Day 64: June 26, 2019
Today’s Miles: 9.6
Start Location: CDT Mile 1219.8
Trip Miles: 1018.4
I woke up early this morning and walked to the junction of the CDT and a recreational bike/pedestrian pathway, which I could walk all of the way into Frisco. It was a cold morning and by the time I got into town, my hands were ready to be warmed by a cup of coffee.
Frisco was a cute town. It definitely fit the bill of Colorado ski town, nestled in the mountains with clever architecture and a laid back vibe. Even the bike path in was interesting. I passed numerous avalanche fields, saw a few marmots, and even walked past an old, abandoned mine shaft. I went to a place called the Butterhorn Bakery for breakfast. I had some coffee and finally warmed up. It was a bustling place though and I needed time to think, so I finished my meal and walked further down the main strip to a place called Abbey’s Coffee.
It was time to make a decision. Although I had a bus ticket to Rawlins in the morning, I knew that in two weeks I would come back and, although some snow would melt down, there would still be a lot of snow at higher elevations. The main CDT route was chock full of peaks, ridges, and passes over 11,000/12,000 feet coming up. Because most people who were going to flip already have, I would most likely end up doing that stuff without other hikers. Based on my experience so far, I shouldn’t be doing that alone. I decided then and there to view the bus ticket as sunk cost. It stinks, but at least it wasn’t crazy expensive.
I knew I didn’t really want to flip to Canada at this point, because of the logistics and because I really want to finish at the border. So, I could either hike north or cobble another route together at lower elevation, which would mean roads. There were two issues with heading north: (1) I haven’t been hiking with any folks around me consistently enough to feel like I have a tight group to hike with, and (2) I didn’t really come out here to feel like I am doing death-defying things on a daily basis.
That reasoning helped make it about as clear as it can be. I’d walk some roads. I used the Great Divide Mountain bike route as a starting point and pieced together a modified version of that route that I would take up to Steamboat Springs. That would get me to Steamboat, and then I would figure it out from there. Steamboat is the last trail town in Colorado, or last town close to the trail. They got a lot of snow as well, and my understanding is that the 85 miles between there and the first trail town in Wyoming will have a fair bit of snow. I will have to evaluate that when I get there.
So, that is now the new plan. When I started this trail I knew I would have to be flexible. I had no idea how flexible I would have to become! I also didn’t realize the extent to which my risk tolerance would be tested. I know that there are a number of hikers who will slowly push through the snow and conditions on the main CDT route in Colorado. I want to have fun though, and some of that stuff is just too dangerous or painful for my taste. It really is a “hike your own hike” situation!
I spent the rest of the day in Frisco getting ready for this plan. I mailed a box of food to Encampment along with some Wyoming maps. I will leave tomorrow and head to Silverthorne and then towards Kremmling, CO. What a wild ride this is! I just hope that the snow conditions around Steamboat allow me to get back on trail, or at least back on trail to cross into Wyoming on the CDT. We shall see....