Thunder in Colorado

I am laying in my hotel bed in South Fork. Felix went over to the gasstation to get us our mandatory pizza! Yes! They sell Pizza at gasstations in the US!

Ah, here he is with the two Pizzas!

We eat them while watching TV! You know it, that’s our town routine!

We are both pretty damn knackered since we both haven’t hardly slept last night in that boiling hot Elwood cabin and after the long hike down here.

Now its time to get some good, deep, amazing sleep in a fluffy hotel bed!

Today, our first goal in the morning is to head to the post office and send stuff back to Felix’s mum. We try very hard to only carry what’s absolutely (and I mean absolutely!) necessary. We both don’t want to carry our snow gear in the next few weeks as we don’t plan to, (hopefully), hike in snow for a while, as we are doing the lower route…

So that’s done.

Now breakfast!

Now off we go!


It’s hot!


What a nice change!

But wait!

Hmmm, it gets really hot now. And it almost looks like we are back in a desert again! Who would have thought that Colorado has a desert!

What a contrast to our snow adventure just two days ago!

It’s a lot of roadwalking on this alternative route again, aka my feet and legs are hurting. The landscape is a still ever changing though and amazing as always.

It’s so hot though!

We cross a bridge and crawl under it, so we can hide from the sun and filter water!

Funny how we both rather enjoy sitting under this bridge by the water! Thruhiking makes you enjoy the little things in life!

We finally seem to leave the desert and get some elevation done.

Felix checks the map and sees that we can do a “cross-country-diagonal-shortcut-hiking-thing.”

So we do. Wow! It’s awesome to be off the road and in this green landscape here!

Yet another world!

Beautiful! Back to nature!

We decide to camp right here on this ridge.


That little blue thing in the left hand corner is Maggie!

This is definitely one of my top 10 places we pitched our tents on the CDT so far!

Felix goes finding a tree to hang his Ursack (aka bearbag) for the night and comes back:

“Heidi, I just saw a wolf chasing after an elk!!!!”


Thats like being live in a BBC nature TV broadcast!


Alright, I crawl tired into Maggie and fall asleep in a place where wolfs hunt elks!

Holy shit!

We hike on, get back to the road soon, and run into a little problem:

The route is on a road which travels around a mountain range. It’s a detour sort of thing. 8 miles plus.

“Heidi, I looked at the map, we could bushwhack strait through this basin and save us the silly 8 miles of road. There is a potential path on the map, but it’s as always not sure how such a path is going to be like and whether it exists at all.”

“Do you want to try it?”

I do not reply.

I look over the horizon at what lies ahead out there.

I see mountains with cliffy edges way out there over which we would have to climb.

“Errhm, not really”.

And while I say this, I know that Felix will be disappointed. He loves bushwhaking and detours with extra miles, especially on roads, are certainly not his favourite activities!

“It’s OK”, he says, “let’s do the eight extra miles on the road then…”.

So we plot on, around this thing.

Ah man! I can’t help it sometimes! Fear is definitely one of my burdens in life….

We are finally on the other side of those ridgy things now (it took us quite a while!) and I can see for myself that he was right of course. We could have surely done this bushwhak. It would most probably not have killed me!

“Sorry Felix! I shall not interfere with your map reading skills again! Next time I come along! Promise! I know that you know what you are doing!”

The only positive thing about these silly 8 extra roadmiles was that we got to hike around these amazing rock formations! They were actually a treat!

We now walk down this valley and realise that we might have to camp on private property again tonight (finding a spot to camp can be a problem sometimes while walking on roads!).

We wait till its almost dark so that a potentially upset land owner does not see us!

My alarm clock goes off at 5 am as usual.

We hike by 5.45 am as usual.

We hike up to much higher elevation again (yes, it’s a lot of up and down!) and seem to have a new problem:


Colorado is apparently famous for having those every day in early summer.

(Are you kidding me! There is no such thing as early summer out here! Mr Evil is still around and the nights and early mornings are still rather bloody cold!)

