Bikepacking the Colorado Trail

Bikepacking the Colorado Trail

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.”

-John Muir

There’s something very exciting about turning on your out of office reply that signifies the beginning of your time away from every-day life. Whether you’re jumping on an airplane to fly somewhere half-way around the globe or keeping it local in your own state with a stay-cation, it’s important to take time away from the daily grind and put yourself in new places to experience the out of ordinary.

For some, it may sound crazy to call a 539 mile journey across multiple ranges of high altitude mountains an actual vacation, but for Donna and I, it was just about the best way we could have ever imagined spending our hard earned time off together.

It was early March when we decided that we were going to really go for it. Neither of us had spent any considerable time actually bikepacking in our days of cycling, but that didn’t matter; the Colorado Trail beckoned. With a profound level of mountain biking experience, countless camping trips, and plenty of backcountry travel under our belts, we felt that we could blend our skills and actually make our dream become reality.

In the beginning, the logistics of preparing for our journey seemed far more challenging than crossing over the numerous 11 and 12,000ft mountain passes we’d inevitably encounter. The complexities of carrying enough food between resupply points, obtaining all of the correct pieces of gear in a timely manner, and training for the biggest ride of our lives seemed overwhelming to say the very least. Traveling by bike is pretty simple though; you simply strap the things you need to survive to your bike, swing a leg over the top tube, and pedal, a lot.

Before our trip, we read many first-hand experiences from others that had already completed the CT by bike. Having these accounts on what has worked for some and not for others began to ease our pre-trip woes and allowed us to focus on making more calculated decisions about what we needed to carry along for our journey. Beta on how to pack, where to resupply, etc. was all readily available with the click of a button. For food we needed something light-weight, easy to prepare, compact in size and calorie dense. Good To-Go's dehydrated meals were an ideal choice—the pieces of the puzzle were beginning to assemble.

After three months of collecting new pieces of gear and supplies for our trip, we packed our frame, handlebar, and seat bags, loaded our bikes into the truck and headed south-west to Durango. On July 16th we began pedaling and pushing our way back towards our home back in Golden with nothing to do but enjoy the ride. All of the pre-trip stresses of preparation and unknowns swiftly melted away and were replaced with expansive alpine views, wide-open meadows brimming with wildflowers, and enjoying what we had come here to do; experience the out of ordinary together for the next two weeks.

Photos and story by Eric Hockman

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