Testing out of new shelter - a tarp and net tent combo.

“How We’re Spending Our Summer Vacation”

“Oh, these vast calm measureless mountain days, inciting at once to work and rest. Days in whose light everything seems equally divine…” — John Muir

It’s about time we started walking again.

Honeybuns and I will begin our thruhike of the Colorado Trail next week. Winding 484 miles between Denver and Durango, the Colorado Trail is reputedly one of the most beautiful, best-maintained trails in the U.S. and a good introduction to western hiking. As a born and bred Mid-Atlantic resident, I am hoping I won’t have too much trouble finding my sea legs (or, rather, mountain lungs), on a trail where the average altitude is over 10,000 feet.

Last year was a monumental year of backpacking lessons for us. But this is a whole new can of Spam. Compared to the AT, the navigation will be a bit tougher. The resupplies and hitches will be a bit tougher. So we’ll have to be a bit tougher, too.

Team Pie keeps in good touch, but Honeybuns and I will be back to hiking alone after this. (Though Scout is actually coincidentally in Colorado at present, with a crew of firefighters.) We’ll carry our beloved hikertrash friends in our hearts. But it’ll be strange to be hiking for weeks without playing games and sharing stories with these guys.

Wanting to cut down our base weights, Honeybuns and I will be trying a new net tent and tarp system, and giving the Big Agnes a break. While I love our dependable and comfy Copper Spur UL2, we’ve effectively halved the weight of our shelter. We’ll need to exercise some different skills, as campsite selection and knot skills are extra important when tarp camping.

Not pictured: My brother’s GoPro, which I’m also excited to play with this trip.

We’re also planning on switching up our food system. With all the socializing that happens around shelters, the AT is definitely conducive to cooking your dinner before rolling into bed, but this isn’t the best animal-prevention strategy or the best use of all those calories. So we’re planning a better strategy of cooking and eating our hot meal then continuing on a few miles before camping. We’ve also switched to a cheap canister stove and a shared pot.

Finally, we’ll have to reconsider our hiking rhythm as we may find ourselves with a lot of built-in siestas. We’ve been warned that there are frequent afternoon thunderstorms on the Colorado Trail, and that we should be ready to toss up a shelter and take a little break.

At the present, we’re getting the apartment ready for our catsitters and doing our final preparations. (We’re using Yogi’s book, the official data and map books and the PMags End-to-End guide.) We have a couple of maildrops for places where it sounds like the resupply could be a little sparse. We also have a new dehydrator and food saver that Honeybuns’ mom got us for Christmas, so I am definitely looking forward to eating some real fruits and veggies on trail.

About a week to go!

Published on July 6, 2016

Taken with a GoPro HERO+

2 mm focal length 2/1075″ at f/2.8 ISO 100