Lane and Lindsay are two Clean Trails volunteers hiking the Colorado Trail. They plan to provide us research on its condition, pick up along the way, encourage others they see to do the same, and most importantly to enjoy the splendor of the trail. They'll be blogging for us as they have the opportunity, here's their first entry…
We hike in Crocs…
I'm Lane (Bearhat in a former life) and I'm Lindsay (trail name to be determined). We are a late-20s-something couple from Florida who just moved to Denver, Colorado. Lane thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in summer 2012 in only 118 days; this will be Lindsay’s first long-distance hike.
When Lindsay and I moved to Colorado, we began searching for “the perfect job”. I was looking to get involved in the outdoor industry, but I wasn’t really sure what I meant by that. I didn’t know which type of company to pursue or which jobs to apply for. I’m still not sure. But in my search I came across CleanTrails and got in contact with the creators. CleanTrails is a volunteer organization with the mission to make all recreational trails cleaner through coordinated efforts, individual responsibility and through spreading the idea, the “movement”, to maintain clean trails for the enjoyment of everyone who loves the outdoors.
Don’t assume that we're being sponsored by CleanTrails in any way; we are sharing this on our own accord. This hike is an entirely selfish endeavor, attempted due to our own desire for the pain/pleasure that comes with existing in nature and hiking through mountains. But in an effort to slightly justify this irresponsible behavior that is escaping the mainstream and running around like a couple of damn banshees in the Colorado backcountry, if we can help CleanTrails spread their word and help protect the solitude and purity of an escape to nature, we’ll feel more like prophets than just part of the riffraff. We like that it’s a very simple idea: cleaner trails make nature more enjoyable. Leave no trace, clean up after ourselves, and help clean up after the uninformed.
"Once in towns, I plan on eating fresh produce (apples, GREENS, avocados!), but maybe I’ll be ravenous and smash some pizza with Bearhat."
I (Lindsay) follow a pretty strict, healthy, “pescetarian,” and “clean” diet. So, the first thought I had before this trip was, how would I continue eating this way on the trail? I rarely eat processed food and a restaurant meal is a treat. I used to be a strict vegan, but discovered through trial-and-error, that it was not the diet for me. My diet makes me feel good. I want to hike feeling good, right? So, I’m going to do the best I can to continue eating this way, though I know the nature of hiking means I’ll make some concessions for the sake of convenience and light-weight. As a result, I've spent a fair amount of time working on my trail menu, more on that later.
"You mean I struggled up every mountain on the east coast while the camp chair (Multi-tool, extra bowl, poo shovel, extra stakes, 75₵, etc.) got a free ride on my back?"
(Lane here) prior to hiking the Appalachian Trail, the longest camping trip I’d been on was five days. On shorter trips, you don’t fully appreciate the need for a lightweight pack. Hiking isn’t your life; this is a vacation and you want to enjoy it and if your pack weighs too much that’s alright, because you’ll be at your car in three days. But once you cross that line into long-distance hiking, hiking becomes your life. You are a professional walker and your job is to follow this path, wherever it may lead, until you find what you’re looking for. This is when a lightweight pack becomes a very good thing. We've done everything we can to lighten the load.
Oh yeah, we hike in Crocs, get over it!
They are the ultimate long-distance hiking shoe. The roomy interior allows the foot to spread out and the toes to grip. Very sticky rubber, 17.8 ounces for the pair, waterproof and a sole made of fluffy clouds. Give the feet what they want. The only problem was that the open back allows twigs and pebbles in, which means you either try to ignore it or stop and empty it out. Not anymore. I took it to another level and attached a pair of gaiters to the Crocs. ‘Who is that super hip hiker with the sunhat and the Crocs? Oh, that’s just Bearhat.’