Unplugged in the Rockies

I decided to celebrate my 63rd birthday by doing something challenging and unique by hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Colorado. So, I took the California Zephyr to Glenwood Springs then a bus to Aspen to begin my journey back to Glenwood Springs on the trail. My goal was to *unplug and hike the 42 plus miles in 3 days, camping along the way. No internet. No cell service. No downloaded movies. Just 3 days to enjoy nature, the beautiful scenery and breathe the clean fresh mountain air.

Roaring Forks River

My adventure started by taking me by the John Denver Sanctuary then following the Roaring

Forks River out of Aspen. After about 7 miles I arrived at Wood Creek and decided to get off the trail to have lunch at the local tavern. The burger was delicious and the ice-cold water never tasted better! I got a pulled pork sandwich to go and pushed on another 11 miles before I found a nice camp spot next to the Roaring Forks River.

John Denver Sanctuary in Aspen
View of Pyramid Peak from the Trail

Close Encounters

After setting up my tent, I crashed early before the sun went down. The 18 miles on the trail today wore me out. Around 3:00am I woke up to coyotes howling. They sounded close and were getting louder. As I unzipped my sleeping bag and turned to look up, a coyote peaked his head into my tent scaring the heck out of me! I had left my flap open so he could have walked right in. I yelled as the coyote took off like a bat outta hell. Now the pack was howling even more, and I could hear them shuffling along the ridge above my tent. I decided to break camp quickly and get the heck out of there. I hiked about a hour by the moonlight before stopping to have that pulled pork sandwich for breakfast. But in my hastiness, I left it back at my campsite. I hope my coyote friends enjoyed it!


My 2nd day started off early in the darkness but turned into a beautiful summer day to be on the trail with temps in the 70's, beautiful blue skies and bright sunshine. As I was approaching a bend in the trail, I could hear something ahead off the trail ruffling through the bushes. Once I got around the bend, I could see a yearling black bear ahead on the trail walking slowly towards me. I stopped and watched as the young bear went into the trees briefly then back onto the trail. This happened several times as I watch anxiously from about 100 feet away. The young bear was probably not still hanging with mama bear but if she were around, she would be in protective mode, so I waited cautiously. Finally, the playful bear disappeared into the trees and I decide to move on. The next few miles were probably some of the most anxious times I've had on the trail wondering if my new friend and mama might be around the next corner!

Campsite by the Roaring Forks River
I Saw this Sign Right After I Saw My Friend

Around noon, I decided to stop to rest and take a nap along the river. I feel asleep then a loud crack of thunder woke