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  1. #1

    Default The CT in September - what to expect?

    I'm gonna do this. I just bought a train ticket to Denver to arrive Sept 2.

    I'm guessing my 40* bag isn't going to cut it, especially towards the beginning of Oct in the San Juans. I'll just have to order a 20* bag and be done with it.

    The train arrives in Denver about 8 AM, so I need to decide if I want to head right to the trail and hike 9 miles or spent the night in town and get some sleep first. After 3 days of traveling (over night bus to NYC, then 2 nights on the train), I'll probably be a zombie by the time I arrive. Denver must have a youth hostel to stay at.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  2. #2
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Good luck to you. I am aiming to be in New Mexico on the 2nd. September is a popular time in the Rockies.

    Wayne
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  3. #3
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    You're coming at a perfect time! Well done. Yeah, 20* should do ya, 40* would be chilly. Good chance you'll have a dusting or two in the SJ's, but should be not much concern.

    Living here, I've never had the need for a hostel, but I see there is one on 16th avenue.... you can take the mall ride from Union station on 16th street mall to Broadway, hang a 45 degree left onto 16th avenue, then walk 8 blocks or so to the hostel, $19 for the night. Or just walk the entire way, less than a half an hour, and that mall ride is sloooooooowwww.

    I'm leaving on September 1, or I'd offer a ride from the Littleton Light rail to the trailhead, or maybe you have something arranged. If you're lacking a local ride, you can go back to Union Station, take light rail line C south to Littleton Mineral station and call a taxi or Uber from there to the trailhead. Someone one time mentioned either $25 or $35 for that ride in a taxi, uber would be cheaper.

    I actually figured out a way one can take a bus from the Littleton Mineral park and ride to a Highlands Ranch bus stop, then walk 6.5 miles to the trailhead.... yeah, who wants to walk an extra 6.5 miles! But if anyone actually does, holler, I'll post details. The walk goes through Chatfield Lake State Park. About 2.5 miles into this walk is a campground; a late-Denver arrival (not your case) could do this, camp at chatfield, finish 4 miles the next morning to the trailhead.

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    Great...not sure if your true to your trail/forum name....if so maybe I'll see ya out there. Stating the loop sept 19 @ Twin lakes. Have a blast...wish I could do a CT thru....one day.......personally I'd probably just take it easy for the arrival day....start in the morning....with that said its a holiday weekend...I ordered an EE 20* quilt but lead times are way out. Every Monday at 1:00 central time they have an online garage sale I've been watching but you gotta be quick as I've missed a few decent deals on seconds or returned items.


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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post

    I actually figured out a way one can take a bus from the Littleton Mineral park and ride to a Highlands Ranch bus stop, then walk 6.5 miles to the trailhead.... yeah, who wants to walk an extra 6.5 miles! But if anyone actually does, holler, I'll post details. The walk goes through Chatfield Lake State Park. About 2.5 miles into this walk is a campground; a late-Denver arrival (not your case) could do this, camp at chatfield, finish 4 miles the next morning to the trailhead.
    Rob, I haven't figured out the last leg to the trail head yet, figured I'd have to call the taxi. But the 2.5 mile walk to the campground sounds like it has potentual and a chance to stretch my legs a little before doing the big miles. So, if you could supply details that would be good and might help others. Thanks.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  6. #6
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Rob, I haven't figured out the last leg to the trail head yet, figured I'd have to call the taxi. But the 2.5 mile walk to the campground sounds like it has potentual and a chance to stretch my legs a little before doing the big miles. So, if you could supply details that would be good and might help others. Thanks.
    Ok, I will do so. sometime in the next couple days, I'll walk a confusing part of this route to make sure I get it right (I live very close). the attached pic shows the walking route; basically you take lightrail to Littleton Mineral station (from downtown union station, where your train arrives). From the LM lightrail station, you take a short bus ride to the bus stop at the upper right of the pic. From there, you walk the yellow line for 6.5 miles to the CT trailhead in the lower left corner. About 2.5 miles into this 6.5 mile walk is the Chatfield SP campground, so if you go this route, you'd have about 4 miles the next morning to Waterton Canyon.

