A running collection of communication between Keith Drury (AKA "Coach D")

and students about hiking the Colorado Trail in August 2001.


Link to Colorado Trail organization and store: http://www.coloradotrail.org


Hiking across Colorado's Rocky Mountains

WHERE WE'LL BE BACKPACKING  è The "Colorado Trail--across the Rocky Mountains  Keith Drury and several IWU students will backpack 300 miles completely across Colorado's Continental Divide on one of the most beautiful trails in America. We will begin in Leadville, Colorado in the mountains West of Denver then backpack across all seven ranges of the Rocky Mountains. We'll be above the timberline lots of the time giving us amazing views. We intend to hike all the way to Durango, Colorado after crossing the entire Rocky Mountains range East to West. We'll be on the "Colorado Trail" one of the newest trails in the USA. In Colorado the CT is also often the same trail as the "Continental Divide Trail" (a trail which runs up the continental Divide from Mexico to Canada). The CT is widely considered one of the most beautiful trails in the world, packed with hour-by-hour breath-taking views.

FAQ è Frequently asked questions

q      Equipment -- Coach D has lots of extra backpacks, sleeping bags, cook stoves and other equipment but you might still want to get some of your own stuff.

q      Food -- We will buy some in villages the trail passes through occasionally, and send other supplies ahead to tiny mountain village post offices.

q      How we'll hike -- we will almost always camp together but we will usually spread out on the trail during the day to absorb the experience.

q      Students -- This mentoring and developmental experience is open only to IWU students

q      Group -- You are free to recruit a friend and sign up as a group to go along--that way you control who you hike with

q      Danger Lots—don’t dismiss it.  We will hike in 10,000’ to 13,00’ elevations—this a hazardous activity, not like working at Wendy’s all summer. Hiking the Colorado Trail involves a risk of injury and caution is required.  Risks include being  killed by lightning, getting broken bones, getting infection from untreated water, getting lost for hours perhaps days, dehydration from some sections of trail where we will hike two days with no water whatsoever, altitude sickness, hypothermia, or losing food or life to bears—plus the  general risks of hiking and camping 300+ miles on some of the highest trail elevations in America.  We should be safe, but the dangers can not be minimized.  As in all hikes at IWU, you will have to sign a release of liability before going.

LEAVE: July 31

RETURN: August 26




303 miles: Leadville to Durango…Backpackers: Sam Bills, Justin Easley, Chris Laws, Burt Webb, Keith Drury

The Itinerary: Most long distance backpackers make an itinerary even though they seldom follow it exactly. Some sort of plan is needed to plan enough food between re-supply towns. And just in case of an emergency at home knowing where we are within a day or so enables a ranger to get on the trail heading our way and walk toward us… though most rangers won't really do that--they post a sign on a tree at a crossroads instead (and tell any hikers heading toward us the message). Just the same, here is a possible itinerary we can use to judge if we are "ahead or behind" the plan… sort of like a budget. This itinerary has two "Cushion days:" one at mile 137 the half way point in Creede, and one at mile 70 in Silverton. These days allow unforeseen circumstances to let us blow off a day and still make it to Durango.

[00] Day 0            Jul 30, Mo            303. Travel to Denver/Leadville arrive in evening; sleep near Leadville;

"THE FIRST WEEK" LEADVILLE TO SALIDA… 80 miles: pack 5 breakfasts, 10 Lunch-dinners

[10] Day 1            Jul 31 Tu              290 Clear Creek (first day…10 mile starter day after last Minute packing in morning

[13] Day 2            Aug 1 We             277 Rainbow Lake (11,520') [13 mile day]

[15] Day 3            Aug 2 Th               262 Hughes Creek Campsite (10,640') [15 mile day]

                                                                           {{{Cross a road today--County 344}}}

[18] Day 4            Aug 3 Fr               244 Chalk Creek [18 mile day]

[15] Day 5            Aug 4 Sa               229 Angel of Shavano (9160') [15 mile day.]

                                                                           {{{Cross a road today--County 240}}}

[5+] Day 6            Aug 5 Su               224 Walk 5 mi. to US HWY 50 Turn left on US50 go 13 miles to SALIDA OVERNIGHT IN TOWN

MAIL DROP #1 myname C/O General Delivery Salida CO 81201

Overnight in town--re-supply for next 85 miles (Creede)

"TO THE HALFWAY POINT" SALIDA TO CREEDE ….87 miles: pack 6 breakfasts, 11 Lunch-dinners

[04] Day 7            Aug 6 Mo             220 Fooses Creek area (10,000') [get mail--leave afternoon from town --4 miles on trail.]

