Desert Southwest (CO,AZ,UT,NM), Trip Reports » Section 3 Colorado Trail


I wanted to know what the road into Bailey was like, so I parked at the beginning of Section 3 at 10 am.  The map said it was 20 miles to Bailey, and for me that could mean between 4 to 5 hours.  My plan was to get to Bailey, eat something fulfilling, and then ride back to the CT where I would find a nice place to camp.

Since my last outing, I decided that more water was important, so I started out with 225 oz. instead of 150 oz.  Other changes included more bag space in the frame so I could move the first aid kit, but I lost 1 waterbottle spot.

It took 3.5 hours to get to Bailey *at a medium pace* and there is alot of downhill from FS560 to town.  I ate a bacon cheeseburger at the Knotty Pine and checked out their snack selection (not bad).  I thought the return trip would be terrible, but the hills seemed to be over with quickly.

At 5:45 I found myself at Buffalo Creek, 12 miles from Bailey, and only 8 miles from my truck.  I kept going since I wasn’t very tired.  There was a water source only 1.5 miles past my truck, so I decided to refill there and find a camping spot somewhere at the end of Section 2.  This part of the CT is treeless because of a fire 15 years ago, but I figured there would at least be a decent spot.

At 7:30, after some wandering around, I didn’t find this water source.  Darkness was closing in, and being only a couple miles from my truck, I decided to pack it in and call it a day.

Though not a “bikepacking” trip, I did ride/push a fully loaded bike for 45 miles over 10.5 hours.  Section 3 was definitely easier for me than the first 2, and having the means to stop whenever I wanted brought me further than I’d ever been.

Water is not really a concern on the CT.  I never used more than 100 oz. at once, so the 225 oz. was overkill.  For the future, I think that high water capacity will be important, but I will never miss that 4-6 extra pounds on my back.

I didn’t bring a stove this time, and had I actually slept on the ground, I would really have enjoyed a hot meal.  Something lower volume might be in order, although the Jetboil is pretty slick…

I’ve read on other peoples’ reports that the kit refining is unending and I couldn’t agree more.  This trip my bike weighed 42 pounds with 3200 calories of food and my pack weighed 15 pounds with 200 oz. water.  Overall, 2 pounds less than my last trip, but at the end of a long day things start to feel really heavy…

Pictured is the gear show:  18 pounds, not counting food or water.

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