On Wednesday, July 17, Hawkeye began a 400-mile backpacking journey from his front door in Mountain Village, Colorado. He plans to hike to Chama, New Mexico and back home through the Weminuche Wilderness of the San Juan mountains and the even more remote Southern San Juan mountains. This 40-day journey marks his fourth summer hiking the GoHawkeye San Juan Trail(GST) which has grown in length annually and this year has been extended by 100 miles to form a 400-mile loop.
“A connection to nature is essential to the quality of life for all of us. This helps to develop confidence, independence, and good health through physical and mental strength. These benefits are especially important for those living with a disability.” -Hawkeye
Once again this trek is the major fundraiser for the GoHawkeye Foundation. Last year’s hike raised $15,000 for athletes with disabilities and 99% went to provide adaptive sports equipment or sports experiences. Since it’s inception in 2014 GoHawkeye has helped 28 athletes and three organizations with grants totaling over $103,000. Hawkeye pays all his expenses for these fundraisers.
As usual, Hawkeye has a fly fishing rod to explore some of the many trout streams and lakes along the way. In addition, there are many historic relics and buildings from the bygone mining days in these mountains that make up the San Juan Volcanic Field. Hawkeye is doing resupply in the towns of Silverton, Lake City and Pagosa Springs, Colorado, and Chama, New Mexico. To make a donation pledge per mile or donate a specific amount go HERE.
The GoHawkeye Foundation is an all-volunteer based non-profit organization. We are proud of the fact that 95% of your contribution dollars go to help adaptive athletes purchase sports equipment or participate in an adaptive sporting experience. Adaptive off-road hand cycles can cost up to $10,000 and a sit ski can be almost as much. Our goal is to raise $25,000 and we need your support by donating whatever you can no matter the amount because it all adds up. Our mission is changing lives and we need your help.
2019 Hike Route
START (MOUNTAIN VILLAGE, CO): Ridge trail➦See Forever trail➦Wasatch Connection➡︎Wasatch trail(508)➦x/c behind Lewis Lake➡︎x/c over ridge➥Columbine Lake-➥Columbine Lake trail(509)➡︎Rt. 550➦Brooklyn trail(825)➦x/c ridgeline south➥Niagara gulch➥Cement Creek(110)⇥SILVERTON, CO resupply➦110 to 52 Arrastra Creek➦Arrastra Basin Silver Lake➦Little Giant Peak➥Cunningham(502)➡︎CDT(813 North)➡︎Stony Pass➡︎CDT(813)➥Wagner Gulch Rd.⇥LAKE CITY, CO resupply➦Wagner Gulch Rd.➥Lost Trail(821)⇥Lost Trail CG➥Road 550⇥Thirty Mile CG➡︎Trail(814)➦CDT(813 South)➦Wolf Creek Pass⇥PAGOSA SPRINGS, CO resupply➦CDT(813 South)➥Rt.17 Cumbres Pass⇥CHAMA, NM resupply➦CDT(813 North)➦Blue Lake➦Three Forks trail(719)➦Conejos River➡︎ Platoro Reservoir➡︎Adams Fork trail(713)➡︎CDT(813 North)➦Wolf Creek Pass⇥PAGOSA SPRINGS, CO resupply➦CDT(813 North)➦Snowslide Canyon trail(653)➥Los Pinos River trail(523)➥Flint Ck trail(527)➡︎Rock Ck. trail(655)➦Vallecito Creek trail(529)➦CDT(813 North)➦Highland Mary Lakes➡︎Whitehead trail(674)➡︎Kendal Mtn. Rd.⇥SILVERTON, CO resupply ➦Cement Creek(110)➦Niagara Gulch➡︎x/c ridge line➡︎US Basin Rd. (825)➡︎Highway 550➦Red Mtn. Pass Rd. (823)➡︎Black Bear Pass➥FINISH (TELLURIDE, CO)
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High Altitude Hiking Tips
1. Understand the risks of high-altitude hiking.
Do some general research on the differences between Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE), and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE). Understand what a “sick person” at altitude looks like, and be prepared to take action if you or members of your team experience these symptoms.
- AMS is the mildest form of altitude sickness and unfortunately feels very similar to a hangover. You may experience a headache, nausea, or feel exhausted. If you notice any of these symptoms, heed warning that they could predict a larger risk to HAPE or HACE.
- HAPE occurs when liquid seeps into your lungs and feels like you just had the wind knocked out of you. You may also cough up a frothy foam, which means it’s time to turn around and descend as quickly as possible.
- HACE causes confusion and incoordination. If your speech is slurring and you find yourself stumbling, you are close to death and immediate descent is imperative.
2. Fitness is key.
- Do your training hikes with a weighted pack. 40 lbs. at sea level is going to feel a lot heavier (try double) once you venture above 10,000 feet. You’ll be giving yourself a break in the long run if you stuff your backpack with water, weights, or other heavy objects when you train at home.
- Run stairs and hills. The calf-burners and glute-tearers you feel when hiking and running work completely different muscle groups. Switch up your workouts by adding as much elevation as you can. Training in San Francisco? Do sprints up steep hills or staircases. Stuck in a flat desert with no uphill training ground? Hit the gym and spend some time on the Stairmaster. No matter where you are, there’s no excuse to not having the right physical preparation.
- Get as high as possible beforehand. If you have easy access to a mountain range, slowly build your body up to higher elevations, gaining 1,000 ft. each training weekend. Starting small is also fine, too – doing aerobic exercises above 3,000 ft. will still adjust your body to working with less oxygen in your blood.
3. Fuel yourself.
It may be difficult to remind yourself, but you’ll need to be prepared to eat and drink more than usual at high altitude. Your muscles are burning energy more quickly, and your body will need more calories and H2O to properly function. This is no environment for diets. Load your pack up with sugar and carbohydrate-loaded snacks like jerky, chocolate, hard candies, and other high-calorie treats.
4. Prepare to brave the elements.
Naturally prone to sunburns? Then don’t skimp on the SPF when you’re at high altitude. Sunshine, wind, and temperature reach their extremes up high. Bring the right gear and prepare to pack total face protection from the sun, wind-resistant and waterproof clothing, and extra hand warmers, thermal gloves, and wool socks to guard your body against the inhospitable mountain environment.
5. Bring first aid backups.
It’s impossible to predict how your body will be affected by high altitude before you go. If it’s your first time ascending thousands of vertical feet, play it safe and carry along an altitude aid. One of the most popular altitude medications, Diamox, is commonly prescribed for treks above 8,000 ft. Be sure to also pack ibuprofen, cough drops, and over-the-counter indigestion pills in case things get less than pleasant.
6. Know your limits.
Visit your doctor before embarking on a trek in the mountains. Make sure you don’t have any lingering illnesses or undiscovered ailments that may hinder your success up high. Most importantly, be prepared to turn around if you’re not feeling well. An annoying headache or minor chest pain could be the symptom of something much worse, and you don’t want to test your body’s ability to self-preserve when you’re miles far and meters high away from safety.
7. Take it slow.
Don’t rush your way out of a successful trip. Your body will naturally feel slower at high altitude, so go along with it. Nothing can truly prepare your body for the thin mountain air other than actually being there – so when you do get your chance – take your time and enjoy the adventure.