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Colorado Trail -Segment 3

May 25/26/27, 2002

Segment 4- Colorado Trailhead Forest Service Rd 543 Trailhead to Longs Gulch Trailhead

Distance: 16.2  miles

Elevation Gain: 2840 feet

View Log - Log of all contacts made

This was our 2nd Colorado Trail Segment.  Terry and I hiked it, along with Terry's good friend Gail, as a two night backpack. I took my elecraft k1 along on the trip along with an 83' wire for an antenna.  There was a huge qro contest that weekend which made in nearly impossible to do anything but contest qso's untill Sunday evening.  I did make a few contest qso's and added some dx to my qrp log.  Sunday evening, the qro contest finished up but the ARCI  hoot owl sprint started up so I still wasn't able to make any good qrp qso's.  However, I moved down 20 meters to around 14.040 and had a couple nice chats with some of the qro guys!  When I finally tallied up the log I was pretty happy having made several dx contacts and also making contacts on all 4 of my available bands: 15, 20, 30 & 40.

 We again picked the western trailhead as a starting point, hiking back towards Denver, so that we lost 2840 feet in elevation rather then gained that amount.  This segment crosses the Lost Creek Wilderness.  With no roads crossing the wilderness, it makes placing vehicles at the trailheads a long process.   The hiking distance is 16.2 miles but because you must drive around the wilderness area the driving distance is more like 50 miles.  From Bailey, CO we drove south about 8 miles to place the first vechicle at about 8:30AM.  We proceeded back through Bailey (stopping for huge, delicious breakfast burritos at a mexican restaraunt on the west end of town), over Kenosha pass and eventually to the Longs Gulch trailhead where we hit the trail by about 10:30 AM.  There are two trails leaving this parking area in almost opposite directions, one heading towards Kenosha pass and one towards Lost Creek Wilderness.  We immediately headed up the wrong path but luckily were headed off by a sign declaring 'West bound colorado trail travelers'.  The correct trail crosses a small creek and immediately heads up hill.  The first 2 miles of the trail are a fairly steep incline and when we climbed it there was still 8" of very wet snow from a snowfall two nites before.  The trail tops out into a broad flat area that would make a great campsite.  The next six miles of trail are a gradual descent skirting a wide marshy area and make a very pleasant hike. Naturally, there is water to be found all along this part of the trail.  We reached a broad flat area,where the trail to the Lost Park Campground intersect our trail, at around 3:30 PM and decided to call it a day.  We were planning on a two nite outing and after 7.5 miles of hiking we wanted to leave something for the next two days.  Elevation at this site is over 10,000 feet and we had a pretty chilly nite, temperatures dropping below freezing.  

Day two we were on the trail by about 9:00AM.  The first 1 1/2 miles of trail was a gentle rise topping out at Kenosha Ridge.  Up to the ridge, the CT follows the path of an old logging road.  At the top of this ridge the trail splits off to the right from the logging road in order to avoid some marshes that the road goes through and then rejoins the road about 2 miles farther on.  Whether it is poorly marked or we were just talking too much I don't know, but we missed the spot where it splits off and instead headed through the boggy marsh on the road.  No great consequence except we had a little tougher hiking!  We eventually found the trail and happily continued. About 4 or 5 miles from the end of this segment you cross a small stream (since we are in a drought condition this year more of a small trickle when we crossed it).  This is about the only water on this half of the segment.  The hiking was very easy, generally descending after the inital gradual incline, and we were within a mile of the end by about 2:30PM.  Not wanting to go home yet, we made camp within a mile of the trailhead and enjoyed the last nite.  The weather was pleasant and we had a great nite.  The next morming was a 45 minute hike to the car.  We spent an hour backtracking to get the car we had left on the other end and congratulated ourselves on a job well done.