After a couple of weeks working on documents with only short hikes we decided it was time to get out for some special time on the trail.
We live in the mountains near Denver and the Colorado trail (CT) passes within a short drive of our home. Last year we horse packed and hiked the CT doing a couple of the first sections from our home with the horses as training. We decided it would be good to go back and hike these sections.
Today we decided to do the 11 mile CT segment 2, using 2 cars, so that we could hike it in one direction. The forecast was for a nice day but with a maximum temperature in the 40s, it is still winter after all.
We hit the trail about 10 after dropping the cars and started walking in beautiful warm sunshine. Colorado winters are just great on days like this. Our 11 year old Australian Shepherd, Baxter was with us and very excited to be out on the trail.
We were using this hike as a map reading exercise as we had good topo maps of the CT. Uyetsga is worried about her map reading skills for the CDT so getting some practice in our own backyard seemed like a good idea.
We pulled out the map book and I opened it on the correct page and handed it to Jelly Bean. Her first task was to find us. After she spun the book several times, looked at the wrong side, checked her compass and still could not find where we were standing I thought to myself we need a lot of practice if we wanted to stay found. I started pointing out the landmarks around us that would help her find us on the map, still no closer. I then pointed out the same landmarks on the map and we were found!
We stopped several times in the next hour and did some map reading and generally stayed found. We hit the trees and followed the trail and got to a point where the trail crossed the road. I said that I didn’t think we are on the right trail but Jelly Bean was adamant that we were. I asked her to look at the map and she said she was sure this was the trail and the map must be wrong. I did not convince her that the trail was below the road but I said I was going this way and she grudgingly followed mumbling under her breath. After this the map reading lessons were quietly forgotten till the next hike.
There was a small amount of snow still on the trail but most of it was clear. We donned our microspikes a couple of times on the shaded downhill trails but none of it was a problem. Lunch was spent in the sun with a great lookout over the Platte river. Most of the afternoon was spent winding our way down to the Platte on snow covered and some times ice covered trails.
We made it back to the car at about 3pm with a sore old dog but with all of us feeling good from a very nice days’ hiking.