[13] Day 8            Aug 7 Tu               207 Rainbow & Silver Creek (11,240')

[18] Day 9            Aug 8 We             189 baldy lake [18 mile day]

                                                                           {{{Cross a road today--County 114}}}

[15] Day 10          Aug 9 Th               174 Pine Creek (9680') [15 mile day]

[15] Day 11          Aug 10 Fr             159 VanTassel Gulch (9840') [dry camp--carry water from day before]

[17]Day 12           Aug 11 Sa             142 Cochetopa Headwaters ford (11,720')

[5+]Day 13           Aug 12 Su             137 Hike 5 mi. to San Luis Pass-- then take confusing routes 10 more miles into Creede

MAIL DROP #2 myname C/O General Delivery Creede CO 81130

Overnight in town--re-supply for next 67 miles to Silverton)

[00]Day 14           Aug 13 Mo           137 HALF WAY CELEBRATION IN CREEDE--or "CUSHION DAY #1" if needed

"THIRD WEEK" CREEDE TO SILVERTON…67 miles: pack 5 breakfasts, 9 Lunch-dinners

[4+]Day 15           Aug 14 Tu             133 Middle Mineral Creek (11,680') [Walk 10 mi' back from Creede… 4 mile on trail]

[16] Day 16          Aug 15 We           117 Buck Creek Headwaters (11,840') [16 mile day]

[16] Day 17          Aug 16 Th             103 Lost Trail Creek (12,000') [14 miles]

[17] Day 18          Aug 17 Fr             86 "Cross Drainage" (12,080') [17 mile day]

[16] Day 19          Aug 18 Sa             70 Molas Pass/Hwy 550 (10,880') [16 mile day; camp near HWY 550)

[00] Day 20          Aug 19 Su             70 Rise early, hike 5 miles to Silverton to P.O.& , re-supply for final 70 miles

                                                                           Turn North 5 miles on US 550 to Silverton Colorado

MAIL DROP #3 myname C/O General Delivery Silverton CO 81433

70 Overnight at Youth Hostel in Silverton or @ back at Molas pass again]

[00] Day 21          Aug 20 Mo           70 DAY OFF IN SILVERTON… OR CUSHION DAY #2… if needed

"THE FINAL PUSH" SILVERTON TO DURANGO….70 miles: pack 3 breakfasts, 6 Lunch-dinners

[19] Day 22          Aug 21 Tu             51 Bolam Pass /Celebration Lake (11,120') [19 miles]

                                                                           {{{Cross a road today -- Forest Service 550}}}

[19] Day 23          Aug 22 We           32 Salt Creek Trail (no water) (10,840') [19 mile day]

[18] Day 24          Aug 23 Th             14 upper Junction Creek (8520')[18 miles day]

[14] Day 25          Aug 24 Fr             0 Durango Colorado --[walk 14 miles then WE CELEBRATE!]

[00] Day 26          Aug 25 Sa             Go to Airport, head home late Sat. night the 25th or next morning Sun. Aug 26th


                                                            n Number before campsite = miles to Durango

[nn] Number in brackets is miles per day.


2. Am I in good enough shape to walk the Rockies?

November 2000.

There are three ways to be in shape, strength, endurance and mental attitude. Strength is the easiest to develop and measure, mental attitude the hardest.

I. STRENGTH This on you can test now. Go to the wellness center and hop on the stair-climber and climb 1000 feet/100 floors. If you do it in less than 25 minutes you've got enough climbing strength to start. If it takes you more than 25 minutes you might do some getting in shape--you're worse off then Coach d!

 II. ENDURANCE Face it, there is no way we can measure this now. We'll carry packs at 8000'-10,000' on rocky trails from morning to night, day after day, week after week. About the only way to test this would be to carry packs at 8000'-10,000' on rocky trails from morning to night, day after day, week after week! If you are set on testing yourself pop twenty pounds on your back some Saturday and walk on regular roads for 15 miles. If you do OK then you know you can do the daily miles (other than the elevation & the trail instead of road) so don't worry. If you poop out on level roadway before 15 miles then maybe consider some conditioning this spring.

 III. MENTAL ATTITUDE But here is the critical one. Long distance trekking is 90% mental. Every day there will be a new reason to quit. Yesterday it was that new blister right on the ball of my foot. Today it is the constant rain all day and my wet sleeping bag, tomorrow it will be something hurting in my left knee, day after tomorrow it will be homesickness for my girlfriend/wife. Long distance hikers listen to their bodies, but they don't listen to the whining. How can we train mentally? We can't. You mother trained you for this. And your dad. It started when you were three years old. You were training for it when you tried to put together that complicated model and you wanted to just get up and quit. It started when your dad or mom "helped you" stick to a job until it was done. It continued through school when you determined to finish a paper instead of handing it in half-done. Mental attitude is the character thing. Sticking with things that are hard because you said so. Paying the price for getting the rewards. So it is too late to prepare this way. All we can do is commit to doing this trail, commit to each other, and develop the character of "not giving up" in stuff we're doing right now. "Giving up" is the enemy. Persistence is the character quality. (On the other hand don't get too worried if you've been a whuss all your life and run away from everything difficult…people like this can change. Indeed a long distance hike is one of the primary routes to this radical change in such a person's life. For some long distance hikers the hike is the first difficult thing they completed in their life. And it becomes a watershed point in life--from then on their character changes… they do the hard work in everything and carry it through to completion…for they live with the "trail ghost" constantly haunting them when they think of quitting.

