There and Back Again

We left our home in the snow and it appears we have made a circle. We’re back in the snow. Spring came and left in a hurry, summer stayed longer than expected, fall lingered and we grew comfortable, until winter crashed the party and chased us for a few thousand kilometers until we tripped and stumbled.  Alas! Winter eventually gets all of us. However, recently winter may have coughed and sneezed…Let us hope we don’t have too much more snow between now and Mexico.

We have been to so many places during the “off season”. Yellowstone was empty.  The Winds of Wyoming vacant. The crowds of Colorado gone. It was mid-way through Colorado when we ran into our first hikers since the middle of Montana. Yes, you read that correctly. We walked 2000 kilometers before we saw other hikers.  They emerged out of the mist and snow, like phantoms. We were eating lunch. I nearly dropped it in shock. Although they were just day hikers, to us they meant so much more. For once, there were other walkers. We weren’t alone.

As winters grip tightens - the lakes begin to freeze. And we enter every now and again a Winter Wonderland.

As winter’s grip tightens – the lakes begin to freeze. And we enter every now and again a Winter Wonderland.

Advertisements

Have You Ever?

This adventure has had it all. We have never done anything like this before. Not even close.  For both of us, it’s been a journey of firsts and trying new things (for better or worse). Here’s how:

Have you ever tried hitching from outside a prison? We have.

Trying to get a ride back to the trail from Canon City. It's a town with 13 prisons.  We just didn't want to hike anymore to a more suiting place to get a ride, so to hell with it! We hitched right from the front. The weird thing is it only took 20 minutes to get a ride. I mean, who picks up bearded men from outside a prison?!

Trying to get a ride back to the trail from Canon City. It’s a town with 13 prisons. We just didn’t want to hike anymore to a more suiting place to get a ride, so to hell with it! We hitched right from the front. The weird thing is it only took 20 minutes to get a ride. I mean, who picks up bearded men from outside a prison?!

Have you ever walked for three days in a perfect straight line? We have.

We walked a long a highway in Southern Colorado for three days.  It was straight.  Like really straight.  Like  wanna-bash-your-head-in-straight.

We walked along a highway in Southern Colorado for three days. It was straight. Like really straight. Like wanna-bash-your-head-in-straight.

I call it the Oh-thank-godness-I-can't-hold-it-any-longer bathroom tree. There was one ever 40 kilometers.  Just  don't eat any 'funky' food.

I call it the Oh-thank-godness-I-can’t-hold-it-any-longer bathroom tree. There was one every 40 kilometers. Just don’t eat any ‘funky’ food.

Stop the presses! Stop the presses! A turn! Get the camera!

Stop the presses! Stop the presses! A turn! Get the camera!

Have you ever eaten a roadside banana?  We have.

Walking up the road to Monarch Pass we spotted a freshly thrown, half eaten, ditch banana. Sadly,  it was the first piece of fresh fruit in a week. This picture was taken soon afterwards.  During a blizzard. Btw the banana was amazing!

Walking up the road to Monarch Pass we spotted a freshly thrown, half eaten, ditch banana. Sadly, it was the first piece of fresh fruit in a week. This picture was taken soon afterwards. During a blizzard. Btw the banana was amazing!

Have you ever camped beside the only water source for miles in a desert only to find after making tea and dinner that the water is heavily alkaline and therefore poison (I guess that would explain why all surrounding vegetation was dead. Ops!). We have.

No water pictures from the red desert, so this picture from Glacier National Park will have to do.

No water pictures from the red desert, so this picture from Glacier National Park will have to do. It has water, thus close enough.

Have you ever knitted yourself across a country? We have.

image

Knitting across the Red Desert. Made two hats in this section! Of course, might have knitted through a couple intersections. ..gotten lost or had to stop due to motion sickness. Oh dear.

image

Knitting in Central New Mexico.

image

Liam's Dad enjoying A Doorstep Adventure hat on a wintery day in Jasper

Have you ever crossed a river 205 times in December? We have.

image

We crossed the Gila River 205 times. As it got to -15 degrees at night, the water was the North Pole.


image

The canyon along the Gila was amazing! Wow!

