There's a lot to be said for human interaction. Colorado Springs resident Tim McElderry realized that last summer as he tackled the 500-mile Colorado Trail in a solo trek.
McElderry, 55, had retired that spring, and planned the trip as a post-retirement gift to himself. He set out in August, traveling at a steady pace - his best day was about 19 1/2 hours; other days were more like 11 hours. "My time would vary, depending on the availability of water, where I was going to camp, and the weather conditions above treeline."
It didn't take long for McElderry to recognize his need for human interaction. "I would go about four days, and then, just be kind of done," he says. He wasn't defeated by the physical effort required - he has climbed the 100 tallest peaks in Colorado and earlier this year did a rim-to-rim-to-rim trip in the Grand Canyon.
"I just realized I was having trouble be alone all that time."
So he would hike for a few days, then get a ride home. Later, if the opportunity arose, he would get a ride to where he left the trail and continue on. "Finally, I just realized it wasn't going to happen for me."
This time around, he feels ready. He'll leave Saturday and get a ride to Spring Creek Pass, between Lake City and Creede. He'll travel into the Weniminuche Wilderness Area, over Molas Pass and down to Durango, about 123 miles. Watch for the blog for news on his progress.