So if you are wondering… "Can I make it"? Try the stair climber first… to see if you are at least in as good of shape as ol' coach D. Maybe consider a 15miler some day when the snow melts…And keep on keeping on… refusing to give up on other things…it'll transfer to the trail… and visa versa…



Revised January 20, 2001

Coach D's Own Colorado Trail checklist


(Buy or borrow one with 3000-4000 cu inches if you are carrying Coach D's weight. Coach has three free-loaners for this trip: Two external Kelty frame packs @ 5 pounds each, one Jack Wolfsin internal stripped down @ 2.3 pounds. Usually you can strip down a 5# pack to about 3 pounds…but that's hard to do to a new one huh?

___Sleeping bag

Go for 30-40 degree bag…expect nighttime temps as low as low 40's. Down works, but synthetic is what Coach D is taking, though it is 1 pound heavier. Coach D has 3-4 down & synthetic loaners but you'll have to chip in 10 bucks toward the purchase price if you plan to sweat in one for a month during this trip.

-Add garbage bag for rain protector (in pack)

-Stuff sack for sleeping bag (Compression sack is heavy, but shrinks it more if your pack is small)

___Sleeping pad

A RIDGEREST is by far the preferred choice… even one cut off to 3/4 length. A Z-REST is more expensive but cute and easier to pack on the outside of your pack and pop out to sit on through the day. An inflatable THERM-A-REST is probably too heavy (1 lb. to 1 1/2 lbs.) unless you are old and sore. Coach D has 3-4 of them if you want to borrow one--no charge unless you pop it -- new ones cost about $50.


Got to keep the rain off you. And mosquitoes. Get a Bivy, tarp, or tent--we will share together if it is a tent. Tent should not be heavier than 2 1/2 pounds per person including all stakes and poles. A Bivy will be slightly less than 2 pounds, but they cost well over $100--the best ones over $200. A tarp is about one pound but you've got to add 6-8 OZ ground cloth. Coach D has a 5 pound 2-person "Sierra Designs Clip Flash-lite Tent" that sold for about $120--that's $60 per person. Coach also has a Bivy and a tarp. He hasn't decided which he'll use but stuff sleeps five. Anyone else have a tent of 5 pounds?

___Ground cloth.

Only if you carry a tarp. Otherwise the tent floor or Bivy is the ground cloth. If you take a tarp try several garbage bags or a piece of TYVEK or plastic. Nothing more than 5 OZ total.


We gotta' eat…and we gotta' cook. BEST= "Pepsi-can-stove" burning alcohol. BUT Coach D will free-loan his MSR gas stove to a duet of people if they'll let him use it once in a while. Coach will carry his Pop-can-stove… Alex & Chris will have one too by then that they made in the Camping class.

___Wind Screen for stove

This really increases efficiency--it is worth the weight--sometimes you can make one out of a "turkey pan" from Wal-Mart…though MSR makes them too.

___Alcohol fuel bottle

Just a simple plastic one. 8-12 OZ of fuel is plenty for a week. 1/2 Oz will cook a meal w/o wind. up to 1Oz with wind. Coach D uses ESBITT fuel tablets instead of Alcohol. They weight the same--but they cost about 20 cents per meal while alcohol is about 2 cents per meal. Fuel tabs require 1/2 Oz per meal.

___Cooking pot.

You need one--just ONE--pot that holds about a quart. A lid is nice, but aluminum foil is lighter and works fine. Cheapest is aluminum pot from Wal-Mart. My Titanium pots cost $40 and save a few more oz. but I hiked 30 years before buying one.

-Tiny pot squeegee-just the rubber part for cleaning pot.

___Water container

You need to be able to carry 4 liters of water at once--on one section of 30 miles 8 liters. Best bet-- plastic "coke" bottles, a couple 1-litre bottles and maybe one 2-litre bottle. That's the cheapest. More expensive is a collapsible "Platypus" which will set you back almost ten bucks to get about the same weight as a coke bottle, but it collapses to a flat spot while not using it. Forget Nalgene containers--they are heavier and no better (except you can put boiling water in them for making tea).


Coach D has plastic spoons, or one of the cheap metal ones from Wal-Mart is fine. I bought a Titanium one for ten bucks, but that didn't really save any weight and I use it only because I bought it.


Mostly you'll eat Lipton meals then mac & cheese then Lipton meal, then… you get it. Most thru hikers eat two of these meals a day (the whole meal by one person) --one for lunch and one for dinner. Then eat something "dry" for "breakfast" like dry instant oatmeal, or two packages of cookies (like the kind from a cookie machine--Wal-Mart sells them in bulk) or other miscellaneous food (e.g. Brown sugar or tacos, or bagels, etc. You'll use about 4000-6000 calories per day. If you have "pudginess" on your body you can get about 2000 from your fat… thus only need to take 3000-4000. If you have no fat stored up, then you need closer to 6000 calories per day.