We see these super dark clouds rolling in and then hear thunder above us and jump out of our skin when we see lightnings…

Not good!

Something else to be scared of, heh!

Oh man!

But onwards we must go!


Eating (cold soaked out of a Ziplock bag.)


We decide to squeeze in under these trees tonight to be a little protected from the potential thunderstorm.



We are excited as our “Lower Alternative Route” will end tonight (after 150 miles) and we will be rejoining with the official CDT again, which is following the “Colorado Trail” here in Colorado.

We made it!

Back on the trail!!

Here at CDT Mile 1026, elevation 2900 m, the snow has apparently, to our surprise, completely melted.

As we have a feeling that there are not many hikers out here, we camp right on the trail (not good thru hiking etiquette!).

We hear thunder rumbling again (the fourth time today, bloody hell!) but what can we do but hope it goes away without hitting us!

“Nighty night!”

5 am already. No further storms during the night!

We make it to the Highway 114. Here we need to hitch into town as we completely run out of food for one thing and as we need to sit down and decide what we are going to do next.

What lies ahead from this point on are, again, high mountains in deep snow.

There is hardly any traffic on this bloody Highway 114! Maybe somewhat 12 cars per hour?

And non of them seems to stop for us!

So frustrating!

This is our hardest hitch so far!


Including the whole PCT.

One hour goes by.

Hardly any car drives by.

Non of them stops for us.

After each car that goes by we shrug, and wait 10 mins in silence until the the next one turns up.

Just to see him approach … and drive away!

Oh so frustrating!

Another hour goes by.

“Damn! Why seems absolutely nobody willing to give us a ride?! We are in the middle of absolutely nowhere up on the this forgotten road and in desperate need for a ride!”

Hello? Anybody?

Still hardly any cars.

Still nobody stops….

It feels awkward to be stuck up here on this mountain pass, totally relaying on a complete stranger, who I have not even met yet, to be kind enough to give us a ride in his car!

(I say “his” car, then all I can remember from all the many rides we/I ever got were almost all from men. Its just way more likely that a man lets strangers into his car. Understandably.)




A car seems to slow down!!

“I have seen you guys this morning when I drove to the other side of the pass, and you are still here! So hop in, I give you a ride!”


What a relieve!!

He drives us to Saguache, directly to the diner!

So we have breakfast and lunch at once!

The only Motel here in town has its reception outside, the phone is in a plastic container, Felix picks it up and finds out that they have a room available. It’s a cute old little Motel and we are happy to stay here.

Alright, I guess that was it for hiking in Colorado for the time being. We hiked what was possible, now we have to bow to mother nature, say thank you for what we got, and accept that there is too much snow out there again as of here.

Plan A is to flip ahead to Wyoming, hike there what’s possible, maybe then flip further to the Canadian Border and flop back SOBO (hikerslang for hiking Southbound) all the way back to where we left the trail today in Colorado.

Thruhiking can be complicated!

We are still “on schedule” though.  We have already hiked 1000 miles out of the 3100 in total, so a complete thruhike is still possible!

Now we have to figure out how we get to Wyoming from here!

Best via Denver perhaps?

We have to figure out how to get to Denver from here!

Felix will come up with a plan, I am 100% certain of that!

I will keep you guys posted!

7 replies
  1. swissfrau says:

    Sending fun travel adventures on your way to Wyoming from Reinach! Beautiful Sunny day here in the dorf. Cheers! KelLe

  2. Rosie Fernandez says:

    Can you contact me privately through my email so I can send you Michael’s cousin’s (Pinedale) info? Tom says he doesn’t think CDT open yet. Snowpack is persisting in higher elevations.

  3. Kathy says:

    Hello Heidi— thank you so much for your posts–I find myself constantly wondering how you and Felix are doing out there–and every post talks about such different weather and experiences! I am so glad to hear that you’re both doing well!! Happy trails my friend!


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