“Of all the
paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt”
This third CT outing for 2019 would
include hiking Segments 15, 16 and 17, covering a total of 49.9 miles.
The total elevation gain is 9,570 feet and the total elevation loss is
8,823 feet. We would also cross the 300 mile marker since the beginning
of our hike last year. Due to limited water sources along much of the
route, our plan is to accomplish this hike in 4 days, including travel time to
and from the trail. It’s a challenging itinerary that includes several
steep climbs, including a half mile climb gaining 668′ in elevation (one of the
steepest grades on the Colorado Trail).
I usually try to include an
inspirational story or quote when I write these summaries of our hiking adventures.
This time, I’m compelled to include some writings by a very special lady,
my mom, who passed away earlier this year. I hope you enjoy them:
He meets me in
the morning in the chapel of my mind
To show me His
exciting plan for which I was designed!
We chart my day,
we chat and pray, my courage to renew
Then in that
quiet solitude, we share a prayer for you!
about the man who sat down at dusk and waited to see where the sun went….it
finally dawned on him!
A Mother’s Prayer
Keep my children
Guide them as
each goes his way
Keep them strong
in spirit too
Teach them to
rely on you
Help me, then, to
do my part
To ease each
doubt, to cheer each heart
Oh help me find a
time each day
To send a loving
prayer their way.
Writings by Betty Jean Burk Hertzler (1925 – 2019)
Segment #15: 14.3 miles – 3,576′ elevation gain, 1,608′ elevation loss
8/20/19 – My brother, Glenn, and I
are joined once again by friends, Lance Willoughby, Bruce Houtchens and Mark
Ely. Glenn, Bruce and I left Highlands Ranch at 6 am to meet Lance in Fairplay
(he was coming from Keystone). We picked him up there and drove on to the
trailhead where Mark (who lives in Salida) met us. Mark and his wife,
Lesly, had staged a vehicle at the end of the hike, which saved us 3 hours this
morning. Thanks Mark and Lesly!!
Segment 15 starts at Highway 50 near
Poncha Springs (8,861′). The trail follows a dirt road for about 2.5
miles to the South Foose’s Creek Trailhead. From there, the trail travels
up the South Foose’s Creek drainage in a steady climb to the Continental Divide
(11,909’), yielding a net elevation gain of over 3,000’ for this 8.6 mile
distance. The last half mile is one of the steepest grades on the CT,
climbing 668′ in a half mile.
The trail during that climb was
surrounded by very nice mixed pine forest. The most prominent feature, by
far, along the route, was the abundance of wild flowers that filled the meadows
and hillsides along the way.
Wild Flowers and Hummingbird Moth
Wild Flowers and Old Log
At the top, the Colorado Trail and
the Continental Divide Trail merge once again and are co-located heading south.
We had departed from the CDT route at Twin Lakes in Segment 11.
We followed the Monarch Crest, which
includes the famed Monarch Crest bicycle route (rated one of the top 5 mountain
bike rides in the country). We ran into several bikers and a couple of
motorcycles, which are also allowed on this portion of the trail. As we
met the motorcycles, they pulled off the trail and turned off their engines as
we passed by….an unexpected, but appreciated courtesy. After hiking
10.3 miles, including that 3,000’ climb, we arrived to our camp for the night
at the Green Creek shelter (11,500′).
Green Creek Shelter
After we set up our tents in the
surrounding trees, Mark, Lance and I went to get water in Green Creek, which
was about a 0.3 mile hike down the drainage. Upon returning, we were
greeted by some other hikers who were looking for a place to camp. Soon
others came along as well and by the end of the evening; over a dozen campers
were in the vicinity of the shelter, with 2 sleeping in the shelter itself.
We were also visited briefly by 2 deer that entered the nearby meadow and
then retreated into the safety of the trees. We had a brief campfire, ate
dinner (lasagna) and hit the sack by 8:30 (it was dark by then – hiker