-Tiny single AAA flashlight;

-Zip-loc "wallet" with license (needed to claim mail) credit card (who knows) & cash;

-pen, paper or post cards or envelopes/stamps for journaling and writing to sweethearts

-maps or guidebook or elevation sheets

-disposable camera



-Razor (Ok OK--you don't shave on the trail --I do)

-Deodorant--roll on poured into a tiny motel bottle

-1/2 motel soap

-Toothbrush with handle sawed off

-Large bandana as towel/washcloth/sunshade/everything else

-1/3 Toilet Paper roll in Zip-loc bag (1/3 = 1 week)

-Plastic 1 OZ spade (maybe---if you can do a rock-turnover you can skip this one)

-Hand Sanitizer --small bottle in center of TP roll (Obvious)

-Mosquito repellant--1 or 2 OZ (Maybe also a face net @ 1/2 oz.?)

-1/2 Lip Balm chap-stick(Take an old one half used to save weight)

-Ear plugs --(snoring tentmate?)


-2 Oz bleach in tiny well-sealed bottle (Unless you take a filter)

-Plastic eye dropper (For bleach unless you carry it in a MARKED Visene bottle)

-Tiny knife (very tiny-seldom need a knife on the trail)


-2-3 Oz baby powder for first week out (feet)

-24" of Duct tape or adhesive tape (for taping blisters)


-Nylon-Polyester tee shirt (any nylon--NOT cotton) Capalene "underwear" is best but expensive--$35!

-1 pr shorts--same as above--Nylon running shorts" work great--pockets are nice

-Baseball hat… (sun/rain)

-Walking sticks (Many hikers carry none-good idea if weak ankles--get old cheap ski poles if you can.

-Socks: SmartWool light hikers socks (Or any comfortable socks--these are your only cushion from shoes) Some hikers only use liners.

-New Balance sneakers-unless you need heavier protection for ankles

-Glasses?? (I seldom take 'em, but if you need them or contacts some do)


-Home made fleece hat--for sleeping, chilly mornings, hypothermic-inducing rain.

-Silk boxers as PJs (unless you sleep in walking shorts)

-Second pair of Smartwool light hikers hanging on pack to dry with two diaper pins (Or liners)

-Light nylon rain parka (tight nylon--doesn't have to be breathable-- can get for $15 or less)

-Nylon warm-up rain pants Maybe $10-- for rain hypothermia protection

-Fleece or wool sweater or vest… for cold evenings?

-Flip-flops for camp wear???? Maybe. But probably no if you use sneakers to walk in.


TOTAL WEIGHT -- All of the above (everything except food and water—called a "dry pack") for Coach D weighs in at about 10-12 pounds—including the pack itself and all the clothes/shoes worn. You should aim to keep your total pack weight below 20 pounds.

Remember—if you are carrying 5# of mine you will have to ADD the COACH’S 5 LBS. to that 20 # (NOW IT IS 25 pounds)

Remember—then you will have to add FOOD to that (at 1 ½--2 pounds a day for 7 days = 10-14 more pounds! The first day—though the more you walk-eat the lighter this part of your pack gets) NOW WITH YOUR STUFF, DRURY’S STUFF AND FOOD YOU ARE UP TO 35 POUNDS)

Remember you will have to add WATER to that too. Let's say you are starting out on one of those days where there is no water for 20 miles—you’ll need about a gallon of water per 24 hours… so add another 8 pounds to this and NOW YOU ARE UP TO 43 POUNDS… NEARING THE LIMIT—45 LBS SHOULD BE YOUR ABSOLUTE LIMIT IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A GOOD TIME.

So, next task for you is---

1. Start thinking about what you might borrow from friends or Coach, or buy.

2. Start making your own list of stuff to take

3. Start weighing things this Spring.

4. Keep meeting together to help each other take enough stuff to be safe and comfortable but not so much that we are miserable.



June 2001


SHIRT. Try polyester or nylon easy-to-dry. Forget cotton. I have always worn $45 Patagonia Capalene tee shirt… which dries so fast you can wash it then put it back on and be wearing a dry shirt in 10 minutes…so I wash it every day. HOWEVER this year Josh Crisp showed me a simple $11 "Starter" soccer shirt from Walmart and I've tried two of them for the last two months and I am just as impressed as the Capalene. SO I'll be using one of those. (Perhaps shipping the other one to meet me at a post office along the way).

PANTS Again, lightweight polyester or nylon that will dry quickly. Ideally try something with pockets--you always want to stick something there while walking. I usually walk in nylon running shorts(with pockets) at about $10… but this summer I'm thinking of taking a pair of zip-offs… but have not decided yet. If you walk in shorts take along a few oz, of sun-block per week… the sun will really bake your calves.

UNDERWEAR? Most thru hikers--men and women--don't wear 'em figuring they only keep the moisture in and invite rashes. If you do you'll want some that wick away moisture. Some hikers wear silk boxers.

WIND-BREAKER/RAIN JACKET. This might be optional for some hikes, (I seldom take one) but not on this hike. Picture crossing an 11,000' pass in driving rain (maybe sleet) with 40 MPH wind with just a tee shirt… You'll need something to break the wind and cut down on body heat loss. It doesn't have to be waterproof but should be a close enough weave to keep body heat in to avoid hypothermia in such a situation. Sometimes you can get these for $10 at Walmart, especially the kind you put on over your head.

