Day 2 – Saturday July 4th, 2015
Start Time: 07:20 End Time: 17:30
Miles Hiked: 12.9 Total Miles: 29.5
CT Sections: 1-16.6 > 3-1.2
Today we woke up early to hike in the cool morning air. Water was easy to collect from the South Platte River at the bottom of the hill, so we spent 20 minutes squeezing water through our Sawyer filter into our hydration bladders and bottles with the understanding that water would be unavailable for nearly 13 miles. Section 2 of the Colorado Trail passes through a 12,000 acre area burned by the Buffalo Creek Fire in 1996. Damage from the fire makes this 11.5 mile section hot and dry as there are very few surviving trees or shady areas.
We stopped for lunch under a small tree with a log to sit on, and were greeted by fuzzy, colorful caterpillars that literally fell from the branches above. We were grateful for the shade and opportunity to cool down. Unlike yesterday, our feet were starting to hurt. Emmy had blisters on each of her arches and I had a small one growing on my pinky toe. I cut a couple rings of moleskin for Emmy, and wrapped my toe in athletic tape to hopefully alleviate some of the pain and reduce blister growth.
By the end of section 2, we were getting low on water, but were unsure how much remained since our hydration bladders were stuffed under a layer of clothes and random gear in our backpacks. We passed near a ranger station with water available from a spigot, but decided to continue as the station was a short distance off trail and our fierce no-backtracking policy clearly prevented this. As we hiked on, Emmy’s foot pain greatly increased so we took the first decent campsite available at 1.2 miles within section 3. Our water reserves had now run dry, so I hiked a quarter mile up the trail from camp and collected 3 liters of water from a half inch deep trickle that crossed the trail like a crack through a concrete sidewalk.
Dinner was a homemade couscous dish called “Pizza in a Pot” (courtesy of trailcooking.com) that only required shelf-stable pepperoni and 1 cup of boiling water (we chose to omit the string cheese), and made for a delicious end-of-day meal. Before falling asleep we nursed our swollen feet and laughed through a chapter of “A Walk in the Woods” in which Bill Bryson comically describes his experiences on the Appalachian Trail and paranoiac fear of bears.