Monday 7 May 2012

Colorado Trail 2011 - Part 2, Frisco to Buena Vista

The section from Frisco to Buena Vista is a taste of what's to come on the CT. Much less forrest with wide open alpine vistas from the summits. Those vistas have to be earned and it starts with a quick hop-over to Copper Mountain ski resort. Unfortunately that quick hop-over Tenmile Range (3900m) is brutal with a 950m climb to its ridge. Altitude makes these climbs much harder. Slow and steady is the key.

But with scenery this good who cares about the climbs?

Once on the ridge its payback time with stunning views in all directions. Then... lose ALL that 950m down to Copper Mountain Ski Resort. Before...

...climbing right back up again! First to Searle Pass and then...

...Kokomo Pass. Here I met a lady by the trail name of Fireweed who was also hiking the CT. We chatted briefly before going our separate ways. I didn't see her again on the hike but looking at her journal I see she finished.

Hale Camp was built by the the US army in 1942 to train solders in mountaineering and cold weather survival. Not much remains now except this long line of concrete huts.

The Mt. Massive Wilderness lived up to its name, not only in size but also beauty.

My first real thunderstorm caught up with me near Pine Creek. Colorado in August is infamous for its electrical storms and they were my biggest fear about the trail before arrival. As August progressed they became more frequent and they were even more brutal than I had expected. My advice is start hiking at first light and finish by mid afternoon and then sit them out in a sheltered spot. Even following this advice you will get caught in exposed locations and you need to know what to do. Please do your research on lightning safety before hiking the CT.

An early start on the CT was the norm. Getting up early wasn't easy but had its advantages. Today I was heading for the town of Buena Vista. I like to arrive early in trail towns and make full use of the facilities.

The section started as it finished. Beautiful, unspoilt vistas. Buena Vista was a strange place that had a town within a town. The original town is located next to the highway and its here that most of the shops and motels are. A new town has been built down near the river which was deserted, almost a ghost town. Buena Vista has all the facilities that you could want including an outdoor shop (good) and a pizza restaurant (poor). 

Continue to part 3