready to hike, but the afternoon dark clouds didn’t deter us. Instead, we walked on up a steep climb heading towards the 12,000 ft Kokomo Pass. Despite the rain and low temps, the scenery was still awe inspiring. When we finally finished the daunting climb, we immediately began looking for a campsite. We were delighted to end our hike impressed that we had completed nearly 13 miles despite our late start.
We were thrilled to see the clouds clear and the sun shining when we broke camp. We enjoyed a beautiful day that ended with a wooden swing in the woods.
We began our day by entering San Isabel National Forest and a huge climb up a mountain. Our hard work was rewarded with epic views of Mt. Massive and Mt. Elbert in the distance.
In the morning we walked near the trail spur for both Mt Massive then Mt Elbert. We didn’t really prepare food or our schedule to bag any 14,000 footers this time around, but I’m sure we’ll be back. Instead, we enjoyed a long afternoon under our tent pole / rain fly set up while the storm raged. We finished the day by hiking 7 miles after 6:00 pm with unbelievable views around Twin Lakes.
In the morning, we arrived at the trail split for the Collegiate East and West routes. Either direction is the official Colorado Trail while the official Continental Divide Trail takes the Collegiate West route. We decided to go east this time with our intentions of doing the western route on our CDT thru-hike next year. This section continues to be as tough as it is beautiful.
We began another doozy of a day climbing nearly 2000 ft in two miles. Yikes! We came to Silver Creek just as the afternoon storm was rolling in and popped the fly for a few hours. The sun reappeared, and we broke down our setup to hike a couple more steep miles up the mountain. We were hoping to reach the near top leaving four miles to the road where we would hitch to nearby Buena Vista. We began our early evening hike and the rain returned. We pushed on a little longer until the rain turned to hail when we decided to return to our spot by the creek. Now soaking wet, we pitched our tent again and settled in for the night.
Morning brought the sunshine and we broke down camp early. We began a 2500 ft climb over three miles bringing us to a height of nearly 12,000 ft and just a few miles east of the summit of Mt. Yale. The views took my breath away. After a little yodeling and listening to the echos, we headed the remaining miles down the mountain to the road.
It only took a few moments before a nice woman happily drove us into Buena Vista. We were thrilled to be in town and had one more thing to look forward to. My good friend Claudia volunteered to be our trail angel for the day!! After she helped us run our errands, she graciously housed us for the night in her mountain home about an hour from trail. Boy are we spoiled!!!
Well, it’s just about time to head out again. 216 miles down, 270 to go!!! If you couldn’t tell, we are head over heals for the Colorado Trail. If you’ve got a month to go hiking, this trail is for you! It’s also set up in segments for those without so much free time. Truly, I couldn’t recommend this trail any higher.
Follow Along our next 268 Miles on the Colorado Trail!!