TL;DR Colorado Trail Thruhike

For future thruhikers, here’s the Too Long; Didn’t Read version of my Colorado Trail thruhike. Your mileage, pun absolutely intended, may vary.

Start: 15 August 2015
Finish: 19 September 2015
Total Time: 36 days (5 weeks, 1 day)
Total Mileage: 484.6 miles
Average Daily Mileage Overall: 13.5 miles/day

Zero Days: 3 (one in Frisco, two in Salida)
Average Daily Mileage, without Zero Days: 14.7 miles/day

Nero1 Days: 5
Average Daily Mileage, without Zeros or Neros: 16.1 miles/day (dat foot tho)

Average Daily Mileage of First Six Full Hiking Days: 16.3 miles/day
Average Daily Mileage of Last Six Full Hiking Days: 19.8 miles/day (improvement!

Highest Mileage in a Day: 24.5
Lowest Mileage in a Day, without Zeros or Neros: 8.1 (rassum frassum foot)

Resupply Towns: Frisco, Twin Lakes, Salida, Lake City
Resupply Strategy: Friends + Buy-as-you-go Combo
Favorite Resupply Town: Salida, by a hair, given the hot springs and slightly cheaper resupply.
Least Favorite Resupply Town: Frisco, by a hair. It’s pretty normal, and the others were not.
Favorite Thing to Resupply: Shot Bloks, Honey Stingers, or Snickers
Least Favorite Thing to Resupply: Literally anything else. Food was a chore for me.

Favorite Piece of Gear: Smartwool NTS Mid 250 Zip Top – I am, with rare exception, always cold, but this was warm enough for cool mornings/evenings. Afternoons found me mostly hiking in my sportsbra.
Least Favorite Piece of Gear: Anker Astro E1 5200 mAh External Battery – 5200 mAh is entirely too small to go six to seven days between towns on a Galaxy S4 while still expecting to blog. I should’ve stuck with my initial instinct, giving me a capacity twice that.

Notable Wildlife Sightings: 5 moose, 1 maybe-bear, innumerable marmots, pikas, and ever-screeching squirrels
Guns Seen: 1 (not mine – I didn’t carry and never felt the need to)
Number of Days I Went Without Seeing People: 0. It’s not an abandoned trail by any means.
Common Dinner: Sadness + some frankensteined amalgamation of snacks. Food was a chore.
Break Philosophy: I was slow, so I hated taking breaks. HATED IT. I took micro-breaks all the time on uphills, though, and tried to shove some form of food into my face every couple of hours. While I was hiking with other people, it was a lot easier to chill out, sit down, and have a meal-type-thing while our stuff dried.

Biggest Joy: Physically, hiking San Luis. Mentally, the sense of accomplishment, even if it took 28 days to feel it.
Biggest Pain: Physically, my left foot got plantar fasciitis or had an arch collapse or something. Mentally, being conscious of being slow, yet somehow being still unable to breathe on the uphills.

Would You Recommend the Colorado Trail?: Unequivocally. If you have six weeks and an interest, get on it.
Would You Recommend the Colorado Trail as a Starting Trail?: Yep. It was my first long trail, and I lived. Plus, I learned so much – I have so much more experience to take into consideration when preparing for long(er) trails in the future.

So that’s the quick of it. Click here to start reading the long of it.

Other questions? Comment, and I’ll answer. 

[1] Nero, while sometimes defined as less than 10 miles in a day, is here defined as a half day or less spent hiking. For me, this meant Day Seven (7.1 into Frisco), Day Thirteen (7 into Twin Lakes), Day Twenty (8.6 into Salida), Day Twenty-Nine (5 into Lake City), and Day Thirty (8.7 into Yurt-ville). I’ve chosen not to include Day Eighteen (8.1) and Day Nineteen (9.1) in this count, as my foot was angry and I took all day to make those miles.

3 thoughts on “TL;DR Colorado Trail Thruhike

  1. carrot quinn says:

    Hi, we met on the CT/CDT! Dood you’re an awesome writer! Trail journals that aren’t boring are very rare. This one is great! Sorry about the foot pain. 😦 I’m stoked to have found your blog, and I look forward to following along on the PCT.



    • Brown Girl says:

      Hey Carrot! Glad you found me, and glad you liked the blog! Reading about your PCT hikes definitely got me through last winter, and I’m looking forward to reading about your CDT hike as well!

      I’m weight training and working on fixing my stride to help with the foot pain – it’s weird, learning to walk differently, but it seems to be working so far. Fingers crossed…

      Thanks for the follow! I’ll mosey down to your blog to more formally follow you as well. 🙂


      • carrot quinn says:

        I hope your foot does heal. Foot problems are such a thing on the long trails. I’m glad to hear yours is doing better. I hope it gives you minimal problems on the PCT! My CDT blog is kind of whatever… I had giardia and was bummed so my daily posts actually aren’t that great. Wahn wah. But yay having adventures and writing about it!! Keep up the good work 🌈


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