CDT July 15-20: Grand Lake to Steamboat Springs, CO

I enjoyed a 25 mile day hike on July 15 inside Rocky Mountain National Park where the official CDT route makes a nice loop up to Flattop Mountain (12250′).  It was on Flattop where I hiked in 1977 with my brother Brian, and my first serious mountain hike at 23 years old. 

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Above: on the summit of Flattop Mtn, reprising my summit pose of 1977.

I had been disappointed at the lack of wildlife sightings since starting the hike in New Mexico 89 days ago.  That changed while descending Flattop.

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Above: Elk in Rocky Mtn. N.P.

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Above: My first sighting of a moose in Big Meadow during the descent from Flattop Mtn.

I did not realize how hard it would be to leave Cindy behind as I embarked on the remainder of my hike to Canada.  I will not see her for over two months. 

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Above: At the cabin in Fraser before going back to the CDT

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Above: Cindy waves goodbye until Glacier National Park and Waterton Park in Canada.

The parting weighed on my as much as the 5 days of food in my pack. Colorado was wearing me out, and I faced another 70 days and 1600 miles of CDT to hike.  I felt weak and alone as I started a long, 3000 foot ascent to Bowen Pass.

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Above: looking toward Bowen Pass.

But I was not alone for long.  Three moose were grazing on the trail, forcing me to politely detour above them in the early morning.

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The moose encounter came after a cow and calf ambled through my camp in a brief, tense moment when I was unsure how forcefully the mother moose would defend the calf. Both moose proceeded without incident while I sat still in my tent.

The biggest challenge of the 76 mile section was a climb to Parkview Mt., the last 12000 foot point on the CDT.  I felt relief to know the landscape would ease up a bit and I would not experience so many stressful miles on my mind and body.  In the interest of time available to write more I will resume those thoughts after I reach my next town stop and zero day in Rawlins, Wyoming.  I hope to rock the trail with bigger miles in Wyoming!

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Above: Approaching Parkview Mountain.

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Above: Karate Kid found me on the summit!

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Above: Sunrise on the Rabbit Ears Range.

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Above: A long but easy road walk toward Rabbit Ears Pass and Steamboat Springs.

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Above: While walking along highways I cannot always be picky about campsites!

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Thanks to Melanie who gave me a ride to Steamboat Springs, and to friend Scott Larson of the Steamboat Springs Chamber of Commerce who drove me back to the trailhead!

4 thoughts on “CDT July 15-20: Grand Lake to Steamboat Springs, CO

  1. Hi Roger
    Glad Cindy could join you for a short time on the trail. She is adventurous, glad you had time together.
    25 miles a day is pretty darn good. The faster you walk the sooner we will see you and what great shape you will be in. Seattle will recruit you for a pinch runner! Pictures are wonderful. Hang in there. Warm regards. Bob/Marian

  2. Beautiful photos Roger. Lina gets married next week and we have all the family coming in for the celebration.
    Lynn is back east visiting family.
    Shelly says hello and glad you are safe.
    Keep the Faith!

  3. Lots of luck and love to you s you are way into the second half of your trek.

  4. I really hope that this trail is more obvious going north than it was for me headed south. Went down the wrong ridge from Parkland. Added another 10 miles getting back to the trail. That was a theme for me most of my hike. Extra 10,30, one time 40 miles cause I was ,once more, lost. Got so I just couldn’t care as long I hit the trail eventually. You’ve got one more big climb up to Big Sandy but it really does get easier. Love the pictures and following your story
    Marmot

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