Jul 08

Colorado Trail: Section 1

Hiking the Colorado Trail

I completed most of section one of the Colorado Trail this summer. Due to some wilderness regulations and gnarly blisters, I’ll need to go back and tackle part of segment 4, but that’s already in the works. I highly recommend the Colorado Trail for you long-distance hikers out there. It’s absolutely gorgeous and provides an astonishing variety of scenery. For those of you who think it’s all alpine forests for over 450 miles, you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise. Keep in mind that the entire trail is open to hiking and most of it is also available for mountain biking. But be prepared for difficult biking and detours around wilderness areas. Whether you’re hiking or biking, do your homework. The Colorado Trail Foundation publishes a series of books and maps that are invaluable for day-hikers and through-hikers alike. Another option is to join Colorado Mountain Expeditions for a guided tour on the trail. They run tours throughout the summer and provide a great alternative for those who are not up for backpacking the entire trail.

hikers on trail

on the Colorado Trail

Segment 1 of the Colorado Trail

The first segment of the Colorado Trail begins near Denver in Waterton Canyon. It starts out as an easy hike for the first seven miles, then graduates to slopes that require a bit more energy. This segment is the longest one in section #1, but not very difficult to hike. Segment one is 16.8 miles long and is probably the most popular segment of the entire 485 mile Colorado Trail due to its proximity to Denver and the Front Range of Colorado. It gets a lot of use by hikers, trail-runners and mountain bikers.

Segment 2 of the Colorado Trail

Most of Colorado Trail segment #2 is characterized by the remnants of a large forest fire that blew through the area in 1996. For years, Colorado Trail travelers complained that this was the least attractive segment on the trail. Now, because of wide-open vistas and lots of wildflowers, segment two isn’t so bad any more. I’ve even heard some people call it their favorite segment of the entire Colorado Trail. It is approximately 11.5 miles long and does not have any reliable sources of water for thru-hikers, so make sure you fill up your water reservoirs before starting this segment of the trail.

Segment 3 of the Colorado Trail

yellow flowers on trail

wildflowers near trail

Colorado Trail segment 3 is 12.7 miles long and is located in the Pike National Forest at the Scraggy Creek Trailhead. This is one of the more popular trail segments for mountain bikers and is still close enough to the Colorado Front Range to allow for fairly easy access.

Segment 4 of the Colorado Trail

This 16.6 mile trail segment has two claims to fame. First, it is the first Colorado Trail segment that entails wilderness hiking. So those of you who are big wilderness fans will love hiking through the Lost Creek Wilderness Area. Secondly, bicycles are not allowed on a large chunk of this trail segment because of the wilderness area. The Colorado Trail Foundation maps and guide books show an alternative route for mountain bikes for this and other wilderness trail segments. BTW, for those of you joining Colorado Mountain Expeditions tours, segment 4 & 5 are combined into one day, but they are unable to guide the Lost Creek Wilderness sections at this point in time.

Segment 5 of the Colorado Trail

This is one of my favorite Colorado Trail segments because of the beautiful aspen groves. They are a gorgeous sight in both the summer and the fall. After 14.4 miles, this segment of trail ends at beautiful Kenosha Pass. Many hikers and bike riders choose to start this segment from Kenosha Pass and ride or walk it from west to east.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2014/07/08/colorado-trail-section-1/

Jun 06

Retirement Trail

Retirement is a Good Time to Explore Trails

I have often been perplexed by those folks who say, “I wouldn’t know what to do if I retired.” Having been retired for six years, I have the opposite problem. There are still too many things to do to fit in a 24 hour day. Finally, I found a quote that appropriately summarizes my feelings on the topic. John Burroughs once wrote, “I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read and all the friends I want to see.

Life on the Trail

happy couple on bikes

Retire to a Trail

That is perfect. I have the exact seem perspective on retirement. Of course, I would also add, “all the trails I want to explore” into the list, but Mr. Burroughs covered that with “… all the walks I want to take…” When I was a working stiff, I always felt too busy. Now that I’m retired, I feel no less busy. The difference is, I do what I want to do, when I want to do it. I call it, “Life on my schedule.” And it suits me to a tee. I happen to enjoy all of the activities mentioned by John Burroughs: thinking (call it meditation or pondering, if you’d like), walking (hiking/bike riding), reading, socializing (morning coffee, afternoon lunch, evening beer). But even if I eliminated all of those activities, I could literally spend every waking moment riding bicycles (or any other Personal Transportation Vehicle/PTV) on trails throughout the world.

The Many Benefits of Trails

Give me a rail trail in Missouri, a canal trail in Maryland, a river trail in Europe, an island trail in Canada, and I’ll be a contented person. Of course it’s way more than just the bike riding. It’s the scenery, the history, the camaradarie, the exercise, the sunshine, the fresh air… Most of life’s greatest treasures and pleasures can be found on a trail. In fact, I’ve been known to ponder, walk, read and socialize with friends (old and new) while on trails. I guess you can say that trails are the ultimate retirement destination. Whether in another country or out your back door, trails provide sanity in a crazy world.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2014/06/06/retirement-trail/

May 28

Social Trails & Social Media

What are Social Trails?

The Trailsnet “trail phrase of the day” is Social Trails. Social trails are unofficial trails that often branch off of “official trails.” Social trails are often used by locals to get from one trail to another, from a neighborhood to a trail or from a trail to a business. Social trails are not always legal, but still quite prevalent out there in the trail kingdom. Therefore, you won’t find most social trails on trail maps or websites such as Trailsnet.com. Dog walkers love social trails as a place to take their best friend on a walk and, not that I would ever do this, but such walks often entail off-leash time for Fido.

Trailsnet has 4,000 Twitter Followers

Speaking of dog walkers and trail enthusiasts, congratulations to outdoor enthusiast Arlen Leeming was the 4,000th Trailsnet follower on Twitter. Thanks for joining the Trailsnet community, Arlen. Hopefully you’ll find a chance to add your favorite trail to Trailsnet.com. We’d love to know where that beautiful dog of yours likes going for walks… or where you like hiking or bike riding. I promise, we’ll get Canada in our system soon.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2014/05/28/social-trails-social-media/

May 21

City of Trails?

German City to Eliminate Roads

Imagine a world without cars? If you’re having trouble with that, let’s scale it back to a city without cars. Hamburg, Germany has ambitious plans to replace roads with greenways and gradually eliminate the need for automobiles within 20 years. It’s already in my calendar to visit there when it’s done. A city of trails, open spaces & parks would be a beautiful place to live and to visit.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2014/05/21/city-trails/

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