Wednesday, August 13, 2008

CT Day 17: Positioning ourselves for Mt. Massive.

Wild Bill himself drove us up to the CT Trailhead where we left off so that we might continue our journey South towards our ultimate destination, Durango. We only hiked 9 or so miles in and camped in the Mt. Massive Wilderness Area as we wanted to be perfectly positioned for tomorrow's ascent of Mt. Massive.

When I first thought about doing the trail, I knew it would be a great way to achieve my lifetime goal of climbing every 14,000 foot peak in Colorado. Many native Coloradoans share the dream of standing atop all the "14er's in the state, but far less actually get around to doing them all. I believe there are 52 "14er's" in the state of Colorado, and I've only climbed about 10 of them. I originally planned to climb about 5-10 of the 14ers in the Collegiate Peaks.

When the Colorado Trail passes through the Western side of the Arkansas Valley, several "14ers" become accessible to thru-hikers in this valley alone; some more accessible than others. They include:

1. Mt. Massive
2. Mt. Elbert
3. Mt. Harvard
4. Mt. Yale
5. Mt. Princeton
6. Mt. Shavano
7. Mt. Antero

While I thought I could get at least 5 of these, this was ultimately proving impractical, as the underestimated physical demands of carrying food and finishing the trail alone were already chipping away at our mountaineering ambitions. Timing the ascent of a 14er while simultaneously making significant progress on the trail also proved difficult. If we wanted to move 12 miles per day, we needed to either slowly kill ourselves by hiking significant distances AFTER an ascent, or severely limit trail progress and force ourselves to carry more food and take more time. Something had to give.

Either way, we are determined to get at least one big mountain in, and tomorrow its gonna be Mt. Massive. At 14,421 feet, Mt. Massive stands as the second highest in Colorado and the third highest in the lower 48 states (correct me if I'm wrong). The picture above shows Mt. Massive.

CT Day 18: Mount Massive

The Colorado Trail Story

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