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  1. #1

    Default Colorado Thru Hike

    For those that have hiked the CT, Did you Plan/show up to Colorado early before the hike to try to acclimate to the elevation before hiking? few days or week or more?
    From what i have been reading a SOBO late JULY? seems like a good window on an avg. year.
    Thank You in advance for replies or any other info
    Thanks

  2. #2

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    I did the first 200 miles from Waterton west. Came from New Orleans and was hiking 1 hour after plane landed. Had a little loss of appetite, but could have just been from hiking harder than usual.

    I have been at the altitude many times before and it never really bothered me though, FYI.

  3. #3
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Very standard question, and you'll get a lot of varied responses, but my take, having lived in CO for 39 years, and having had a couple of dozen "flatlanders" (no dis intended!) visit over the decades, coming out to hike and backpack, I think you'll be fine doing a SOBO starting right off after you arrive. If you look at the guide, you have roughly your first 80 or so miles before you break out of about 10K altitude (you touch it a couple of times before). You should acclimate reasonable well in your first 5-6 days of relatively low-altitude (6-10K) of hiking.

    Part of the varied responses you might get on here might be from confusion over what "altitude sickness" is. Merely feeling like crap energy and breath-wise is not being altitude sick, it's just because your hiking with less O2 available, and your engine will be running lean. The real and only danger of not spending an extended time acclimating is getting AMS/HAPE/HACE, and all of these conditions, AMS, or "acute mountain sickness" is by far the most common for folks starting up high right off the boat. You'll know if you have AMS, as the symptoms are obvious. Headache and nausea. If you get this, you just descend and rest. Plenty of places in the first 100 miles to do this easily. If you start coughing a lot and can't seem to stop, that might be HAPE (high altitude pulmonary edema), and that is very serious. Thankfully though, extremely rare at "paltry" CO altitudes.

    IMHO, though mid-late July is a very popular time to start, if you can delay to mid August, that will probably reduced your rain and thunderstorm exposure quite a bit.

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    Agree with above.
    Unless you get headaches just seeing a picture of mountains....you will be fine going sobo.

    That said downtown Denver is kind of a happening place and isnt a bad place to spend a day or so . Time it right and take in a ball game.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 02-15-2018 at 15:17.

  5. #5

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    thank you No dust.
    And thank you Colorado Rob, that was my hope to try and reduce the chance of rain and thunderstorms.
    I was thinking the last few days of July, i will think more around the 7th-10th or so of Aug.?
    thanks

  6. #6
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrumbSnatcher View Post
    thank you No dust.
    And thank you Colorado Rob, that was my hope to try and reduce the chance of rain and thunderstorms.
    I was thinking the last few days of July, i will think more around the 7th-10th or so of Aug.?
    thanks
    Yep, later is slightly better. September is golden out here, so you should be into September when you get down to the San Juan's, arguably the best part of the trail.

    One little side note: if you start on Aug 10th, that's Friday, and that means it will be Monday before you get to the heaviest mountain bike parts of the trail, and that's a good thing. Not a huge deal, but if you can time it to avoid the second half of section 2 and all of section 3 on a weekend, that's good. You'll have mountain bikes other places, like lots in section 6, but the terrain there is "safer" for hikers w.r.t. bikers. Section 3 has lots of slick gravellt soil and lots of blind curves. Both my wife and I have had close calls in section 3. Bikers are generally courteous and all, but they do tend to fly around blind corners! Keep you ears sharp...

    Also: I have given a couple dozen ride for folks, mostly from here on WB, from either downtown or a southern light rail train stop to the Waterton trailhead. We're gone a lot, but if you nail down your start date, I might be able to help. All gratis, I enjoy doing this. I don't enjoy doing this enough to make a trip all the way out to DIA though! Miserable and long drive to our airport.

  7. #7

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    last summer we toured the State by car. damn near circled the entire state. Love me some Colorado
    a lot of great places, to many to list! loved the canyon lands out on west I-70 before Grand Junction
    Ouray to Silverton area was Beautiful.

  8. #8

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    thanks MuddyWaters

  9. #9

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    Colorado Rob, if i pull this hike off, i think i will just drive to the Trail/Denver area, That's if i can find some long term parking.
    and then catch a ride to the trail-head area? I don't really live that far away, Lincoln NE.
    and i love road trips.
    Thanks for the heads up on the mountain-bikers, that's why i started a thread, awesome members with all the little things that are great to know
    Thank you Sir!

  10. #10

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    I only managed to get from Waterton to Breckinridge. Hiking at 10K really slowed me down, but that was probably due to the lingering effects of 30 years of tobacco use. My pack was a little on the heavy side too, pretty close to 20 pound base.

