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    Brave Squirrel Returns With Friends

    Many of your have chatted with Pam Pole on the phone, or read about her first backpacking trip she took last summer. Well she is back this summer and she brought some friends.

    Each paragraph below is the experience of one of the five friends who took on the last 4 segments of the Colorado Trail.

    Photo By : Susie Gruben

    Pam Pole

    Last year my two nights on the Colorado Trail were a test to see if thru-hiking was for me. I was hooked and could not wait for this summer when I would be able to spend a whole week on the trail. A whole week of being able to unwind from “real life” and away from all tech. Our group increased from three last year to five. The days on the trail were challenging and fun and went by quickly with all the laughs we had.  The evenings were the best when I could take off my hiking shoes and put on my P6 Mammoth socks and Crocs. The views and wildflowers were epic, the stars at night indescribable. As I reflect on the week on the trail, I am thankful for what my body and mind were capable of doing, for my encouraging and funny friends that went on this adventure with me and my extra comfy bed that was waiting for me when I got home. 

    Photo By : Kerri Ann Crocker

    Rebecca McNamara

    Whenever I am on the Colorado Trail, I am filled with a peace and calmness that I can’t find anywhere else. The beauty of the trail mixed with the serenity is a perfect remedy to fill my soul with pure bliss. As I slowly complete segments of the Colorado Trail, I feel a sense of accomplishment as I fall further in love with the trail. Another part of segment hiking the Colorado Trail that is intriguing is the fact that each segment is unique in its own way. There are some parts of the trail that are easier and then there are some parts of the trail that are rigorous and demand a lot more energy to complete.

    I was excited to get back on the trail and backpack from Molas Pass to Durango. I was yearning to get back on the trail in the San Juan mountains because the views are spectacular and breathtaking. This was a long trek to complete with a 34 lb backpack. In addition, there was a 20 mile span with little to no water sources so that meant my 34 lb backpack increased to 44 lbs after I added extra weight. The increased weight really loaded me down and made each step harder, yet I persevered and kept going as I tried to block out the pain of the heavy pack. After making it down to Durango, I had a reassurance that I can do hard things and accomplish more than my mind thought my body was capable of. Completing the task with great friends cushioned the hard times and filled the space of time with laughter and love. I am so thankful for the experience on the trail with my dear friends.

    Photo By : Katie Alter

    Katie Alter

    Over the Labor Day weekend I took some time to reminisce about my incredible summer activities. One of the highlights for me was hiking the Colorado Trail with four amazing women. At 55 years old, I was a little nervous about my first time carrying a large pack as we headed off on the last four of the twenty-eight segments. This was my first time carrying supplies and equipment while trekking long distances and the weight was definitely a challenge. Fortunately, however, I had come prepared with Point6 socks that kept my feet in healthy condition. I love the medium weight, mid-ankle socks for the comfort they provided me. I managed to hike from Molas-Pass near Silverton all the way to Durango without one blister! 

    After close to 80 miles, my socks are still looking and performing like they are new. I am sure to wear Point6 socks as I finish the remaining 20 segments I have yet to do.

    Photo By : Susie Gruben

    Susie Gruben

    This summer I completed my second week-long Colorado Trail hike. Prior to these two trips, I haven't considered myself a thru hiker. In the 1990s when I was in my twenties, I started backpacking with friends in college in national parks and forests. Then, when I moved to Colorado after college, I continued to backpack with friends on weekends and on trips to various places. Most of the backpacking trips I went on were destination bound to a mountain lake or peak which was rewarded by making it to the destination. Thru hiking is a totally different experience. The days are long and arduous especially with a heavy pack. Unfortunately, my pack this year still weighed 30-35 pounds, because I insist on carrying heavier gear and some comforts of home like a book, Crocs, extra food, a sleeping bag, three pairs of extra socks and a change of clothes. Seriously, every ounce counts, and I could feel those ounces and accumulated pounds on every mile. One thru hiker we met on the trail who was finishing the CT and had previously done the AT (Appalachian Trail) said her secret to keeping her pack at twenty pounds was that she doesn't wear or bring underwear (as well as other comforts). Being a thru hiker means that you go without while hiking long miles as quickly as possible. I vowed to myself upon finishing this year's trip that if I hike more of the Colorado Trail in years to come that I will succumb to a thru hikers mentality to carry less and go without my comfort items. Although I learned this lesson, I appreciated my time on the trail this year with good friends as well as magnificent wild flowers and scenery along the way. I was motivated to complete the segments this year despite the physical challenge as a way to connect with friends and nature away from the busyness of my everyday life being a mom, wife, and teacher. It was worth the long days and miles to be on an adventure. 

    Photo By : Kerri Ann Crocker

    Kerri Ann Crocker

    As we shouldered our packs at Molas Pass to begin our 73 mile journey, I contemplated the contents of my pack. Did I pack enough food? How cold would the nights be?  Would my wool socks and puffy jacket be enough? Would my feet stay dry and blister free? These were the worries I had for the week and as the miles passed, so did these worries. My mind drifted to the past, the future and then back to the present. What does one think about while on the trail? Mostly, I thought about my family and friends. I thought about how I wished all those I love could experience this with me. My thoughts were full, not of the wonderful beauty all around me, but of the beauty in the people I traveled with, here on this trail and back home in my life.