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Colorado Adventure August 2008
August 2008. What a great month to be in Colorado. I like to backpack and take photos. In 2007, when I did my backpack trip out
July and set out on a 13 day solo trip. I think it rained on at least 12 of those days.. It did not rain all day, each day, but it rained
from about 3:00 PM till midnight. There were other rain spells during the day, but mostly it was evenings. So, in 2008, I tried for
August, to avoid the rain. Perfect. Only had rain a couple times and that was for very short periods of time. The weather for the rest
of the trip was just awesome. On this adventure trip, I visited a friend in Colorado Springs for one night, then headed west the next
day. My first stop was Garden of the Gods, from there I continued west to Slumgullion Campground, just south of Lake City. I
chose this campground because of the elevation, which is over 11,000 feet. There I would spend two nights getting acclimated to
the higher elevations. From this campground, on August 10, I moved into the United Campground in Durango. There I had access
to showers, electric outlets, laundry, etc. This would be my last chance to get everything together before setting out on a 14 day
solo backpack. I got my laundry taken care of rather easily, but took forever to recharge all my batteries. I think there was 30 of
them.
For those who want to know, I use Energizer 2500 milliamp batteries for all my camera gear. On this trip I was carrying my Canon
A95 Powershot. It did a great job for me, but I was afraid it was not going to make it to the end of the trip. It was struggling to do its
job towards the end of the trip. And as a side note, it is now retired. It is completely worn out.. I had(have) a five year warranty on it
March 2005. I figured I had gotten my moneys worth out of it. In 2009, I will be going back for another 14 day trip, and I will be
carrying the replacement camera, which is much heavier.. It is a Canon SX1-IS. I chose the first camera and this one for the
swingout monitor on the back of the camera. This is the best thing going for my kind of photos.
On the morning of August 11, I ate breakfast, showered, did all the bathroom stuff and started packing my backpack the way it
would be for the trip. While doing so, I got to thinking about how old some of the gear was, like my stove. But, I had a new one in
the car, so I elected to get it out, set it up and see if it worked. It did. So it became the stove for the trip. The old one is still good,
but I will use it on trips closer to home where failure is not as big of a deal. There was also the issue of the water filter.. I had a new
one in the car and at the last minute, I elected to take it, even if the one I had would have done the job. After all the rearranging, I
was packed and off to the trail head north of Bayfield, and north of Vallecito. There is a parking lot at the Vallecito Campground.
I generally get a fairly early start on the first trail day, but not today. Too many things to do, and too far to drive this morning. But at
last I was ready to go. I took all my memory shots, locked up the car and set out to on trip. I would be back in 14 days. I started on
August 11, and would return on August 24.
For those who want to know, I carried a plastic map made and sold by National Geographic. These are better known as Trails
Illustrated maps. One nearly every trip, I buy a new map and use it to write my diary on as I travel. This then becomes my souvenir.
For the people who know me, I am known for taking a lot of photos, and this is true for this trip. I took a lot of photos and on this
website I will be sharing a lot of those photos. Some people say I take too many, but I do this for serveral reasons. The first is that
when I started researching for backpacking trips, I would find articles with one or two photos and lots of words.. I never learned
much from that. So, I decided that if I ever got a camera, again, I would say a lot fewer words and share a lot more photos so
people could see what is really there. This brings me to another reason i share so many photos. I have a lot of friends who are
photographers, and they like to see the same thing from several different views, trying to decide which is better, I guess. Then I
have friends who for any number of reasons will never be able to go to the places  I go, and do the things I do. This is as close as I
can get to taking them there. I have heard it said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and guess that is true, but it is also true
that a thousand pictures is worth one word, beautiful.
While I was on this backpack trip, I wrote notes on my map, to help my memory when I am older and am looking back on this. The
writing on the map is kind of scribbled, and could not be read by the average person. But since I thought some might like to know
what I wrote, I went back and typed up all the notes and will be sharing those here as well.
There are several ways I could have presented this material, and I may change it around later, but for now you get to read the diary
and then see the slideshow.
Note, if you are like most people, you will wonder how much my pack weighed. I did not weight it this time, but I would guess it to
be between 80 and 90 pounds when I started. Each day it would get 1.5 pounds lighter. Many years ago I learned from my good
friend Ron, who is a backpacker and was a co-worker, that the best way to pack food for a trip like this was to lay out a one gallon
zip-lock bag for each day you planned to be gone, then add one more for the backup. For a 14 day trip, I carry a fifteen day supply
of food. After many years of experiment, the following works great for me. In each bag I put one Mountain House Granola
breakfast, three Cliff bars, One (2 serving size) Mountain House dinner pack, and four tea bags. When you use these products,
you have to have the right spoon to eat them with. For this, I have the REI titanium long handle spoon to reach in the bags. Works
great.. I also carry aboout 2 ounces of Mrs. Dash to add to the dinner packs.. After I have been gone a few days, I crave spices. My
14 day supply of food weighs amost 23 pounds. Then, I add my MSR whisper light stove and about 50 ounces of fuel, an MSR
Sweatwater water filter. Two Nalgene water bottles and two Nalgene water bladders. I carry a Western Mountaineers Antelope
sleeping bag, with over fill on the down. I use a z-rest sleeping pad, and I use a Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight tent. My pack is a
7000 cubic inch Dana Astroplane. Later I will try to provide the complete list of items I carry and tell you why.. After this many years,
everything has a story......  Lets get to the photos and the stories.  The photos are in slideshow form.

                

Garden of the Gods  .............................................. August 7
Slumgullion Campground ....................................... August 8/9         
Creede and United Campground.............................August 10
Backpack Trip
Day 1...............................August 11
Day 2...............................August 12
Day 3...............................August 13
Day 4...............................August 14
Day 5...............................August 15
Day 6...............................August 16
Day 7...............................August 17
Day 8...............................August 18
Day 9...............................August 19
Day 10.............................August 20
Day 11.............................August 21
Day 12.............................August 22
Day 13.............................August 23
Day 14.............................August 24
A window in Tom's universe.
This is more than a website of photos, it is a place to
information. I hope you enjoy the time you spend here.
Tom Ballard Photography