* I’m well-fed and in Salida
* I’m trying to figure out scheduling
* Let me know today if you wanna try to meetup somewhere Colorado
A thru-hiker rolls into town like a ravenous raccoon looking for calories and anything that can sate hunger in a way that pop-tarts cannot. The fruity and floral smells of the washed-masses cause confusion for the olfactory senses, doing little to abate the immediate need for sustenance.
And so I descended into Monarch Pass with dreams of fanta, salads, and other glorious town foods.
Thru-hiking is largely an American phenomenon, which may be due to the country’s love for processed foods rich in calories and engineered to be addictive. The same traits driving the obesity epidemic are benignly transformed through the body of a thru-hiker to ward off skeletal malnutrition while simultaneously generating miles of travel. What magic we have invented!
I’m sick of pop-tarts. I’m loathing a lot of trail food right now. I can’t physically eat enough food on trail through the Rockies to keep up with the calories I’m burning. Ritz crackers with peanut butter? Can’t do it anymore.
Between altitude and the sharp saw-tooth terrain, my usual supply of junk food is inadequate. Except, of course, for fruit snacks! 6000 calories of fruit snacks provides 75 grams of protein! The box should really come with a warning: prolonged consumption of fruit snacks and gushers will exercise your jaw muscles in increasingly interesting ways. Don’t worry! Soreness will dissipate in 2 days. It’s a damn shame they’re not more calorie dense.
I left the bubble of Pagosa Springs 5 days ago. In doing so, I made a tremendously silly mistake. I opted for the Creede Cutoff, rather than the “CDT centerline” through the San Juans. Having already hiked the Colorado Trail a few times, I figured I wasn’t going to miss anything I hadn’t hiked before, and could enjoy a snowless frolic with only a 2-day food carry compared to 6-to-8 days. At the time, my decision was made due to fear mongering and limited information about trail conditions. As additional information came my way, it became too obnoxious to get back to a store in Pagosa to supplement my food purchases, so I went full-steam ahead to the Creede Cutoff. It turns out, I should have measured miles a bit better too. I lost 60-miles of mountain passes in the San Juans I haven’t hiked before. Additionally, I traded away phenomenal views and delightfully snowy traverses with other thru-hikers for 7 miles of scenic canyons and 20 miles of road walking. I also am now 9 days ahead of my friends from New Mexico. I suppose that the best way to sort out disappointing hiking decisions is to hike more.
The next section of trail is about 60 miles through the Collegiate Peaks, which will take me to Twin Lakes. I’m going to hitch from there to Leadville for a zero, and I have the nagging suspicion I am now carrying a 1-lb paperweight in the form of an ice axe. Only the alpine snow gods know for sure.
Right now I’m in Salida, taking a zero and planning out the next couple weeks of Colorado hiking. I got picked up by Ron Moak at Monarch Pass — famed outdoor gear designer who started Six Moon Designs. 10-hours of good conversation later, I found myself back in my hostel, clean, and ready for some blissful sleep.
With love from trail mile 1062,
P.s. I’m working on some videos to answer lingering questions. Expect them later today?