Collegiate Loop – 160 Miles in the high Colorado Rockies

TROY ZOHNER:

… The route travels around the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, using two of Colorado’s best known trails, the Colorado Trail (CT) and the Continental Divide Trail (CDT).

The CT is known as the Collegiate East and the CDT is the Collegiate West.

The trail passes by a dozen 14,000-foot summits along the way while traveling through a mix of high forests and alpine terrain. …

The Collegiate Loop: 160 Miles Around the Heart of the Colorado Rockies

Justin’s Pacific Northwest Trail

Justin:

The Pacific Northwest Trail resonated with me: rugged, rough, remote. I became somewhat (ok, totally) obsessed with the idea of hiking it. And in 2 weeks I’ll be starting the trail …

The PNT has all the things I love about backpacking: navigation challenges, undeveloped sections, bushwacking and solitude (I have a hiking partner, I won’t go full Castaway on you). The length is perfect for my three month timeframe …

(fewer) than 300 people have completed the trail since its inception in 1977. …

How Did I Get Here?

Unbounded – Greater Patagonia Trail documentary

“Unbounded” shows the beauty, the cultural richness but also the challenges of this trail network. I highly recommend watching this work of art to all prospective hikers as part of their preparation.
Jan Dudeck (creator of GPT)

Four young people who didn’t know each other at the start hiked 4 months on the Greater Patagonia Trail in Chile.

Only one had much experience hiking.

They made plenty of mistakes. Carried huge packs. At the start they could only manage about 7km / day.

The Greater Patagonia Trail is a route, not a trail. It’s unsigned. It’s wilderness. It’s very challenging.

Despite many, many problems, the documentary turned out to be quite entertaining. I recommend it.

Click PLAY or watch the trailer on YouTube.

I watched on Amazon Prime. But it is available on other video streaming sites.

Navigation

The Greater Patagonian Trail … is HARD

Matt Maynard:

The 1,900-mile-long thru-hike winds through the southern Andes from Santiago to the climbing mecca of Mount Fitzroy. To complete it, adventurers need a lot more than physical stamina.

In late 2017, I contacted explorer and (Swiss) German engineer Jan Dudeck, who was just completing a decade-long quest to create a new long trail through South America. The Greater Patagonian Trail (GPT), as he named it, would come to be 1,900 miles, stretching through the southern Andes from Santiago to the Argentinean climbing mecca of Mount Fitzroy.

“This trail rewards the humble,” Dudeck replied in his e-mail to me, “and humiliates the proud.” …

I set out on my own GPT attempt in the summer of 2017. I quickly learned that Dudeck’s creation bears little resemblance to the famous thru-hikes of the U.S.  …

It’s still a very rare occurrence to meet other GPT hikers. …

Outside – The Quest to Complete the Greater Patagonian Trail

GPT section 1 Jan Dudeck

walking the Keystone XL pipeline route

When writer Ken Ilgunas set out to walk the 1,700-mile proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline and talk to the people he met there, he expected challenging debates about climate change, energy security and national sovereignty. In researching his new book, “Trespassing Across America: One Man’s Epic, Never-Done-Before (and Sort of Illegal) Hike Across the Heartland,” he expected to experience the wisdom of the people and decipher the pipe’s symbolic meaning. He expected enlightenment.

Instead, he found a country we wish were just a caricature: an America that does not actually value debate, or enlightenment, or wisdom at all. …

LA Times review

Ilgunas is a very interesting and thoughtful writer.

He’s personally against the pipeline.

I listened to an interview on the Backpacker Radio podcast.

The Keystone Pipeline System is an oil pipeline system in Canada and the United States, commissioned in 2010 and now owned solely by TransCanada Corporation. It runs from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin in Alberta to refineries in Illinois and Texas, and also to oil tank farms and an oil pipeline distribution center in Cushing, Oklahoma. … 

 

… The proposed Keystone XL (sometimes abbreviated KXL, with XL standing for “export limited” Pipeline (Phase IV) would connect the Phase I-pipeline terminals in Hardisty, Alberta, and Steele City, Nebraska by a shorter route and a larger-diameter pipe. …

Hikertrash: Life on the Pacific Crest Trail

I did enjoy this entertaining trip report published 2014.

Carl and Erin decide — on a bit of a whim — to thru-hike the PCT.

Through blisters and shin splints, jaw-dropping landscapes and craptastically unspectacular forests, searing heat and pouring rain, complete hilarity and utter exhaustion, this is the story of what day-to-day life is really like on one of America’s greatest trails.

As told through Hummingbird’s journal entries, this is the story of life on the trail – the people you meet, the things you see, and how,mile by mile, you eventually become Hikertrash. …

What Is Hikertrash?

Hikertrash: a long distance hiker, shabby and homeless in appearance, rarely bathed and rank in odor, more at home outdoors than in society, with a deep reverence and respect for all things wild.

Amazon

Palm Springs to Paradise Cafe – day 6

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

Day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Another fantastic campsite. Great weather again.

Here are views looking up from my tent.

Majestic.

I’d been steadily descending from the snowy heights. Vegetation now changing rapidly.

My only health worry was hot foot. Would I get blisters?

Just in case I took off the shoes every hour or two.

I’ve used the same pack for many a year – the super light frameless Granite Gear Virga 2.

The similar Granite Gear Crown2 is the 5th most popular on the PCT. My next pack will be a Hyperlite, the 3rd most popular. It’s heavier but near waterproof. And more durable, I reckon.

Cactus.

Here’s one of the main reason people buy the Guthook app — to find off-trail water in the desert.

Though I treated this pipe water, it did look and smell great in April.

Water is scarce. Researchers use watering holes to check on the health of mammals in the area.

Successful in the desert are birds, snakes and lizards.

Down, down.

Into the trees.

Here’s where PCT hikers often get their water. GIFTS from Trail Angels.

I finally reached the first road. Would the mini-resupply I’d hung in a tree still be there?

YES!

I had enough food for the final 40 miles to Warner Springs. Yet I diverted one mile down the highway to famed Paradise Cafe.

My camp fuel was running low. I didn’t think I could make it two more days.

Unfortunately Paradise does not sell camp fuel. I returned to the trail hoping my Jetboil Flash would run on fumes.

Back on the PCT, I made it another couple of miles.

It looked like wind and rain so I set up my broken tent high enough in the wash to avoid flash flood.

As I feared, my stove fuel ran out before I could boil water for dinner. 😞

___ day 7

Weather forecast for today was for rain and very big winds. Not good.

I started south. Stopped. Then turned around and headed back towards Paradise.

Skipping the next 40 miles meant missing most of the desert wildflower bloom. Too bad.

Three reasons for quitting on my intended route:

  • broken tent
  • no stove fuel
  • weather forecast

The restaurant was packed. As usual.

I ended up seated with a tourist couple from Philly. As they were headed for Palm Springs I offered to pay for breakfast in exchange for a lift to town.

My PCT week was over. After breakfast.

Despite glitches — I really enjoyed hiking southbound on the PCT during peak season. The highlight was seeing hundreds and speaking with dozens of normal people whom — for one reason or another — wanted to try to hike from Mexico to Canada.

They are inspiring.

Day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6