Crewing the Colorado Trail

This summer my mom and brother hiked the Colorado Trail from Highway 112 (mile 302.9) to Durango. As a person who does not acclimate to altitude well the best way for me to be involved was definitely not to hike with them, but to be their support vehicle, setting my car up to live out of, putting all of their resupplies in a roof box, and meeting them at their resupply points. For my brothers first significant backpacking trip (he’s done plenty of short backpacking but nothing with resupplies) this has now given him a hugely inaccurate impression of what backpacking is like. No hitchhiking, road walking, or mailing himself packages.

I should note that while my brother was doing just this section, for my mom this meant finishing the Colorado Trail. And I mean finishing all of it. Getting every possible experience. She has done both Collegiate East and West. When I started the trail with her on her first CT hike it was well over 100 degrees in Denver and a horrible drought. Three weeks later we were knocked off the trail by 3 feet of snow. She has hiked drought, torrential rain, borderline hypothermic conditions, seen bears and moose, met hundreds of very polite mountain bikers and one extremely rude one. She probably only knows the Long Trail better. Having a support vehicle was a new experience for her though.

For all of us this was a first time experience in a way; my brother backpacking, my mom having consistent support on a backpacking trip, and me supporting a backpacking trip. And I think we all had a great time and are now spoiled. For me this was a perfect situation because it was a perfect mix of travel and hiking, of alone time and hangout time, and it was very fun logistically because I love spreadsheets. Estimating where they were on the trail and what time they would get to certain places based on what I know about water sources and their hiking speed was a great game. So if anyone’s looking for crew for an ultra or FKT my mom is my reference, give her a call.

I had dreams of hiking some 14ers while I was there but the combination of my weak acclimatizing and my weak car prevented that from happening. I’ll go through all of my adventures with more maps and details but wanted to give this intro to my crewing experience, including how I broke down my schedule. One of the important goals I had was to always hike in and meet them when I could with a drink and a snack…as long as they were hiking down to the road so I could hike uphill to meet them and then look like I was totally in shape as we hiked downhill together.

This is my initial planning chart. I did bring my inreach mini with me to communicate with them while they were on trail because there were plenty of times when no one had reception and they’re both very fast hikers so odds were they would get out early at least once. Which they did.

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