Colorado Trail Day 25: Cow Shit Camp becomes Cow Paddies A Plenty

We got lots of rain last night at “Cow Shit Camp”. Getting in late after walking in the rain for a few hours was tough. Then we couldn’t find a good camping spot under the trees along the meadow because there was cow shit everywhere.
Sunrise at camp near Ant Creek

Dealing with adverse conditions while out backpacking made me think of my Dad. My Dad passed away from melanoma cancer and Parkinson’s Disease this past April. I was lucky to have parents who took me, my sister and two brothers out on camping trips. My Dad was a professor and had time off in the summer. We would pile into the VW van and head west from Ohio where I grew up. For several weeks we would go on 5 to 6 day backpacking trips and clean up at KOA campgrounds between our trips. Several of those trips were in the high Colorado Rockies so it probably is no coincidence I am here now.

Multi-use on the Colorado Trail includes backpackers (in this case me), trail runners, and horse packers – all in the same picture!

We had some trying times on our backpacking trips growing up but they were great life lessons. For many years we did not have a tent and my Dad would take great pleasure in different ways to tie up a tarp (really just a large sheet of plastic) for us to sleep under. We had to huddle under the tarp in some intense storms but Dad would always have us sing songs or play games to keep our spirits up.

Cochetopa Creek in Segment 19 of the Colorado Trail
So, last night when I was cold, wet and standing in cowshit, I thought to myself keep your spirits up and something good will come out of this.  That is what my Dad taught me. This morning we were rewarded: we had the most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen. Cow shit camp is now Cow Paddies A Plenty. Some would say it is my Dad speaking to me through the sunrise. I don’t know. What I do know is I found my silver lining and the clouds really put on a show.
Crossing the only required ford on the Colorado Trail at Cochetopa Creek. It was a pretty easy ford in mid July.
Spectacular sunrise at Cow Paddies A Plenty camp
This sunrise will not be forgotten! It blew me away.
Just the Facts

Total Miles: 14.7
Cumulative Miles: 332.9
Trail Segments: 19 and 20
Camp Elevation: 10516 feet, above Cochetopa Creek in the La Garita Wilderness
Elevation Gain:   feet
Elevation Loss:  feet
Weather: partly cloudy in the morning, sunny and hot, then afternoon showers starting at 4pm

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