Hey, Spike! chats with a Colorado Trail hiker
July 12, 2013
Take a left, take a right, take a break, or take a hike — a long one.
Robert Budinski is doing just that, walking the Colorado Trail, almost 500 miles' worth.
Starting July 1 at Waterton Canyon, south of Denver, Robert is trekking 485 miles and will end up at Durango in the southwest corner of the state. The trail runs through Summit County.
"I'm not really sure when I will complete the hike, not trying to break any speed records and more interested in what happens on the trail," Robert writes during a Frisco stop. "I'm more limited by how much food I can carry at a time, or how many monsoon storms are encountered."
"I am taking several side trips to climb various 14,000 foot peaks and explore some other areas near the trail," says the Washington state-based registered nurse.
Robert has friends in Frisco: Holly Erlichman, the senior vice president of global strategic services at Pontoon who is working out of her Frisco condo, and emergency room nurse Jim Warlick, who's looking for work here. Robert just might return to The Summit to continue his nursing career.
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Robert's Colorado Trail experience began thusly:
"I did forgo my first re-supply on Kenosha Pass and hike to Frisco in six days from Waterton Canyon," says Robert, admitting he "was inspired by some major gear failures, most notably my inflatable sleeping pad failed and sleeping on the ground was not much to look forward to at the end of the day."
"During the first week, obtaining water was an issue — that is, one had to be careful not to go too far with out filling up, as the next resource was often miles away," says Robert.
"I was originally thinking 10 miles a day would be a good average, but have nearly doubled that, mostly due to needing to replace and repair some gear that failed the first part of the hike and, frankly, not finding really groovy places to hang out," he adds.
Robert says he met many other hikers attempting the entire hike to Durango, though several have already dropped out, some due to injuries, others for lack of inspiration.
"I expect to see some of them again, depending on layover day schedules and paces," he notes.
Another "meeting" came when he spent "a few minutes very close to a large bear on Kenosha Pass the other day; glad the bear was content to focus on eating ants and ignore me."
This is not Robert's first hiking rodeo: He's spent months on the Pacific Crest Trail, months in Alaska, and South America.
"Trail users experience six wilderness areas and eight mountain ranges topping out at 13,271 feet, just below Coney Summit at 13,334 feet. The average elevation is over 10,000 feet and it rises and falls dramatically. Users traveling from Denver to Durango will climb 89,354 feet. Trail enthusiasts include hikers, horseback riders and mountain bikers, many of whom report that they love the trail," according to the Colorado Trail Foundation website.
"A thru-hike generally takes 4-6 weeks to complete. Some people complete the trail by 'segment travel' over the course of several seasons. It is estimated that 150 people complete the CT each year, with thousands of people hiking, bicycling or horseback riding portions of it."
The link: http://www.coloradotrail.org
In 1973, it was Bill Lucas, the US Forest Service's Rocky Mountain regional forester, and Merrill Hastings of Colorado Magazine, who developed the idea of a "Rocky Mountain Trail" between Denver and Durango.
The real trail work was led by Gudy Gaskill, chairing the Colorado Mountain Club's Huts and Trails Committee, and got a strong push from Ed Quillen (now deceased) in his "Colorado Trail has been all but forgotten" story published in December 1984, in Empire Magazine of the Sunday Denver Post.
Land Title Guarantee Co. hosted a warm summer soiree at Bobby Kato's Island Grill at the Frisco Bay Marina this week.
A colorful highlight was Brooke Roberts, director of sales and marketing at Land Title.
Others attending were Dee Anna Herwig, Randy Gibbons, Carol Greene, Debbie Neely, Amy Pombo, Butch Elich, Thomas Davidson, Blake Davis, Amy Mastin, Ken Traush, Terry Novak, Eddie Bowers, Debbie Stites, Stacey Sheldon, Jeri Heminghous, Julie Fowles, Jen Cleary, Jon Clark, Kim Stevenson, Dan Pins, and Patty Henry.
Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed "Spike," a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, former Climax miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years. Email your social info to firstname.lastname@example.org
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