I will be direct. I made 20 something of 35 miles on my proposed day hike from Pueblo, Colorado to Fountain, Colorado and called in for a pickup.
My All Trails App recorded the distance at 22 miles,my fitbit recorded 20.8 and a drive from point A to point B showed closer to 26 miles.
You can see the trail I completed and the splits recorded here.
I began my hike at 0508 hours to gain as much distance as I could before it became hot. Per the instructions of a former drill instructor and overall bad hombre, E.Diaz, I took a break to adjust my gear at 0608 hours. One thing I learned quick is that you listen to the soft spoken man. He knows what he is talking about.
Here is his advice.
If you look at my splits, I took a pace of 3 miles per hour. It may have been a little faster If I had gone 25 to 26 miles so I did pace myself from the 4MPH stride I am accustomed to.
Sunrise was beautiful in the semi arid desert. There is a unique draw to the mysterious plains that makes me come back time and again.
I found it humorous that this old car was just before the maintenance sign.
It was necessary to walk through a part of Pueblo County I understand to be called called Belmont.
The people of Belmont were expressive in the decorations outside their houses, but were not so expressive in thier kindness to strangers.
Near here, a middle aged woman smokong a cigarette in her bathrobe let her German shepherd out on me. I spoke calmly to the dog and let it know that it would be a bad decision to bite me. The dog seemed to instinctively know something was up with my calmness and walked away. (I have a contingency plan for aggressive dogs.)
Thank you middle aged woman in bathrobe smoking a cigarette! You made an excellent first impression to this visitor to your fine community.
The picture below is a house titled, Redneck Paradise. It is hard to sew from this distance, and I wasn’t taking any chances getting a closer shot.
I initially planned on starting my hike closer to the center of Pueblo, Colorado. I was told the East Side is dangerous at all times of day. After all the hateful stares in Belmont, I think those in the East Side may have been more relaxing to encounter.
I took a break to adjust my gear as I felt a throb in my foot. I pulled off my shoe and noticed that there was a small piece of fabric missing in the exact same spot as the pain.
I utilized leukotape on my foot. There was no blister so I assumed it was a calcification that needed to be walked out, which is painful. A day later, the pain was mostly gone so It probably was something that needed walked out.
At this point I knew I would not complete all 35 miles.
I hiked out of Belmont and was relieved to find a watermelon house. It appeared abandoned, but was a refreshing sight.
From here on out, it was cholla and cactus.
Here and there was a gourd or two. I have tried them before and they are bitter. I do not think they are edible. I am sure they were utilized by North American Indians as storage containers. They are relatively durable.
Here are a few photos of my trip.
At mile 17, I realized I made a grave mistake. Roads are designed for water runoff to either side making a slight slope away from the center to prevent puddles. I had been walking on the left side of the road to see oncoming traffic. This made my right leg offset just enough to wear down the effectiveness of my knee. I stopped and put a brace on and it seemed to help a little. Walking on the other side was not an option as I discovered that Subaru lovers like to test their cars at high rates of speed on Overton Road.
I took several long breaks to try and recover. They seemed to help and I made decent time. I did notice that I had hit “the wall” at this point where your body switches energy sources to fat burn from carbs.
By mile 20, I had drank 2 of my 3 gallons of water. I could not seem to drink enough. I was sweating profusely and my urine was dark. I remembered that when I was on a keto diet that I needed a lot of electrolytes to function in ketosis. I had brought no salt or electrolytes. The more I drank, the more I wanted to vomit. Not once do I remember the wind blowing. It was hot.
Nevertheless, my morale was high. It was a personal challenge. I knew going in that I might not complete the trip and may have to call for a ride. This was a push to the limit.
I sang loudly “I’ll stand for Jesus”, “Give me that old time religion”, and made up marching cadences on the fly.
In all this dryness, It was a beautiful reprieve to see flowers in full bloom.
Sobering reality hit me. Life is short, and fleeting.
As I walked this difficult road, I watched this bird fall from the sky. By the time I walked up to it, insects were inside it’s beak looking for moisture. I thought of my own life and what I should be doing with it.
My body broke before my spirit did.
My pulse had been at a consistent 117 to 118 beats per minute the duration of my trip. I stopped sweating, began brathing heavily and my pulse dropped to 104. I self diagnosed heat exhaustion.
I immediately stopped and pulled out my umbrella to shade myself. The wind began to blow. Thank you Jesus. I needed that. I used about a quarter gallon of water on my neck gator and T- shirt under my button down shirt.
I did not want to waste my water so I used my sawyer squeeze as a squirt bottle. I rested for a while and tried to drink. Every swallow made me want to vomit. At this time, I called for a pickup in a half hour. I felt like a quitter and walked 2 more miles to prove to myself that I had grit. About an hour later, my ride arrived.
Looking back, there were a few things I could have done different. I carried 25 pounds of water because I could not confirm a reliable water source other than Fountain Creek. Due to it’s history, I would only filter water in the worst of emergencies. I should have brought Gatorade, salt, and sugary beverages to slow my descent into fat burning mode and dehydration.
Had I drove the route, I would have known there were stock tanks for livestock along the way. Given the hospitality of the ranchers, They may have run me off. To be honest, If I knew what I was going to go through first, I would never have done it. I think I could have plowed through this trail if I cached supplies along the way. That is almost cheating to me.
All things considered, I enjoyed the challenge. I would not recommend this trail to the inexperienced.
I would like to thank all the friends and family that encouraged excellence in me on my journey. You are the best in the World. Yes, that means you.