I got a first look at one of the transition points for the Colorado Trail Segment project. This is where the first segment comes out of the forest and crosses a dirt road to create a trailhead.
Platte River Road north of Deckers and east of Buffalo Creek is a dirt road that spectacularly follows the South Platte River. Fly fisherman can be seen standing in the water in their gaiters every hundred yards for miles. Despite being less than 2 hours from home this was my first time in this part of the state. The area is a gorgeous respite from crazy busy life with towering boulders sitting silent like giant’s play toys strewn haphazardly along the peaceful flowing river.
The second segment starts by crossing a footbridge over the South Platte river then heading left (south).
The entire area is in Pike National Forest so camping is allowed (just not near the water). However, for this leg I learned during my scouting trip / mud run that I cannot leave my vehicle parked overnight back at the initial trailhead. Signs everywhere assured my truck will get towed. So for this first leg, it feels very much like I’ll need to do a same day out-and-back. What that probably looks like in terms of logistics:
Day 0 afternoon. Drive to the trailhead shown above, stash my mountain bike, a fresh bladder of water and some food in the forest. Then either find a campsite (there are several along the river, or find a flat spot in the forest) or drive back to Boulder to sleep.
Day 1. Break camp and head to the Segment 1 trailhead. Early start. 16 mile hike to my bike. Rest. Then bike 16 miles back to the truck. Drive home.
Elevation gain (hiking east-to-west): 2,830 ft
Elevation gain (biking west-to-east): 2,239 ft
The good news is there is a lot of downhill back to the truck on an easy well-groomed dirt road. It will nonetheless be a big physical day, and I’m not currently in shape for such a day, at least not yet. I need to figure out how much time it’ll take to hike 16 miles then bike back – how early do I need to start. Then there’s the food and water I’ll need. I also need to locate and study a topo map. I face a decision whether to get new boots (current pair is a year old and should be broken in but continues to cause blisters) or any other gear.
Prepping and training for Leg 1 will be a great initiation for this project!