Hiking and Backcountry Safety (Part 8)

Hiking and Backcountry Safety   Itinerary  12 miles Start: Berthoud Pass (James Peak W.)      Finish:  Rogers Pass Trail (James Peak W.)  Actual Hike 12 miles  Start: Berthoud Pass (James Peak W.)    Finish:  Rogers Pass Trail (James Peak W.) Gaia Track Kent Gruetzmacher September 16, 2020  Last week in the Pfiffner Traverse series, I reflected on the positive experience I had after canceling the original itinerary for my hike. I this week’s installment we will look at my last day on the route, which wound up being an awesome day hike with my girlfriend and our dog. We enjoyed clear skies …

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Hiking and the Ego (Part 7)

Hiking and the Ego Itinerary  18 miles Start: Grouseberry Campground (RMNP)      Finish: Timber Creek Trail  (RMNP)   Actual Hike 9.75 miles  Start: Lake Verna (RMNP) Finish: East Inlet Trail (RMNP) Gaia Track Kent Gruetzmacher September 15, 2020  On the last installment of the Pfiffner Traverse Series, I described a very challenging hiking day on the route that eventually motivated me to abandon my original itinerary. This week, we will look into my last day backpacking on the trip, as well as the internal dialogue I experienced when I decided to “call it quits.” Not only did this trip challenge my physical …

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Value of a Flexible Hiking Plan (Part 6)

Day 3 Pfiffner Traverse: The Value of a Flexible Hiking Plan  Itinerary  18.3 miles  Start: Island Lake (Indian Peaks W.)     Finish: Grouseberry Campground (RMNP)   Actual Hike 12.59 miles  Start: Gourd Lake (Indian Peaks W.)  Finish: Lake Verna (RMNP) Gaia Track Kent Gruetzmacher September 14, 2020  Last week on the Pfiffner Traverse Series, we examined the continued deterioration of my hiking itinerary for the trip in September 2020. In this installment, I focus on the challenging experiences of a day on the Pfiffner Traverse primary route, as well as my decision-making process in the face of continued adversities. In the end, …

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The Ambivalence of Mother Nature (Part 5)

Day 2 Pfiffner Traverse: The Ambivalence of Mother Nature  Itinerary  16.6 miles  Start: Caribou Lake (Indian Peaks W.)    Finish: Island Lake (Indian Peaks W.) Actual Hike  16.22 miles Start: Columbine Lake (Indian Peaks W.) Finish: Gourd Lake Trail (Indian Peaks W.) Gaia Track Kent Gruetzmacher September 13, 2020  In the last installment of the Pfiffner Traverse Series, I discussed my first day hiking on the route. In this post, I will look more in-depth at the challenging conditions of the hike that arose due to the wind storm which ravaged the area. Throughout the day, the ambivalence of mother nature …

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Risk Assessment in Hiking (Part 4)

Day 1 Pfiffner Traverse: Risk Assessment in Hiking Itinerary  16.5 miles  Start: Rogers Pass Trail (James Peak W.) Finish: Caribou Lake (Indian Peaks W.) Actual Hike  12.92 miles Start: Rogers Pass Trail (James Peak W.) Finish: Columbine Lake (Indian Peaks W.)  Gaia Track Kent Gruetzmacher September 12, 2020 Last week’s Pfiffner Traverse Series post dealt with the unique conditions of the route during September 2020. This week, I will discuss the first day of my trip and my initial experiences with risk assessment in hiking on the Piffner Traverse.  The difficulty of my chosen hike became further apparent on the …

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The Pfiffner Traverse in September 2020 (Part 3)

Unique Conditions of the Pfiffner Traverse in September 2020 Last week on the Pfiffner Traverse Series, I discussed the complexities of planning an off-trail backpacking trip. In this week’s blog post, I am looking at the specific challenges that were presented due to the conditions of the Pfiffner Traverse in September 2020. These challenges mainly have to do with the volatile weather of Colorado’s Front Range mountains.  Permitting through Rocky Mountain National Park was the primary factor influencing the dates of my Pfiffner Traverse trip. After doing some careful research through the RMNP website, I settled on the dates of …

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Planning a Pfiffner Traverse Hike (Part 2)

Lessons in Planning a Pfiffner Traverse Hike Last week I introduced the Pfiffner Traverse Series on the KCG Content blog. This week, I am diving into the actual planning of my trip in September 2020. This brief overview will give you a solid grasp on the unique challenges of planning a Pfiffner Traverse hike, as opposed to a normal “on trail” backpacking trip.  As I walked into the Kawuneeche Visitor Center in Rocky Mountain National Park on Sept 12, 2020, I was filled with both anxiety and trepidation. To thru-hike the Pfiffner Traverse, I needed to acquire backcountry camping permits …

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Introduction to the Pfiffner Traverse Series (Part 1)

Hiking the Pfiffner Traverse: Lessons in High-Risk Decision Making It can’t be denied that people are defined by their passions. Along this line of thought, many outdoor enthusiasts build their lives and shape their self-image around such passions. Yet, as our skill-levels and interests in the outdoors evolve, these changes often coincide with radical reassessments of self-identity. In September 2020, I embarked on a backpacking trip on Colorado’s Pfiffner Traverse that came to redefine my approach to wilderness travel. Even more, the cathartic insights I received through the process of high-risk decision-making on the hike forced a radical reevaluation of …

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