    Just to the left of the CT trailhead (on the pic) is where I worked for 30 years (Lockheed Martin).... these are my stomping grounds (and my lunchtime running grounds).

    Warning: the Chatfield SP CG is $20/night! the same price as that Denver Hostel. You would need to reserve the CG as well; even on weekdays, the CG fills up in the summer, perhaps even in September. There really is no other place to camp (for free) along this route legally. One could stealth perhaps in the woods early in the walking route, but I do not remember any handy flat, dry places. Most of these woods are kinda wet; plum creek flows through here and it's kinda spread out in multiple flows. There are 2-3 bridges along the trail that cross plum creek; your feet stay perfectly dry.

    The red dotted line in the upper right is a possible shortcut from a different bus stop; it does cut through a retail establishment, a landscape material store.There might be a fence involved; I need to check it out. It might cut out nearly a mile if it works.

    I'll make sure to nail all this down soon and I'll post on a separate thread.
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  7. #7

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    Thanks Rob, I may do this option.

    I'd probably sleep better in my tent then in a hostel bunk room, provided there aren't any loud car campers near-by. Plus they have showers at the campground, which would have been one of the main reasons for staying at the hostel and finally, I could get a much earlier start out of the campground, despite having to walk a little farther that first day. Plus I'd save the cost of a taxi ride, spending it instead at the campground.

    I just downloaded a map which shows the bike/hike trails for the area onto my phone and the route will be easy enough to find with that.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  8. #8
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Thanks Rob, I may do this option.

    I'd probably sleep better in my tent then in a hostel bunk room, provided there aren't any loud car campers near-by. Plus they have showers at the campground, which would have been one of the main reasons for staying at the hostel and finally, I could get a much earlier start out of the campground, despite having to walk a little farther that first day. Plus I'd save the cost of a taxi ride, spending it instead at the campground.

    I just downloaded a map which shows the bike/hike trails for the area onto my phone and the route will be easy enough to find with that.
    I understand. If I were coming from out of town, I'd give this route a shot. It will be a pleasant walk from the bus stop to CSP campground, then in the morning, to the trailhead.

    Not sure if your bike map will show this weird little route, particularly the first 1.5 miles or so. It might.

    Anyway, I'll provide google earth pics of the tricky spots. Let me walk this part Sunday or Monday, I've done it numerous times but at 60, memories fade! Then I'll open a thread and give nitty gritty details.

  9. #9

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    i can drive you from union station (downtown) to the trailhead if needed. I live close to downtown, no big deal.
    just have to be at work by 4ishpm on friday.
    send me a pm as we get closer to sept.

  10. #10
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Thanks Rob, I may do this option.
    After Hikeandbike's offer, do you still want to see the details on this route? I think I'll post them anyway, just in case someone else does. I can finally get over there today to check out some details that are vague in my failing memory.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    After Hikeandbike's offer, do you still want to see the details on this route? I think I'll post them anyway, just in case someone else does. I can finally get over there today to check out some details that are vague in my failing memory.
    I'm still thinking about this. I think I want to spend the night at the campground before heading out but I still need to make reservations there, which I guess I'd better do soon. Does the bus travel farther south along Sana Fe Drive to get closer to the park? I need to see which side of the lake the campsites are located on.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  12. #12
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    I'm still thinking about this. I think I want to spend the night at the campground before heading out but I still need to make reservations there, which I guess I'd better do soon. Does the bus travel farther south along Sana Fe Drive to get closer to the park? I need to see which side of the lake the campsites are located on.
    Look in post 6, the pic I attached. Yes, there is a bus stop down where the red dots (my proposed shortcut) come out to Santa Fe. the question in my mind, and what I would need to verify is if you can walk along that red-dot shortcut path, or if there is a fence or some other obstruction making this impossible. I know the yellow line works, I just don't know if the red-dot shortcut works.