WIND PANTS/RAIN PANTS. Same as for wind breaker. Again, "Gore Tex" isn't as important as something to prevent too much heat loss in a high rain storm. Combined the jacket and pants will seldom cost you more than a pound…but it might save your life.

HAT You'll want something to keep the sun out of your eyes and off your head. This is the only shade you'll get above the timberline. I usually wear a cotton baseball cap (though when it rains it really gets heavy). Some wear a "fishing hat." Many drape their bandana around their necks and put a hat on over it--due to sunburn at high altitudes. I've met a few hikers who wear none at all.

FLEECE/SWEATER This is a hard one. Especially when packing in hot July temps at home. But you'll want something to add to your tee short n the evenings, mornings, and (sometimes) in your sleeping bag. An old wool sweater from Salvation Army if great (though sometimes heavy when wet). A Fleece (especially a lightweight one) is great too. It will cost you almost a pound though. But it is good insurance.

SLEEPWEAR I usually carry a pair of silk boxers to sleep in, but when going ultra-lightweight I just sleep in whatever I walked in. It gets the sleeping bag dirty, but sleeping in it a month does that no matter what you wear.

SOCKS (See advice on FEET). Usually two pair of socks. Smartwools are the current fad, I may use them or maybe even just liners alone.

FLIP-FLOPS/SANDALS I don't take these to save weight, but many hikers do, especially those who wear hiking boots all day--to give their feet a chance to rest at night. I just take my socks off and insoles out of my sneakers and wear the sneakers in the evening…my warm feet then dry them in a hour or so. On other advantage of sandals is for river crossings--otherwise you get wet feet and have to "walk them dry" the rest of the day. But we don't have that many stream crossings in Colorado and they'll not be snow-melt by August.


Our concern needs to be not just so much strength and endurance as our FEET...

Our backs, knees, ankles--all those body parts can be cared for by "treading lightly" but FEET carry everything... every pound we carry the FEET have to do the work... So keeping them COOL and DRY is the secret. Here are some of the tricks long distance hikers use:

  1. Air out every hour. That is stop every hour, take off shoes and socks... air out for 10 minutes.
  2. Change socks every hour. OK, not after a week or so, but to start with most hikers switch socks every hour and pin the damp ones on their pack to dry during the next hour.
  3. Baby Powder feet. For the first week or so--before putting on the next pair of socks.
  4. Alcohol feet. For the first week --and sometimes longer -- some hikers carry 4 oz of rubbing alcohol in a mini- baby bottle and squirt and rub their feet to cool and cleanse them... I don't know that this works better than water, but they do it.
  5.  Shoes that fit and are broken in by 50 miles. Obvious.
  6. Changing shoes at each post office. Some hikers have TWO pair of shoes...and switch at each PO...sending the others forward (after generous squirts of Fbreeze!). The notion--shoes wear are particular places... switching them every week or so wears on different places.
  7. Liners. Many hikers wear thin liners under medium smartwools. And in ho country many just wear liners alone with sneakers to reduce heat. (I may try this on the CT... but I'm nervous about the idea).
  8. Pre-tough feet. Going without shoes several hours a day "hardens" the feet before starting.... also wearing sandals without socks can do the same thing. Others have soaked in tannic acid an hour a had for two weeks too... but I tried this once and saw no difference. ____
  9. SHOES. a. Sneakers or boots: You'll have to decide between lightweight sneaker-type shoes and "hiking boots." If you have "weak Ankles" then consider something high enough to support your ankles. b. Gore-Tex boots. Nice for the mushy-marshy Eastern mountains, probably too hot Western walking. c. I'll be using New Balance 803's or my new 804s. But they are really lightweight if you've ever had a sprained ankle or your total weight with pack is more than 225 pounds. Just make sure your feet feel comfortable and they have plenty of room in the toes (hikers often "gain one size" on an extended hike... from swelling)
  10. SOCKS I love Smartwool, though you have to take out a loan to afford them. I am considering just wearing liners alone on this trip...though I'll be sure to ship my hiker-Smartwools to the first Post Office if I do... just as a backup.
  11. TREAD LIGHTLY... The best foot-care has to do with HOW we walk. The great trick is how you walk "in your head." Here's the simple secret: "walk barefoot in your head." That is, simply set your foot down for each step as if you are walking barefoot... avoiding pounding your foot on sharp rocks, stepping lightly instead of tromping. Walking "barefoot in the head" will save your feet more than any other single treatment... after all your feet ARE barefoot... inside your shoes! The tread-lightly concept was invented by a doctor in New Zealand... but of course the Native Americans were expert at it long before... of course with moccasins you HAVE to tread lightly or beat up your feet. Try this 'tread-lightly/walk barefoot-in-the-mind" thing for the first several days and it will become a habit... and save you lots of pain.
  12. BLISTER TREATMENT Of course some pain is inevitable. Maybe even blisters are inevitable. However I only got blisters once on the entire 2000-mile long Appalachian trail. But everybody got them last summer on the Pacific Crest Trail... the pathway was just sun-baked... and the miles higher there. The combination produced blister-for-everyone. So, count on blisters... but try to avoid them like the plague. How hikers treat blisters: a. TREAT HOT SPOTS FAST: As soon as a "hot spot" develops (a red sore spot) tape it wit either Duct Tape or adhesive tape. The treatment-of-choice is duct tape, but Backpacker Magazine tests showed adhesive tape to stick better. If a tow has a hot spot, tape around the entire tow, making sure you don't leave a bump in the tape to cause another blister. This really is more in the category of "prevention" than treatment--but a hot spot is a blister-about-to-hatch in 2 hours. b. DRAIN BLISTERS. Sterilize a needle (match or alcohol-stove fuel) and puncture a blister at the edge. Some hikers sterilize thread and slip an inch through the blister then cut off the thread leaving it there to auto-drain while walking the next few days while the blister turns into a callous. c. AIR THEM OUT AT NIGHT. We'll be so exhausted at night we'll be tempted to drop into bed without removing tape from the blisters or hot spots. Better: take it off and let it air-out dry-out harden-out over night.
  13. WALKING STICKS Some hikers would argue (I am one of them) that two hiking sticks reduce the load on your feet up to 15 pounds per stride. A simple test of this is stand as if you are walking and put your stick on a regular bathroom scale pushing it down about as much as you would when walking... see how many pounds it registers. For me it is 15-20 pounds... so the additional weight of the sticks seems worth it to my feet... I have fancy $50 Leki adjustable walking sticks... but they are not that much better than the old $10 junk-ski poles I used to use. An actual stick works too--but is usually much heavier then poles. (Poles can double as a tent or fly pole... a mosquito swatter for your legs while travelling, something for your hands to do while walking, save-your-neck when crossing snow-fields, helping-one-ford a stream, or for swatting bears in the nose or "accidentally" sticking in bicycle spokes or poking horses rumps when others are illegally riding in the wilderness areas... heh heh heh

