Today saw two firsts for our trip. Our first afternoon shower and our first National Wilderness Area, Lost Creek Wilderness. The Colorado Trail runs through the northern boundaries of Lost Creek and we were excited to reach it today, mostly due to the milestone showing we were making progress by reaching a landmark I knew. Dave poses as he fills out the required permit.
We started off somewhat disparaged and low on morale, despite making mileage the previous two days. A lot of this was frustration with the food and meals I had packed and planned. The meals tasted good, and proved to be easy enough to prepare, but there were two critical problems:
1. By and large the foods proved too heavy and its calorie to weight ratio was relatively low, forcing us to carry too much food.
2. We were carrying far too much food, and eating only slightly more than half our daily ration. We had enough food for 10 days, not 6!
The solution, of course, was a massive dumping of leftovers. And while we feel just as guilty as we should about our high impact camping techniques, dumping over 5 pounds of trail mix and 10 pounds of other food and fuel proved to be the only way to keep our sanity. We rationalized it by saying food was biodegradable. Either way, there's a happy little squirrel somewhere who found enough trail mix to last him and his tribe for the next 5 winters. We moved on after this.
I recall going through Lost Creek several times in my youth, mostly with my father and our old dog Pepper. As a teenager, I entered a program through Eagle Lake Camp called the "Rocky Mountain Challenge," which was basically a Christian wilderness program modeled after Outward Bound. In fact, I vaguely recall hiking through a few of these sections when I was 16 or 17 years old.
The area has changed very little since then. The area remains much as it has, a fantastically remote preserve of virgin forest a surprisingly short distance from Denver. We spent 20 minutes perched on this rock, rejoicing that we weren't miserably hot for the first time in four days.
CT Day 5: Through Lost Creek
The Colorado Trail Story