    I show the campground on the pic, it is right along the best walking route to the CT trailhead. I put the red dot right at what I remember to be the check-in kiosk.

  13. #13

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    Okay, the bus must stop at West Highlands Ranch Rd. If the short cut doesn't work, looks to me I'd have to walk up N Dumont Way a short distance to connect to the High Land bike path, which has an official RR crossing point. Not quite as direct, but still a short walk.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  14. #14
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    So, I finally tried this shortcut last night (sorry for the delay), and there is a way to get into Chatfield from the closer bus stop at Highlands Ranch parkway, but it is so convoluted, and it goes north a bit before west, so it probably only saves a half mile. I won't even bother to try to describe it. The problem is a bunch of fences along the back of some businesses that block easy access.

    I suggest that if you still want to do this overnight at the Chatfield SP campground, you follow my original suggestion/map in my post #6 (ignoring the red-dot "shortcut"). You get off the bus at Town Center drive and follow the yellow line path. I'll describe this in complete detail in a separate thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    So, I finally tried this shortcut last night (sorry for the delay), and there is a way to get into Chatfield from the closer bus stop at Highlands Ranch parkway, but it is so convoluted, and it goes north a bit before west, so it probably only saves a half mile. I won't even bother to try to describe it. The problem is a bunch of fences along the back of some businesses that block easy access.

    I suggest that if you still want to do this overnight at the Chatfield SP campground, you follow my original suggestion/map in my post #6 (ignoring the red-dot "shortcut"). You get off the bus at Town Center drive and follow the yellow line path. I'll describe this in complete detail in a separate thread.
    All I can say is Uber!!! Sounds much easier!!


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    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by saltysack View Post
    All I can say is Uber!!! Sounds much easier!!
    It absolutely is! Still, I'll post this alternate walking plan, because it works and might be fun for some.

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    Thought I'd add to this thread. I'm planning to hike the CW south to north starting Sept 10th. My hiking buddy in CO mentioned that the Collegiates got 2 ft a couple weeks back, it looks like that is mostly melted. I'm fine with snow as long as I can still walk. In any case, any tips on what to bring this Fall as compared to what is typically brought during the summer? I've got a Marmot Plasma 15 bag that should keep me relatively warm at night - I'm more wondering about hiking during the day. I was thinking light thermals under running shorts, and just having multiple layers to play with depending on temp.

    My bag is heavy right now with a down parka, lightweight capilene long sleeve, midweight merino long sleeve, and an ancient monster of a half zip wool sweater. Also bringing full rain gear. Ouch my back. Ouch my Chicago lungs. But can't wait to get back up there.

  18. #18

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    I made it to Breckenridge today, day seven. I hiked from the Chatfield SP to the trail head which added about six miles so only got 8.8 CT trail miles in on day one.

    I'm still finding it hard to breath at 10000 feet after a week out here. I have to stop every 20 steps going up very modest uphill which look almost flat.

    It's been great weather so far. Hot in the sun and. Very very cold in the morning. The views are out standing.

    I have mixed feelings about the mountain bikers. You have to listen very carefully for them as they can suddenly appear and run you over.

    I'm taking a zero here at the hostel to catch my breath and rest my knees. I'm having my doubts about how much farther I'm willing to go. Maybe Lewisville

  19. #19

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    My new 20 down bag with liner was marginal last night at 10000 feet. It gets really cold at night. It's been really hot in the sun even though the air temp is mild. Going up hill is very slow in the thin air. Good luck.

  20. #20

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    A friendly bus driver at the Mineral station bus area (across the highway) took me close to the park entrance but it was maybe a 1/2 walk down the highway where he could drop me off. (But he didn't charge me for the ride) unfortunately, the park entrance was like six miles from the camping area in the hot sun. I was however able to hitch a ride the rest of the way in.

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