July 3, 2017
We had approximately four miles left of Segment 3 to finish up this morning. Tracy, one of our very amazing trail parents, was going to meet us at the end of the segment with the supplies we would need to carry for the next five days. The plan was then to continue onto Segment 4 for another 10-12 miles before calling it a day and setting up camp.
We were very lucky to have so much support throughout our whole ride. Five days was the longest consecutive time we would have to spend on trail without support every 1-3 days. This means the first day of our five day resupply would be the heaviest for our pack horse.
Our Pack Horses
For five riders, we decided only to take one pack horse for the whole group. We did not want to exceed 10 stock animals for the trail, nor did we have a need for extra horses. We went into this trail with an ultralight backpacking mindset. Lightweight, minimalist gear to keep our carried weight low. Plus, the great support we received on trail with our frequent resupplies helped A LOT!
The pack horse was there to carry our “group supplies.” This included the tents, our group’s breakfasts and dinners, and the horse feed. We carried our personal gear on our riding horses – so things like our sleeping bag, pad, clothes, snacks, etc… To lessen the load that the pack horse would have to carry, we often times distributed some of the horses grain onto our riding horses, when necessary.
There were three horses that we rotated as “pack horse” – Zeus, Sam, and Fireball. A big thanks to Lissa for all the hard work put into conditioning and training all three of the pack horses! And a thank you for Lissa and Annie for both rotating out leading the pack horses, because that was a job in itself.
Segment 4 gave us our official introduction to the climbs that we would be facing on the Colorado Trail. Up until this point, the trail has been fairly “easy.”
The first seven miles of Segment 4 gains over 2,000 ft in elevation. We finally reached 10,000 ft for the first time and will pretty much stay above 10,000 ft for the remainder of the trip down to Durango.
The trail started off on an old logging road until we took a turn onto a single track trail. This single track trail was extremely rocky and steep. We were happy to gain the saddle and start a slight descent into the most beautiful valley. This valley was huge! Approximately 6 miles of trail was traveling through this valley.
We found the perfect camping spot toward the end of the valley. There was plenty of grass and water along this section of the trail. It was really one of those perfect spots to camp with the horses.