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Colorado Trail Weekend Trip (5/31/14) – (6/2/14)


We had a couple days free so we decided to go on a short backpacking trip down the Colorado Trail. We gathered our gear and got into the van around 9:00 AM. We arrived at the trailhead down NF 550 and got out gear together. I realized I forgot the map in the van and grabbed it from the back. I locked and closed the door… with the keys still inside… and our phones…

Colorado Trail (weekend trip)

Distance: 2.3 miles (4.6 miles round trip)
Difficulty: Very Easy
Month Hiked: June
Garmin GPS File: ct_weekend.GPX


From Pine Junction on the 285 head South on the 126 (aka Deckers Rd). Continue until you see NF 550 - there will be a sign for Wellington Lake at the mouth of NF 550. Continue down until you see a small brown sign indicating the Colorado Trail.

Our Trip:

That was not a good start before setting out on the trail for a few miles. I flagged someone down who had a cell phone and asked someone to bring out a spare to hide for us when we got back. We weren’t sure if the key would be there or not since we had to leave a message. Worst case scenario I figured we’d just have to break a window.

Finally we set off on the trail.  We didn’t have a destination in mind, but knew there were plenty of intermittent streams that should be running this time of year. The idea was to trek along until we found a nice place to setup camp – somewhere close to a stream so we could get water.

After walking for a few miles and considering a few spots the weather started to come in. It was obvious that there would be rain in the next hour so we hurried along until we found a suitable spot. Neither of us wanted to set up in the rain if we could avoid it. We set down our packs and unloaded the gear for the shelter. We were using a 9’ x 8’ tarp made by Outdoor Research. I had made some modifications to it like adding extra tie outs and sealing the seems.

While laying the tarp out for pitching we encountered our second blunder… The stakes were not packed… So, at this point we were 1 and 1 in our fail rankins for the trip. Thankfully there were plenty of sticks that could be used and we got the tarp up just as it started to sprinkle. I tried to get a meal in before the rain came, but that didn’t end up working out.

I had recently gotten a Vargo Decagon titanium alcohol stove and wanted to test it out on this trip. I grabbed the cook set and found a flat area on a rock. I filmed the process (poorly) of filling the stove with alcohol, priming, and the resulting boil. As soon as I put the pot on it started to pour down rain and hail. I went and got under the tarp until it was time to check on the water.

After about 10 minutes I went back to check on the water. To my surprise, and relief, the water was boiling even after all that rain and hail. Pretty impressive for a little alcohol stove weighing 1.3 oz if you ask me. I used the alcohol for the duration of the trip to rehydrate my home dehydrated meals. I found this to work acceptably well, but not perfectly.

I am still trying to perfect the rehydration process and certain foods do rehydrate better than others. Rice, ground beef, peas, corn, strawberries, etc.. rehydrate well, but baked beans, bell peppers, and other things do not. Even rice can be a little crunchy after the meal has been sitting for 10 or so minutes. It really helps to be able to continue to simmer for a while longer as the food rehydrates – something you cannot do with this stove unless you wanted to wait for it to cool down, add more fuel, re-prime, and hold the pot up away from the intense flames that come out during operation. That being said it is a bit of a waste of fuel to simmer your meals, but it is a luxury that I do enjoy.

I think that this stove is best suited for freeze-dried backpacking meals that rehydrate easily and completely with just boiling water added to them. That is one advantage freeze-dried meals have over dehydrating your own. This could also be solved by pre-soaking your meals in a spare water bottle hours before you plan to cook. This will get them hydrated a lot prior to adding any boiling water. I love the stove and I will continue to experiment with it before passing final judgment.

The rain stopped and clouds cleared shortly after lunch. That’s when I decided to test out my new SVEN saw and gather some firewood.  There were many downed trees in the area and plenty of sticks to gather. The saw worked very well, however, it is a decent amount of work to get through the bigger logs. The effort is well worth the reward of some nice big logs for the fire though. Bringing it was certainly worth the weight.

We brought our Sea to Summit folding buckets to the stream, an absolute must have for any backpacking setup, and brought back 10 liters of water each. I rigged up the Platypus GravityWorks water filter to the tree and we filled the “Dirty” reservoir. I raised it above the “Clean” reservoir and watched gravity do my work for me. I will write a review on this water filter once I have more experience with it, but my initial assessment is: awesome! It is very lightweight for the amount of convenience it gives you. Hassle free water in the backcountry… Amazing.

Later than night we had a fire and enjoyed the evening. The next day was much of the same. We explored around some, gathered more wood, and drank more water. It was a beautiful place and a very fun trip. Click here to view the photo album and the video below! I have ideas for improvements to my setup for my next trip so make sure to keep checking back!

Take care,


June 8th, 2014

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