Have you ever gone from snowshoeing along the mountain tops to passing cacti larger than yourself in one day? We have.

This doesn't look like New Mexico to me...Where's the margaritas?

This doesn’t look like New Mexico to me…Where’s the margaritas?

It's larger than one Liam!

It’s larger than one Liam!

And a jake!

And a Jake!

Have you ever slept under the stars across an entire US state? We have.

If the weather is good, we don't use a tent. We made it across the state of Wyoming without using a tent. Pretty neat, eh? This picture is all the way back in Montana, going through the Pintler Wilderness.

If the weather is good, we don’t use a tent. We made it across the state of Wyoming without using a tent. Pretty neat, eh? This picture is all the way back in Montana, going through the Pintler Wilderness.

Have you ever spent 4 months cooking over a fire? We have.

Boiling water for tea in Northern New Mexico.

Boiling water for tea in Northern New Mexico.

Have you ever walked far enough to be the guy who heckles the I’m Goinna Be (500 miles) song by the Proclaimers (500 miles?! That’s it? And then maybe 500 more? That doesn’t even get you to Yellowstone! You call that love!? Whimp!). We have.

"But I would walk 500 miles. And I would walk 500 more just to be the man who walked a thousand miles.  To fall down at your door ...la la de da"

“But I would walk 500 miles.
And I would walk 500 more just to be the man who walked a thousand miles.
To fall down at your door …la la de da”

 

Up, Down and Repeat.

Colorado is a beautiful state, probably our favorite.  However, it’s very mountainous. Some days we go up 7 000ft, and descend the same. We even went up a couple 14 000er’s. And my sister and bro-in-law came for a visit in Denver where we went on an eating and drinking binge. It was a splendid weekend!

DSC03228

Summit of Mount Massive at 14 521ft.

Oh the odd things people donate to us.

Oh the odd things people donate to us.

Our 200th day.

Our 200th day.

Summit if Massive.

Summit of Massive.

DSC03278

It would appear that Old Man Winter has finally caught up to us.

Hitching to Denver.

Hitching to Denver.

Driving to Denver. Oh Dear Godness. I'm driving in a city of 3 million and I haven't driven since August. Help!

Driving to Denver. Oh Dear Godness. I’m driving in a city of 3 million and I haven’t driven since August. Help!

DSC03289

My Sister and Brother-In-Law came for a visit.

DSC03284

We went to the Avery Brewery in Boulder. It was fantastic! And if you walk there from Canada, they shower you with free beer. Totally worth it!

DSC03286

They even gave us a beer that hadn’t been released yet called Tweak. It was almost 18% strong. Now that’s what I call an energy drink!

Afterwards we went to a meadery.  Yum!

Afterwards we went to a meadery. Yum!

Going on a beer tour.

Going on a beer tour.

Sister and I heading to a brunch all-you-can-eat and drink buffet. How civilized!

Sister and I heading to a brunch all-you-can-eat and drink buffet. How civilized!

And now we head back to the trail, hitching from Canon City. A town known for having 13 prisons. That can’t be good for hitch hiking. Oh dear. Really oh dear!

The First Hut in 3300 km – Yay!

We haven’t stayed in a hut for 3300 km, aka since the Wapta Icefield. However, a few days ago we came across some backcountry club hut. It was cold. It was snowing. They had left the window unlatched.  And when you have a see-through tent and a sleeping bag for only -7C, anything goes.

If only they had made the window slightly wider...

If only they had made the window slightly wider…

The High Point

Two men reached the edge of the trees. The wind was a hurricane and mountain pines shook and thundered. The beards of the men were covered in frost as they went in and out of mist, kicking steps up the long long slope, muttering, “Only 1600 km to Mexico…only 1600 km..”

They paused and looked up at the lofty summit. 

Gasp wheeze cough sputter. ..

 …step step step…

Pause.

