Continental Divide Trail #32: Too Light in the Collegiate Peaks!

Although Og climbed the eastern side of Colorado’s Collegiate Peaks earlier this summer when the western side was impassable with snow, he was determined to go back to hike the western Collegiates, the official CDT. These spectacular peaks are some of the highest on the CDT, with elevations above 12,000 feet. From Marshall, Monarch, and Cottonwood Passes, I hiked up behind him for a few miles on steep rocky trails.  

Most of the snow had melted on the alpine tundra, but it was critical he get over exposed ridges before the afternoon storms, with lightning, hail, and torrential rains.

Even so, he got soaked and chilled during a storm that raged all night. For a ground cloth under his eight-ounce tarp, he uses only the handmade chaps that cover his legs while hiking in cold rain. 

“There’s such a thing as going too light!” he said when I picked him up for resupply. I gasped. I never thought I’d hear him, ultralight gearhead that he is, utter those words. He agonized over whether to buy a real tent rather than die of hypothermia in the upcoming Weminuche Wilderness. His tarp drying over a lamp, he set up our new Hilleberg Anjan 2 in our hotel room in Durango. 

Amber had her own tough decision to make. “Malbec or champagne?” she fretted. “know–both!” So a good time is being had by all. 


Continental Divide Trail #11: Wyoming!

We’re now on the CDT in Wyoming, approaching the Great Basin! From northern New Mexico, we leaped over Colorado for now because of the deep snowpack.

I was less than thrilled to leave Porter at the trailhead with this big storm coming in.

P's tarpPorter weathered the storm that night under his 7-oz. tarp by pitching it against the wind on a site with good runoff.

Sleet soaked the foot of his sleeping bag, though. Back in Rawlins for resupply, he attached his waterproof handmade shorts to the sleeping bag with buttons. He gets to wear them in daytime rain, and his sleeping bag gets to wear them at night!


Amber supervises the air-drying of Porter’s wool socks and folds laundry.  So a good time is being had by all.

Continental Divide Trail #8: A Blizzard and A White Peacock

From inside Porter's tarp

Porter's tarp in snow






Porter got caught in a blizzard after climbing to 10,000 feet near Mount Taylor, NM. Here’s the view from inside his 7-oz. tarp, where he woke to a foot of snow, then dug himself out. Even his sleeping bag got soaked!


Snow hid the trail

The trail was hidden under snow, but he did all the right backcountry survival things.






Porter & Gail at Antiquity restaurant in Old Town Albuquerque



Here we are celebrating at Antiquity in Albuquerque.



Meanwhile, Amber fell in love with Albert, the White Peacock at Los Poblanos Inn and Organic Farm. He told her that he brings Eternal Happiness, which she could totally relate to.

Albert and Amber