I’m posting this update via the spectacular Lake County Public Library in Leadville, CO. Great memories of a couple of family ski trips to Colorado years ago. We booked a place here without ever having heard of Leadville. My very first impression during the approach into town was a hand-painted billboard/sign with a Grateful Dead “Stealie” image next to the word “Deadville.” I felt immediately at home, ha!
Ten years or so later Leadville feels a lot different to me. Real estate prices seem to be soaring and the streets were positively packed the Sunday I arrived in town…the sleepy town I remember looks more like hipster central now. But in spite of the crowds, I had an excellent stay at the Colorado Trail House and was treated well by everyone I met in town. If you haven’t heard it before, Leadville’s claim to fame is as the highest elevation incorporated city in the U.S. (elevation: 10,152).
As for the trail, with less that 500 miles remaining I’m definitely getting itchy feet for home and I feel myself getting really emotional-similar to how things ended on the AT. The hike has transitioned into a completely solo affair where I’m seeing almost no other thru hikers anymore, though I know there are many within several days hike of me. That is offset however by massive amounts of other traffic I’m encountering on the CDT in Colorado. The section I’m hiking now runs concurrent to the Colorado Trail, and is positively flush with mountain bikers, hikers, etc. And earlier in northern Colorado I was having to step aside frequently to allow ATVs and Motorcycles to pass me on the trail. Not all sections of the CDT are ‘shared use’, but here in Colorado it seems to be the norm. Whereas some purists dislike such activity, I like seeing people outdoors and active, enjoying their chosen forms of recreation. I wouldn’t want motorized traffic on the entire trail but a bit here and there provides variety and keeps me on my toes.
Given Colorado’s reputation for awe-inspiring natural beauty, as one would expect the scenery along the trail has been stunning. Big, sweeping views have dominated the hiking landscape- hopefully that comes through in some of my pictures and videos.
Lastly, it may be a while before my next post as the trail town logistics look a bit challenging in the upcoming week or two. Thank you again for your interest in keeping up with my hike and-barring any significant problems- I look forward to wrapping things up within the next few weeks! Cheers and happy trails! Max