OK, now I am getting excited. I received word today that, except for a few minor snowfields, the Collegiate West Trail is relatively snow-free. So, the plan is an early Monday morning drive to the start of the trail, which is near Twin Lakes, and I'll be on my way. The actual start and end points of the Collegiate West trail are not at road intersections but at trail intersections with the main Colorado Trail, so I'll be hiking another ten miles or so to get to and then leave the Collegiate West Trail. What's another ten miles, I'm thinking!
The first 35 miles have some healthy climbs over Hope Pass and Lake Ann Pass, both over 12,500', with about 8500' of altitude gain, so I'll be huffing it right off the bat. But I am psyched. I've been getting my gear together, making a list and checking it twice. Once I'm out there, if I forgot something, I'll have to do without. That's actually one of the things I love about backpacking - I take only what I need, I carry it all on my back, and then I'm on my own. If I don't have something, I use my head and figure out how to get by. Truly a back-to-basics kind of experience. Helene reminded me to look at this video that I made at the end of Segment 27 - yes, I'm excited.