    I hit the popular mountain bike section on Labor day weekend. That was really bad timing, spent all day jumping out of the way.

    I'd like to go back and try again. Never got into the real mountains. I think this time I'd head straight for Leadville early August and spend a week doing day hikes in the area to get acclimated.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

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    When I hiked the CT SOBO in 2014, I spent one night in Denver and then started hiking. I had no issues at all (and I do sometimes have issues when I ascend above 10,000 feet very quickly). The increase in elevation going SOBO is quite moderate. That being said, everyone reacts differently. I know someone who reported severe altitude sickness problems in Denver itself but she's not a hiker and visited a mj dispensary so ... I don't really buy that it was altitude sickness.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrumbSnatcher View Post
    Colorado Rob, if i pull this hike off, i think i will just drive to the Trail/Denver area, That's if i can find some long term parking.
    and then catch a ride to the trail-head area? I don't really live that far away, Lincoln NE.
    and i love road trips.
    Thanks for the heads up on the mountain-bikers, that's why i started a thread, awesome members with all the little things that are great to know
    Thank you Sir!
    There was some rumor on here of a storage place (for boats, RVs, and in this case, a car) in Sedalia (or Louviers?) that CT folks could use, I don't recall the storage fee, but I believe it also cam with a ride to/from the trailhead. When I owned a boat (dumb thing to do in CO!), I used a storage place in Louviers, might be the same place.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrumbSnatcher View Post
    For those that have hiked the CT, Did you Plan/show up to Colorado early before the hike to try to acclimate to the elevation before hiking? few days or week or more?
    Twice yes, for a few days. Once no. Doesn't hurt to hang in the Denver scene for a few days at one of several hiking climbing boarding friend's homes. I came in two of those times already in thru-hiking condition. The one time I didn't coming in from near sea level it made a bit of difference but not much since I went SOBO.

  14. #14

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    CrumbSnatcher,

    I hope you can thru hike the Colorado trail this year. It is an amazing trail that as the locals will tell you as you begin to hike along it "You haven't seen the best parts yet". You may, like myself find it hard to believe it because of the spectacular views you have been seeing early on but believe me it does just keep getting better and better. I SOBO last July and loved every minute of it. I live in Western PA and flew from Pittsburgh to Denver and was on trail the same day. Never had any issues with altitude at all on the hike. Some advice I have is hike the Collegiate West, absolute stunning and savor every day on the trail, it will go by fast and before you know it your in Durango.

  15. #15

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    thank you everyone! :-)
    Last edited by CrumbSnatcher; 02-15-2018 at 21:05.

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    Good info. Me and a brother in law are flying into Denver in late July and hiking segments 7, 8, & 9. We are spending two nights in Breck and then hitting the trail.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Ksatterwhite View Post
    Good info. Me and a brother in law are flying into Denver in late July and hiking segments 7, 8, & 9. We are spending two nights in Breck and then hitting the trail.


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    Fireside Inn is a good spot in Breck - hostel and private rooms.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    When I hiked the CT SOBO in 2014, I spent one night in Denver and then started hiking. I had no issues at all (and I do sometimes have issues when I ascend above 10,000 feet very quickly). The increase in elevation going SOBO is quite moderate. That being said, everyone reacts differently. I know someone who reported severe altitude sickness problems in Denver itself but she's not a hiker and visited a mj dispensary so ... I don't really buy that it was altitude sickness.
    My GF and I started our thru hike in 2014. We spent 3 days in Denver thinking we would adjust to the elevation over the next few days. We quickly did the first 6 miles of the CT in about 1.5 hours. When we started to gain elevation and hit 7k feet she looked at me and said "I'm gonna puke and pass out"...she did both. A local came by and said it was classic altitude sickness. We sat there for about 3 hours letting her rest and drinking a lot of water. After that we did another 15 miles.

    In 2016 we slowly adjusted to the altitude by staying in Denver, then Frisco, then finally Leadville. She had 0 problems after we started the CT that year.

    We are from NC so we came from a pretty low altitude.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    Fireside Inn is a good spot in Breck - hostel and private rooms.
    Coffee,
    I looked at Fireside and The Bivvi. I went with The Bivvi.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Ksatterwhite View Post
    Coffee,
    I looked at Fireside and The Bivvi. I went with The Bivvi.


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    I might try the Bivvi this year. If I recall, it's a little further from the center of town. For some reason I have no problem walking hundreds of miles on a thru hike but somehow I really like to avoid lodging that's "far" from the center of towns!

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