6. Water treatment

Best in lab = Filter

On trail: everyone gets sick sooner or later. ;-)


Hiker water treatment studies

LAB RESULTS (Ongerth, J. E. et. al "Backcountry Water Treatment to Prevent Giardiasis" American Journal of public health, Dec. 1989)

Iodine, 8 hours 99.9% effective

Iodine, 30 minutes 90% effective

Best filters(new) 100% effective

Filters after 88 liters 75% effective

Chlorine 85-90% effective

Heating 60 degrees C 10 min 96%

Heating 70 degrees C 10 min. 100%



FIELD RESULTS (AT thru hikers; 1994 Roland Mueser Long Distance Hiking, (Camden Maine, Raged Mountain Press)

Purification method -- % illness in 5-6 months -- % Giardia only

Iodine --26% became ill, 6% Giardia

Filtering--30% became ill, 9% Giardia

Boiling--34% became ill, 3% Giardia

Chlorine--75% became ill, 0% Giardia

No treatment --27% became ill, 3% Giardia

7. Bivy and tents

1. BIVY: The bivy is a great choice... I have one myself.

ADVANTAGES: space: you can "pitch" it anywhere, Independence: are free from a partner (e.g. you want to start early, but your partner wants to sleep in, but YOU are supposed to carry the fly and poles--half the weight.)

DISADVANTAGES: can't cook in it, awkward to get up in the rain, expensive. Most hikers think Oregon Research makes the best bivy... but there are a lot of them just as good now. One additional consideration favoring a Bivy... I am considering taking a lightweight "Fly" as community property. If I do, then you can stick your head under it and cook in a rainstorm even.

2. TENT: Also great choice. Mine weighs only an ounce or so more than a bivy (2 people)

ADVANTAGES: Can cook on the porch, can get dressed in the rain, "home line feeling"; you never get wet--Bivies always get you damp...if only from sweat;

DISADVANTAGES: snoring tentmate, dependence on partner for camping together; leaving together; BEST TENT: most through hikers buy the Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2-man tent... though others are now copying that tent... that's what I use and I have never criticized it... it is small, but adequate.. cost: about $200... $100 per person... though I got one for $139 at Galyons. (My OR Bivy cost $210)

8. First week's food

We still have plenty of time for this... but for you "plan early types" here is some data on food. TO DO:

    1. Take your first week's --first 80 mile's food in your pack to Denver--we won't buy it Tuesday morning--we've got 10 miles that day to hike including the steepest climb of the week...
    2. Pack 5 breakfasts and 10 Lunch-dinners plus any extras you want (snacks, instant potatoes etc.) Count on 2 pounds per day--that's about 11-12 pounds for the first week. If you have more than that you will waste it--less than 8 pounds and you're going to lose weight (I lose a pound a day on my Spartan diet--but I often lose my appetite...but I'm an old guy, young ones get like bears.)

FOOD LIST for Keith DRURY'S 500 mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail July-August 2000 _____________________________________________________








calories per gram

Carbs Per gram

Grams per day

Calories per day








Brown Sugar






Dried Beef






Taco Shells





2 shells per day

Olive Oil



2 tbspns


1 oz = 240 cal

Fruit Rollups





1 roll/day

Dry Milk





1 cup day

Macaroni or Pasta





3 pkts day






4 pkts day 1 pkt=205 cal












1 oz=30 gr.?








