It is 2:30 in the afternoon and we are in a tent waiting out the afternoon thunderstorm. Several mountain bikers and other thru hikers are hunkered down here at Tank Seven Creek.
The water is a little murky and goes through a marshy area but it is the last water for the next 11 miles and was the first water for the last 12 miles. Thirteen miles is where we are calling it good for the day. Sometimes you have to manage to water and a threatening thunderstorm seals the deal.
The volcanic mountain ranges have a different feel and look to them. Dark and more rounded, they are more foreboding than the jagged and glaciated Collegiate Peaks which we came through. We hike through several phases of volcanic rocks: andesite, banded rhyolite, and tuffs.
Despite the geology being great and fascinating, segments 15 and 16 have not been my favorite. Part of 15 and most of 16 are shared with dirt bikes. I am a believer in multiple use of public lands (if managed properly) and have appreciated the shared nature of the Colorado Trail. We have seen horses, mountain bikers, thru hikers, and hikers with dogs. It is nice to see people sharing and using the trail in different ways. This is very different from the John Muir Trail that we did last summer. The John Muir Trail went through National Parks and Wilderness Areas so was limited to hikers only.
But, I have to say, sharing the trail with dirt bikes takes it to a whole different level. I don’t think it is a good idea to have motorized and non-motorized users on a single-track trail. Today we saw 16 dirt bikes on the trail. They come whipping around the bend, are noisy, intrusive, create deep ruts in the trail after a rain, and create a hazard for other users.
Maybe it’s because I worked in transportation for part of my career but I am cringing. What will happen when the mountain bikers come charging in the other direction, horse packing group on the trail…and here come the dirt bikes. Whoa, it seems like an accident waiting to happen. I am a believer in multiple use but keep it separated between motorized and non-motorized.