This was another reserve day, in case of unforeseen problems. But as everything turned out perfect, I had a day of rest and relaxation. Hoped to try some whitewater kayaking, but unfortunately, due to the drought in the area, the river was too low and no water sports were possible. So I just checked out Durango and bought some souvenirs. I couldn’t find a Colorado Trail t-shirt anywhere, despite the handful of stores selling custom t-shirts.
Met Tyler in the afternoon. He’s the hiker that I met on the trail some days ago. On the nasty sections, his average speed was the same as mine – I would be faster on the downhill, but he would catch up on the uphill, while I struggled pushing the
beast bike. Had dinner at Carver Brewing. Tried their very good Pine River Double IPA. They also serve a complimentary Colorado Trail Nut Brown Ale to CT finishers – it’s a lighter, more refreshing beer, but not my style.
Took all the bags off Kenosha. Whooaa.. It looks so weird, so skinny.. It’s also a lot lighter, OMG!
Q: How much does it cost?
A: If you’re not from the US, the plain ticket is the main expense. Once there, your spending can vary a lot, depending on your style. Accommodations range from $30 for a bunk bed in a hostel to over $100 for a hotel room per night. For example, in Buena Vista or Durango there are no hostels, so travelling with somebody else (or splitting the room with hikers/bikers met on the trail) helps. Food can also vary a lot. Are you OK with $1 Knorr rice packets or do you want $8-$13 dehydrated food? Do you eat a lot at restaurants in towns or are you OK with supermarket food?
Q: How do you get back from Durango to Denver?
A: Several options. There are direct flights – probably most expensive option. You could try hitchhiking. I’ve heard there are online groups for carpooling. I went for the car rental option. Biked to Durango’s airport (24 km away), got a car and drove it to Denver’s airport. Total cost – $160. But at least I got to split it with Tyler.
Q: What should I pack?
A: My intro article on the CT covert most of this. Here are some useful stuff:
- A sleeping bag for cold weather. Mine was good down to around freezing. Other people pack something even warmer.
- Cold weather clothes. I had a down jacket and a pair of gloves. Didn’t took long pants, but had a pair of good leg warmers.
- Rain clothes. A jacket with 20000 membrane for all day biking in the rain. A pair of rain paints. Got little rain – I was lucky.
- Hand sanitizer or wet tissues – useful when you’re dry camping.
- Full bike repair kit.
- General repair kit – had duct tape, small sewing kit, zip ties, superglue.
- A rope – Bears can be found on the trail. If you’d rather not have a bear go through your bags or tent looking for food, secure it a few meters up a tree.
- Tent – I carried a one person ultralight tent (700 gr). I’ve seen people just pack a tarp and ground sheet. Whatever you fancy. Didn’t encounter any mosquitoes or particularly pesky insects on the trail.
- Comfort item. Have something that lifts your spirit when you need it. What worked for me were movies on my phone.
Q: Are there many people on the trail?
A: You’ll meet 5-20 people each day.
Q: How do you fly with your bike?
A: I use cardboard boxes. You can find them in bike shops. You’ll have to remove at least the front wheel and handlebars. Make sure everything is packed safely inside the box. I try to line the bike with more cardboard and other gear items, so it’s protected. The price to take your bike on a flight can vary depending on the airline and on your particular flights. For me, it was $105 for the whole Denver-Bucharest trip.
It’s very likely TSA will inspect the box – they’ll open it, look at everything inside, then leave a note and close it back up. If you feel like it, leave a couple chocolate chip cookies in the box for them. I didn’t. TSA, if you’re reading this: Stop going through my stuff! Not nice.
In order to easily carry the bike box through airports, I built a wheeled platform using parts from a bricolage store. Based on this guide. Cost was about $10 or something like that. Worth it.