About the Author: Chelsea Coye grew up on the coast of Maine and now lives in the high rockies of Colorado with her husband, Matt and her dog, Shea. She has always loved to play outside no matter what the season. She is planning to hike the PCT in 2020, but currently has her sights set on the Colorado Trail in the summer of 2019. You can find Chelsea on Instagram @chelsea.adventurefit.
I moved to Colorado in February of 2013. A year and a half before that I was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. Life turned upside down. After several surgeries and months of chemotherapy I was declared in remission. I went back to college and finished my degree and then promptly moved to Colorado to chase my dreams. All I wanted more than anything else in my life was to spend time outside skiing, hiking, running, biking, climbing – you get the point.
Soon after moving to Colorado I met my friend Amy. She started working where I did and we bonded over mutual enjoyment of all things outside. She had hiked the Colorado Trail recently and was an avid backpacker. I had never really tried backpacking. Car camping was my typical outdoor camping style, usually somewhere near a trailhead, climbing crag, etc.
During the summer of 2016, Amy invited me to spend a few days with her on a trip she planned circumnavigating the mountain community we live in. I jumped at the chance to go explore with her! She did a seven day trip and I spent four out of the seven days with her.
This trip opened my eyes to backpacking! The long days spent hiking through beautiful mountain terrain, the wildflowers, the high alpine lakes, the crazy thunderstorms. I loved being nowhere near a car, a road, a town! It was quiet, we were in bed at dusk and up at dawn. Life was easy, minimal. I loved every moment!
For the rest of the summer all I could think about was how to get out to backpack more. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get out as much as I wanted to! Amy and I kept talking about how cool doing a thru hike would be. After several conversations about thru hiking, and realizing that there was never going to be a perfect time to go, we made the decision that we would hike the Pacific Crest Trail together in 2019. Then 2019 came faster than we thought and we replanned for 2020 so we would have time to plan and save money.

Colorado Trail 

So what does all this have to do with the Colorado Trail? Well, since I haven’t been able to spend as much time backpacking as I would like, I realized that if I’m going to go backpack for 6 months, I better try a few weeks in a row first and see how that goes and dial down my base weight and figure out what works and what doesn’t.

So, the planning begins! Currently, I am trying to put money away to buy gear and be able to pay my bills when we’re out on the PCT. Because I am still working full time through this summer, my plan is to section hike the Colorado Trail in 3 sections. I already hiked section 1 in 2018, so my plan is to hike sections 2-6 sometime in June (depending on snow levels), sections 7-19 in August and sections 20-28 to complete the trail in early September.
I am so extremely grateful to be able to chase my mountain dreams and inspire other women to do the same. A wise man once said, “Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.
I’m really excited to continue planning this trip and sharing the process with all of you!

Happy Trails!

***Photo Credit to Matthew Coye and Amy Drees