• Brandon A. Kelone

Colorado Trail: Day 5

I like knowing that I have finally found a home on the trail. The routine of being out here took a few days, but I’m there now. I’m at that point where I realize how hard it’s going to be to finally go home when this is all said and done. I have fallen in love with the beauty of this state, the forests, the flowers, the rivers, the lakes, the trail, and everything in between. 


After struggling to get a hitch back to trail last night, I finally lucked out when a guy let me ride in the back of his truck to Little Molas Lake. He even offered me weed, but I had to turn it down on account of the fact that I don’t smoke anymore, but lord knows that there was a time in my past when I definitely would have accepted. I mention that only to illustrate how cool the people of Colorado have been to me as a whole. I really enjoyed my time in Sliverton, and if time were no matter out here and I could stay forever, I likely would have spent the night there, but I want to make sure that I have time to get through the trail before I have to be back at work. Also, doing big miles early on will hopefully allow me some freedom with my timeline later in the trail. 


This morning I awoke to a beautiful view of Little Molas Lake, and was happy to have fresh fruit from town for breakfast. I had forgotten how good a fresh orange can be until sunrise today. 


I was fairly quick to get back to trail but became a bit distracted when I saw that the trail skirts right by Big Molas Lake, and I made the choice to detour for an early morning swim. That ended up being one of the highlights of my day. The water was a bit cold, but I warmed up to it quickly and genuinely feel like that was one of the highlights of my trip so far. From the lake the trail dropped into aspen country and down to the Anamas River where I had lunch, worked out for a bit using a bridge for pull-ups and leg lifts, and started my climb from 9,000 feet to almost 13,000 feet. A hiker whom I met on the way down to the Anamas remarked that I’ll have a “bitch of a climb” in the afternoon, and she wasn’t kidding. But I like climbing and overall I quite enjoyed it. Along the way I met three hikers who had two llamas with them, and we talked for a bit. I also met gold prospectors who had five or six mules between them. They told me that there was a pond right around the corner, but that I might not want to go swimming there because a moose tends to hang around the area, and right as we arrived at the pond together, there actually was a moose there. He scurried off soon after he saw the mules though, so I stopped for another swim, but not for long because that water was literally painfully cold. That was by far the coldest water I've been in so far along this trail; any colder and it would have frozen over. 


I had another snack there beside the moose-pond and watched monsoon clouds start to build before continuing up the climb and above tree line. Right as I broke the timberline the monsoon storms hit and it rained pretty hard for about 45 minutes, but then cleared to what has probably been my favorite view along the Colorado Trail so far. In fact I realized right at the top of that climb that where I was standing was literally the same view as the cover of the Colorado Trail Guide Book that I have back home. I can see why they used that place for their shot. It was breathtaking in every sense of the word. 


From there the trail stayed high for the rest of the day. I made dinner beside a creek, and hiked another mile with it in my backpack rehydrating before stoping once the rains came again to eat. Ultimately the afternoon/evening was astonishingly beautiful, but largely uneventful. It rained off and on but the miles passed easy without any heavy climbs or descents. Right at sunset the clouds broke for a beautiful view to the west, but I continued on because I want to be sure that I can be at the road in time to catch the 12:30 shuttle to Lake City in two days. From where I am right now it’s 34 miles, so pending that weather isn’t too bad tomorrow (which it could be), I should be able to get 25 or more miles and I'll only have to get 5-10 miles before noon in two days to get the shuttle. I’m planning to spend a day or so in Lake City for a resupply, to recharge my phone, and to go through pictures that I've taken so far so that it’s not completely overwhelming to organize them when I get back home. Oh and I learned today that they have an organic store in Lake City. I cannot tell you how excited I am for that!


Need to get to sleep, so I’m ending it here. Be well, and I'll write again soon. 


With love, 


Wormwood.