Our intrepid hiker, Elaine Mahoney, continues her incredible progress along the Colorado Trail. Of the 488+ rugged miles through the backcountry and across the Continental Divide, Elaine has solo hiked more that 200. She is officially three weeks into the hike, having started at Waterton Canyon, a short bit from Denver on the 13th of July.
We’re really excited about the buzz that this special is generating for Elaine. We’ve had some great reach outs from local magazines, news sources, national magazines, bloggers and of course our amazing 40,000 strong specialty retail store user community. You may in fact, be reading this story as a syndicated special from your favorite retailer — and if so, we are happy to have you here! By the way, we help you retailer connect with some of the best brands in the business to pre-order, order, review inventory and create visual collections for their stores — you can learn more about iVendix wholesale B2B on this site.
Elaine is going to start sharing some gear stories with us next week, so check back for that, but today’s post is all about the hike.
If you’ve not been to Colorado before, you may not know about the Leadville 100. Leadville is a high mountain town with an important history in mining, and mountaineering. When you drive from Denver to Aspen, the locals love to take Independence Pass as an alternative to I-70. Readers of Trip Adviser call it the One of the Most Dangerous Passes. It’s winding, meandering, aspen-tree filled tiny-tiny road is a both a thrill and a short cut to Aspen. It’s so small that there’s a length limit on it and every few days, there’s an exciting ‘backing down’ show for all to see for those thrill seekers with trailers, that don’t think the length limit applies to them. P.S. don’t do it…it really is dangerous and it blocks the pass for a while!
During the summer, there’s another thrill seeking event that happens at the pass and that is the Leadville 100 foot and bicycle race. Our friends at Colorado Outward Bound School help sponsor the race. Go COBS. It is billed as:
“The legendary “Race Across The Sky” 100-mile run is where it all started back in 1983. This is it. The race where legends are created and limits are tested. One hundred miles of extreme Colorado Rockies terrain — from elevations of 9,200 to 12,600 feet. You will give the mountain respect, and earn respect from all.”
You have a few more weeks to train 🙂 so get out there.
As Elaine continues her own “Race Across the Sky” we catch up with her.
“Next day was up and over a high ridge then down to a valley w/ meadow where I saw a moose munching water plants in a beaver pond. Beaver lodge was large with obvious beaver downed trees about. It was a beautiful day yesterday and today. Up and around huge mountains from one environment to another another while staying very high 12,000 ft or more all day today. Will exit CW03 tomorrow. Today was from Cottonwood Pass to Tincup. Did not make the miles so camped and will rise early to get out of this circ and to the next CW04. Meeting super nice people a pleasure. Later must eat now.
Hello again. No cell service but will make an effort to catch up since Twin Lakes near Leadville. Hope Pass was everything I read about. Yes I hope I never have to do that again!! Steep switchback climb out of a lovely forest. When I broke out for first view of trail and where it would go I was astonished. How could I possibly get up there? Well you just do it. I kept ok pace for about 45 min then had to result to the slow dog noodle. Narrow rocky steep and exposed. OMG there were young people running up one side and down the other. This is apparently a favorite training trail air the big Leadville 100 and other insane competitions. I struggled but got up there as some clouds moved in. Lots of hurrahs at top but I started down the other side quickly. Wasn’t the quick descent as the rock was loose and as the rain moved in got pretty treacherous. Made it down far enough to put on my pack cover and jacket. Cleared up for the next hour or so then got hailed on and more rain. Took refuge in a lovely aspen grove and 15 min later on my way again. I wanted to get close to the next days climb which was Lake Ann Pass. Well LAP was another hell of a climb. But Lake Ann was beautiful so I paused there to dry out my tent for a bit. That was not the summit however. Really I now have to go up there?? The poor dogs were struggling. And by the way that hike is not recommended for stock animals. Well that is obvious when there is hardly enough room for human feet. Whoo Nellie it seemed worse but the other side down was magnificent with huge long switchbacks. At least the fall down would be some soil and plant life not all sharp shards of rock. Got down and was tired but no water or campsite for a few more miles. Rested well then up early to begin again.”
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