Colorado Trail Challenge – Segment 7
The following devotion that I recently came across struck a chord with me:
There is something embedded in us that draws us to the horizon. We are not entirely at home here. So, we look beyond the oceans and deserts and mountains to the stars, and we wonder why. It’s the distant wind that catches our face in the breeze and we breathe it deep through our nostrils and it smells of freedom and we know it is freedom we seek.
In Acts 17:24 the Bible says, “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.” In verse 27 it goes on to give the reason for this. “God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.”
Some searches are only about the search. They reveal something about who we are or who we are meant to be. The longing for beauty tells us we were made for beauty. The longing to share a campfire with someone we love, or are beginning to love, tells us we were made for love. The longing itself tells us there is something, or someone, that draws our hearts.
So the search grabs hold and we can’t explain why. It comes on like a sickness, and the only cure is to pack some maps and rations and go. We are not made for the cages we’ve erected around ourselves. We are meant for freedom. Where trees and mountaintops point to the stars and where canyons echo and waters cool and where wind is scrubbed clean by prairie grass. These are the lost places where we go to find God. — Roger W. Thompson – We Stood Upon Stars
Segment #7: 12.8 miles – 3,674′ elevation gain, 3,053′ elevation loss
Glenn and I decided to tackle this segment as a day hike and welcomed my daughter, Kristen, and our friend Bruce Houtchens on the hike. The trail took us over the Tenmile Range from Breckenridge to Copper Mountain. A challenging segment with steep climbs and descents, we were happy to leave our heavy overnight gear at home. We’ve now hiked 117.2 miles in 7 segments, about 25% of the way to Durango.
08/15/18 – We woke bright and early. Glenn, Kristen and I left for Copper Mountain at 5:30 am and met Bruce at our ending point, staging his vehicle there for our transportation back to Breckenridge at the end of the day. From there, we drove to Frisco and had breakfast at the Butterhorn Bakery and Cafe. After breakfast, we made the short drive to the Gold Hill Trailhead and were on the trail by 8:30 am.
The trail initially passed through an area that had been logged, following the pine beetle infestation that devastated a large portion of the Lodgepole Pine forest over the past several years. The area was beginning to rejuvenate and small trees were coming up in the area. We soon entered the forest and passed through another area that had been logged and replanted. The forest was thick with trees, but they were all young trees about 3 to 5 inches in diameter.
Peak 2 Fire Area
A few miles in, we encountered the Peak 2 Fire Area. I looked it up after returning home. The Peak 2 Fire started on July 5, 2017 and burned about 84 acres in the Miners Creek drainage. The creek runs right through the burn area, as does the trail, and vegetation along the creek is starting to recover. We crossed Miners Creek and its tributaries several times as we climbed on toward timberline. We stopped and ate our lunch just below timberline and then continued the climb to the crest of the Tenmile Range at 12,500′. In the tundra, we encountered a large colony of pikas in the prevalent loose rock (scree). We first heard their call, which has been described as a shrill bark, similar to a prairie dog. We also had a marmot greet us as we crested a ridge. He was a bit bashful, but did pose for a few photos.
It was cool and breezy on top and despite the somewhat hazy skies, the views were amazing! On the east side of the ridge, we could see Lake Dillon in the distance and the town of Breckenridge below us. We passed between Peak 5 and Peak 6, so we could look down on the top of the ski lift on Peak 6 of the Breckenridge Ski Area. On the west side, we looked down on the town of Copper Mountain and the Copper Mountain Ski Area. The trail stayed above timberline for several miles and then descended through the forest to Copper Mountain. Other than a few day hikers we saw early on, we saw no other people on this segment. We usually see several hikers and bikers, many of whom are through hiking (or biking) the Colorado Trail. That was a surprise.