    1. I eat 3000 calories-- younger hikers often eat 5000-6000 caolories a day
    2. I lost interest in the dried beef and eventually in the roll-ups
    3. Dry milk & olive oil was added to Lipton meals and Mac&cheese
    4. Cookies-crackers were the little vending-type six-packs--cookies better than crackers
    5. I ate one mac&cheese and 1 Lipton meal per day--one for lunch one for dinner
    6. The cookies wee for breakfast and snacks--I should have had more snacks
    7. I should have added instant potatoes as a backup/augmenting food
    8. I usually ate the taco shells the first two days--loved 'em
    9. Brown sugar was simply a "compact candy bar" in value without chocolate
    10. The weights are per gram--then transferred--I took 1 LB 2 Oz per day
    11. Most younger hikers should count on 2 pounds per day
    12. RE: weight: "best calories per gram" =olive oil; best Carbs per gram=brown sugar
    13. Repackage food in boxes to baggies
    14. Lunch-dinners include Lipton meals, Mac&cheese, and other one-pot meals
    15. The above diet may be deficient in PROTEIN--which may mean your body will start gobbling up your muscles -- Burt Webb argues that such a diet should have about 1000 calories a day from Protein…that means for this coming hike I may upgrade the nuts-peanut butter-jerky-protein part to 1000 calories per day.


UPDATE---CT revisions of the above PCT list (Protein upgraded)


Calories /Oz.

Protein /Oz.

Carbs /Oz

Eat Oz. Per day

Cal per day

Carbs /day

Protein /day Gr.

6 Day supplyOz












Br Sugar










Beef Jerky










Taco Shells










Olive Oil










Dry Milk



















1 Pkt=1.8Oz=240Cal.











Dry Cheese










Mashed Potatoes










Peanut Butter










Macaroni w/o Chz










Lipton meals





























<== Oz per 6 days





^Oz. /day

^cal. /day

^crb s/day

^prtn. /day


<== Pounds for 6 days










<==actual w/pckg & xtras

1. This might help you Cris--since you are buying your first 6 days food on your own.
2. Justin & Sam we can buy on the weekend before we leave.
3. Burt--well, he has his own spreadsheet ;-)
4. You can see the kinds of food here at least…to repeat some of the PCT comments….
5. I eat cookies for breakfast.
6. Lunch is a Lipton or mac & cheese meal
7. Dinner is the same.
8. Cashews go into the food pretending they're meat
9. Brown sugar = candy
10. Jerky = snacks & protein
11. Olive Oil goes in meals too--fat fat fat!
12. Dry milk goes in meals too... fat-protein-carbs-perfect food!
13. Why whea?-- I don't know--it's new to me.
14. Dry cheese to add to for mac&cheese for protein
15. Mashed pot--filler, snack, extra meal, add to meals.
16. Peanut butter--snack
17. Macaroni & Lipton meals... 11 the first week.


2 lbs a day is usual...

9.  Drop-outs

Most long distance hikers don't make it. That is, they start but don't finish. Some don't even start--pulling out the week before. Remember, on long distance hikes HALF the hikers pull out in the first week... HALF!!! Then another 40% pull out along the way--That's the truth---on long distance hikes only 10% --only 10%--of the starters finish... this is not some walk in the park that any old guy can do... it is more like a slow-paced marathon...
So, consider what we are about to do:

We will cover more than a half-marathon every day...
…not on the level but in 11,000' elevations
…not on a road but a rough trail...
…not merely in running shorts but with a heavy pack on our backs...

We will finish our half-marathon then sleep on the ground..
and get up the next day and do another half-marathon
and again the next day for more than three weeks...

We will do this in good company...
...with sweet chats in late afternoon walks..
...and sometimes quiet sitting with wraparound vistas fee get to see...
...and we will ache...
...and get so stiff an hour after stopping we can hardly walk to the creek to get water
...and we will forge life-time friendships...
...and our breath will be taken away at the views...
...and we will want to quit...
...and our foot will hurt strangely...
...and our shoulder will have a funny ache we never had before...
...and our knees will seem to be injured...
...and will have the runs for two days in a row...
But we will keep on...
...and our friends will urge us on...
...and when we fall into bed we will be so exhausted

