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Casual stormy day on the Colorado Trail

As the last trail in my Little Triple Crown in a Year, I had the pleasure of hitting the 486-mile long Colorado Trail late this season—the end of August— and was perhaps the last thru-hiker to walk the trail end-to-end this year. I started in Durango instead of Denver, where most end-to-end hikers start, so that I would hit the higher altitude mountains first. While I was packing up at the trailhead, worrying about the cold was the last thing on my mind. It was hot! Today is also among my biggest days of elevation gain—starting at 6980 feet and going up to 10,000 feet.

 

The clouds rolled in and thunder hit the surrounding hills at 12:30. By 1, it was hailing…hard…and I took refuge under my umbrella and under large pine tree. It’s always a surprise hitting the trail and getting this kind of weather on the first day. Luckily, the eery black clouds turned to blue skies, several hours later. The elevation gain happened at a moderate grade, so was barely noticeable.  I found several springs not listed in the book.

The day ended at a beautiful bridge and campsite with blue sky above me. Not bad for a first day.

Day 1 was in the trees all day–pretty ideal for a stormy day
Day 1 was in the trees all day–pretty ideal for a stormy day

Liz "Snorkel" Thomas

Liz Thomas is a well-traveled adventure athlete most known for breaking the women’s unsupported speed record on the Appalachian Trail in 2011. She has completed the Triple Crown of Hiking–the Appalachian Trail, the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail, and 3,100 mile Continental Divide Trail–and has backpacked over 15,000 miles across the United States. While not on trail, Liz lives in Denver, Colorado.