“Only 1599.9 km to Mexico…”

Last week we managed to slog up Mount Elbert – the Roof of the Rockies and the 2nd highest mountain in the Lower 48. The view was magical. Even though it’s huge, it’s not difficult.  Just a matter of placing one foot in front of the other and carrying on.

The trailhead and the beginning of the never-ending-stairwell.

The trailhead and the beginning of the never-ending-stairwell.

Stairway to heaven?

Stairway to heaven?

The top! Yay! Since people are always interested in ascent time, here's our: 201 days. And that doesn't even include the return journey.

The top! Yay! Since people are always interested in ascent time, here’s ours: 201 days. And that doesn’t even include the return journey.

The Sunshine State

Somehow we have managed to make it halfway through Colorado to Leadville. Leadville is the highest town in the USA at 10 152ft. It’s a neat town with an old mining culture. I could stay here for awhile, but with Old Man Winter nipping at our heels, it’s time to move on. As you can see, we have been incredibly lucky with weather thus far (for the most part). See for yourself:

The buffet the morning we left Grand Lake. It was done by an English lady witb a drinking problem. But boy - was it good!

The buffet the morning we left Grand Lake. It was done by an English lady witb a drinking problem. But boy – was it good!

Leaving Grand Lake.

Leaving Grand Lake.

This is for you Jill!

This is for you Jill!

We have had our winter times...

We have had our winter times…

We stayed for a night in Winter Park due to bad weather. We went into a coffee shop to use the phone. We ended up getting a free lunch and a place to stay. Thank you Michelle and AJ! It was fantastic!

We stayed for a night in Winter Park due to bad weather. We went into a coffee shop to use the phone. We ended up getting a free lunch and a place to stay. Thank you Michelle and AJ! It was fantastic!

Rollins Pass. Where the railway crossed at over 11 000ft!

Rollins Pass. Where the railway crossed at over 11 000ft!

Sometimes you just have to break the rules...

Sometimes you just have to break the rules…

Sunshine and Lollies.

Sunshine and Lollies.

On the divide.

On the divide.

Nearing the summit of Stanely.

Nearing the summit of Stanely.

There are good parts of the trail, and bad. This is the bad.

There are good parts of the trail, and bad. This is the bad.

DSC03155

Going up Vasquez Peak.

The Sunnit.

The Summit.

Looking towards Denver.

Looking towards Denver.

Mid morning snack.

Mid morning snack.

Unfortunately large swaths of the forest here is dead due to pine beatles.

Unfortunately large swaths of the forest here is dead due to pine beatles.

Ptarmigan Peak.

Ptarmigan Peak.

Looking down to the ski resort town of Silverthorne.

Looking down to the ski resort town of Silverthorne.

The CDT and the Colorado Trail have merged.  The CT is 480 miles, running from Denver to Durango. It is very well maintained,  compared to the CDT.

The CDT and the Colorado Trail have merged. The CT is 480 miles, running from Denver to Durango. It is very well maintained, compared to the CDT.

The CT.

The CT.

Ignore the open ski hills... Gulp! They have been making snow, so some have already opened.

Ignore the open ski hills… Gulp! They have been making snow, so some have already opened.

DSC03197

Summit of Elk Mountain.

Walking the ridge.

Walking the ridge.

Corbett Peak.

Corbett Peak.

Camp Hale. They trained 15 000 troups here for mountain combat during World War II.

Camp Hale. They trained 15 000 troups here for mountain combat during World War II.

Chilly mornings.

Chilly mornings.

The town of Leadville.

The town of Leadville.

Can’t See Further Than The End Of The Nose

Being November, we spend many hours each day hiking in the dark. Mostly we hike to a predetermined spot on the map, just so we get the right mileage.  Sometimes it’s a shock in the morning when we see where we are…

We awake to find a grave by the tent. Oh dear...I wonder if it had anything to do with the missing cup, two sporks, spatula,  and vitamins?

We awake to find a grave by the tent. Oh dear…I wonder if it had anything to do with the missing cup, two sporks, spatula, and vitamins?

Dog grave that is. Weird!

Dog grave that is. Weird!