… we will sometimes sleep on a 1" rock all night and not notice until 4AM...
...and we'll get up and think of fried eggs and bacon but eat a package of cookies...
...and we'll get a cheap motel and feel like we are in the finest accommodations in the world...
...and we'll think a shower is worth $100.
...and we'll go eat two pizzas each..
...and people won't believe we walked there form Leadville...
...and we'll celebrate in town... and finally move on...
...and we'll accommodate to life on the trail..
...we'll see a M&M dropped on the trail by someone and pick it up and eat it.
...It will rain and we'll hardly notice...
...weekender hikers will look so clean...
...and the perfume on any weekender girl-hikers will linger half a mile in the air to our now-sensitive noses...
...and we will fall into a routine of half-marathons each day...
...and we'll get cocky..
...and we'll say, "Lets do a 20 miler"
...or even "Let's knock off a 25 miler today.."
...and we might do it..
...indeed we might walk an entire marathon one day..
...and get up and do half-marathons every day the following week...
...until walking 15 miles is normal for us...
...and Lipton meals and mac&cheese are normal..
...and we'll eat instant oatmeal raw one day, washing it down with cold water... and pronounce it "fine"...
...then it will be almost over,...
...and we'll see Durango in the distance...
and we'll walk that loooooong downhill section into town..
...and we'll put a stone on the big ending rock...
...and we'll be back on campus...
....and we will feel strangely out of place...
...as if we left home... where we "life" behind on the trail...
...and people will ask inane questions of us...
..."did you live off the land?"
..."did you get a lot of writing done"
..."so were you on a road?
..."I hear you HITCHhiked across Colorado...
...and they will not understand...
...and when we see each other we will know "He understands.."
...and there will be a bond...
...and in a boring class our mind will run a PowerPoint presentation of our "mind slides" of views we will remember when we are sixty...
...and in the following spring we will again think of the trail... and wonder how it is...
...and even if we never hike again in our whole life...we will be permanently altered...
...we'll wonder how we could be so changed when there was no Bible study...no pews...no planned "services" no small group activities...no workbook... but we know we are different forever..
...most of all our character will be altered...
...we will do hard things when we don't like them...
...we will stick with things that aren't always pleasant..
..and we will repeatedly see that our CT hike influenced us most because
...because it is a metaphor for life...
...life is a long distance hike...
...a job is a long distance hike...
...marriage (especially) is a long distance hike...
...and we will ponder the influence of this hike on our lives...
...and determine that the metaphor is what influenced us...

just watch...

we'll never be the same...


10. Outdoor and travel quotes________



Thunder is good,

thunder is impressive,

but it is the lightning

that does the work.

        -Mark Twain


I like trees


they seem more resigned

to the way they have to live

than other things do.

        -Willa Cather, O Pioneers


It is unfair to blame man

too fiercely for being pugnacious;

he learned the habit from nature.

        -Christopher Moreley, Inward Ho!


Never does nature say one thing

and wisdom another.

-Juvenal, Satires


Silently one by one,

in the infinite meadows of heaven,

blossomed the lovely stars,

the forget-me-nots of the angels.

        -Longfellow, Evangeline


The whole secret of the study of nature

lies in learning how to use one's eyes.

-George Sand


Someone said to Socrates

that a certain man had

grown no better by his travels.

"I should think not," he said:

"he took himself along with him."

        -Michel de Montaigne


A traveler.

I love his title.

A traveler is to be reverenced as such.

His profession is the best symbol of our life.

Going from--toward;

it is the history of every one of us.

        -Henry David Thoreau


One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.

        -Shakespeare Trollus and Cressida


People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.

        -Iris Murdoch A Fairly Honorable Defeat


The wind shows us how close to the edge we are

        -Joan Didion


Rocks do not recommend the land to the tiller of the soil, but they recommend it to those who reap a harvest of another sort--the artist, the poet. the walker, the student, and lover of all primitive open-air things.

        -John Burroughs


Thanks to the interstate highway system, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything.

        -Charles Kuralt, On The Road


Sweet is the breath of morn, her rising sweet,

With charm of earliest birds.

        -John Milton Paradise Lost


The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.

        -John 3:8


To make a prairie it takes clover and one bee,

One clover and a bee,

And revery.

The revery alone will do,

If bees are few.

        -Emily Dickinson


There can be no very black melancholy to him who lives in the midst of nature and has his senses still. There was never yet such a storm but it was Aeolian music to a healthy and innocent ear.

        -Henry David Thoreau, Walden


Every formula which expresses a law of nature is a hymn of praise to God.

        -Maria Mitchell


For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.

        -Robert Loius Stevenson, Travels with a Donkey


A road is a dagger placed in the heart of a wilderness.

        -William O. Douglas, in Ghost Grizzlies


Do not look to the ground for your next step; greatness lies with those who look to the horizon.

        --Norwegian Proverb


I do not own an inch of land, but all I see is mine.

        Lucy Larcom


I have been one acquainted with the night. I have walked out in the rain. I have outwalked the furthest city light.

        -Robert Frost, Acquainted with the Night.


I chatter, chatter, as I flow,

To join the brimming river,

For men may come and men may go,

But I go on forever

        --Alfred Lord Tennyson The Brook


The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.

        -John Muir


The mountains lie in the curves so tender I want to lay my arm around them as God does.

        -Olive Dargan, Twilight


The substance of the winds is too thin for human eyes, their written language is too difficult for human minds, and their spoken language mostly too faint for the ears.

        -John Muir


Here I am, safely returned over those peaks from a journey far more beautiful and strange than anything I had hoped for or imagined--how is it that this safe return brings such regret?

        -Peter Matthiessen




More coming…

--coach d