Long Distance Isolation Hike

Long Distance Isolation Hike

July 10, 2020 Off By Craig Stein

“There were days between Summer flies and August dies …”

– Jerry Garcia & Robert Hunter

Forty days and 400 miles of isolation in Mother Nature is just what the mind and body need during this stressful period in our lives. The term Quarantine actually derives from spending forty days in isolation. Look it up! Fortunately, for us here at the GoHawkeye Foundation, we live in a place where it is very simple to access a backpack hike of this magnitude, just by stepping out the front door.

On July 15, 2020, Hawkeye will begin the fifth annual hike of this route which he pioneered through the mountains of southwest Colorado. Each year he has reversed the direction and added new territory and mileage. The GoHawkeye San Juan Trail traverses the mountainous San Juan Volcanic Field and extends from Telluride/Mountain Village, Colorado to Chama, New Mexico and back. Forty days, or as many as possible, in a beautiful and rugged wilderness, might be just the type of isolation everyone needs.

Once again this trek is the major annual fundraiser for the GoHawkeye Foundation. Hawkeye pays all his expenses for these long distance hikes. Last year’s hike raised $15,000 for athletes with disabilities and 95% went to provide adaptive sports equipment or sports experiences. Since it’s inception in 2014 GoHawkeye has helped 53 athletes of all ages and seven organizations with grants totaling over $160K.

As usual, Hawkeye packs 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 extensive San Juan Volcanic Field. The average elevation of this route is 10,500 feet. Hawkeye will be resupplying in the towns of Ouray, Lake City, Creede, Pagosa Springs and Silverton, Colorado, and Chama, New Mexico.

Durable & lightweight gear for backpacking.

Hawkeye is sponsored by Six Moon Designs and will be using their FUSION 65 backpack, SKYSCAPE TREKKER tent plus other lightweight and durable equipment they offer, for this epic hike.

Recent GoHawkeye equipment grant recipient Gerritt Schaffer. 

The GoHawkeye Foundation is an all-volunteer based non-profit organization located in Telluride, Colorado. 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. We help pay for racing wheelchairs, ice hockey sleds and other adaptive sport mobility devices as well as competitive and recreational experiences for athletes with disabilities. 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 you can help!

“My annual long distance hiking is one of our major fundraisers for GoHawkeye Foundation equipment and experience grants that help adaptive athletes and organizations across the United States. Please help us do this by donating per mile or a set amount. Your funds go directly to our program and I pay my own expenses. Please donate now. Thank you!” Hawkeye

GoHawkeye San Juan Trail(GST) | Continental Divide Trail(CDT) | San Juan Volcanic Field

The 400-Mile GoHawkeye San Juan Trail Map & Route Description

START (MOUNTAIN VILLAGE/TELLURIDE, COLORADO): Deep Creek Trail 418 ➡︎ Whipple Mt. Trail 419 ➡︎ Alder Creek Trail 510 ➡︎ Dallas Trail 200 ➡︎ County Rd. 14 & Ouray resupply ➡︎ FS 871 ➡︎ Horsethief Trail 215 ➡︎ Ridge Stock Driveway Trail 233 ➡︎ Saddle Trail 140 ➡︎ Matterhorn cut off Trail 245 ➡︎ Trail 233 ➡︎ Crystal Lake Trail 235 ➡︎ FS 236 ➡︎ Lake City resupply ➡︎ CDT tr. 813 N ➡︎ Miners Creek Trail 803 ➡︎ Creede resupply ➡︎ Deep Creek Trail 806 ➡︎  FS 258 ➡︎ Roaring Fork Trail 807 ➡︎ Goose Creek Trail 827 ➡︎ Sawtooth Trail 828 ➡︎ CDT tr. 813 S ➡︎ Wolf Creek Pass & Pagosa Springs resupply.➡︎Wolf Creek Pass ➡︎ CDT tr. 813 S ➡︎ North Fork Trail 714 ➡︎ Three Forks Trail 712 ➡︎ El Rito Azul Trail 728 ➡︎ CDT tr.813 S ➡︎ Cumbres Pass & Chama resupply ➡︎ CDT tr. 813 N ➡︎ Canon Verde Trail 726 ➡︎ South Fork Trail 724 W ➡︎ Canon Rincon Trail 722 ➡︎ Twin Lakes Trail 720 ➡︎ Tobacco Lake Trail 715 ➡︎ Lake Fork Trail 716 ➡︎ Platoro Reservoir & Fishing Camp resupply ➡︎ FS 247 ➡︎ Adams Fork Trail 713 ➡︎ CDT tr. 813 N ➡︎ Wolf Creek Pass & Pagosa Springs resupply ➡︎ CDT tr. 813 N ➡︎ Cimarrona Creek Trail 586 ➡︎ Hossick Lake/Creek Trail 585 ➡︎ Weminuche Trail 592 ➡︎ Divide Lakes Trail 539 ➡︎ Pine River Trail 523 S ➡︎ Emerald Lake Trail 528 ➡︎ Rock Creek Trail 655 W ➡︎ Valecito Trail 529 N ➡︎ CDT tr. 813 N ➡︎ Highland Mary Lakes Trail 606 ➡︎ Whitehead Trail 674 ➡︎ Deer Park Road ➡︎ Kendall Mt. Road ➡︎ Silverton resupply ➡︎ Rt. 110 N ➡︎ Niagra Gulch Trail ➡︎ Ridgeline N ➡︎ Brooklyn Trail 825 ➡︎ Rt. 550 ➡︎ Columbine Lake Trail 509 ➡︎ Lewis Lake ➡︎ Wasatch Trail 508 ➡︎ Wasatch Connection ➡︎ See Forever Trail FINISH (MOUNTAIN VILLAGE/TELLURIDE, COLORADO)

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.

 “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