3 Day 2 Nights – Four Pass Loop Backpacking Trip in Colorado (Day 3 – Last Day)

Day 3, it was definitely a push.  Big push!  Two more passes to conquer; Trail Rider and Buckskin Passes. We were determined to complete this challenging trip!

Day 3 on Four Pass Loop

Day 3 – Friday August 3, 2018

It had been drizzling all night. By 7 am, we were up. We fed Tsali and started to pack. Our tent was still damp, but we would deal with it later. By 8 am, we were all packed and ready to hike. We didn’t spend much time here (no breakfast, no coffee) because we wanted to find a better spot to cook and make coffee.

Day 3 - Heading to Trail Rider Pass

Day 3 - Heading to Trail Rider Pass

Day 3 - Heading to Trail Rider Pass

We hiked for an hour until we spot a little lake with a good area for hanging out with pine trees around it. We stopped there, filtered more water, and made our breakfast and coffee there.

Our break for Breakfast

Our break for Breakfast

Our break for Breakfast

We spent our time there around 40 minutes before started hiking again. We’re heading toward Trail Rider Pass (our third pass of this trip). On that day, it was cloudy and drizzling all morning.  The weather was quite cold. I was hiking with my down jacket and rain jacket on the top.

Trail Rider Pass

Trail Rider Pass

Trail Rider Pass

Trail Rider Pass

Trail Rider Pass

At 10.40 am, we got to the top of Trail Rider Pass. Then it started to rain more heavily, cold, and windy.  I couldn’t take too many photos there before started to hike again.

Trail Rider Pass

Trail Rider Pass

Trail Rider Pass

Snowmass Lake

Not that much further from Trail Rider Pass, there was the Snowmass Lake. The lake was beautiful even on such a cloudy day. The rock formation around the area was very stunning. Everything was big… It made us realize how small, tiny, and unimportant we were…and how tiny our problem was. I just had some deep thoughts there.

Trail Rider Pass

Trail Rider Pass

Snowmass Lake

Snowmass Lake

Snowmass Lake

Snowmass Lake

I remembered that on that day, we didn’t eat much. Both of us were more determined to complete the hike before it got too late at nigh. It was a long hike and not too many stops. Even we were in a mission to complete the hike, we didn’t miss to appreciate the beautiful scenery surrounding us.

Hiking to Buckskin Pass

By 3.15 pm, the weather started to clear up a little bit. We got a little bit more sunshine.  At that point, my pants were pretty damp and my socks were totally wet. Even I had stopped several times to squeeze some water out of my socks and shoes, they were still pretty wet.

We took this opportunity to rest, to get changed with dry cloths and socks, and poured water out of my shoes (again) and let them dry.  One good thing of Colorado is that the air is always dry.  It didn’t take long for my shoes to dry again. Putting my fresh and dry socks on in my no longer wet shoes made me really happy. It felt almost like I just took a shower! SO FRESH AND SO CLEAN!

Wet day on Four Pass Loop

An hour later, we started to hike again. This time, we were heading toward Buckskin Pass; our last pass of this trip.

Heading to Buckskin Pass

Heading to Buckskin Pass

Heading to Buckskin Pass

Buckskin Pass

YES YES YES!  At 5.30 pm, I made it to the top of Buckskin Pass. It was such a perfect time to finish the last pass. The weather was so perfect. Clear sky for us eventually! Trent and Tsali were already on the top waiting for me and drying our tent.

I personally like this pass the most. I think it was because of everything. The weather was so perfect and that the view was so stunning. It was the only pass that we got our family picture as well. Do you agree from looking at the pictures?

Buckskin Pass

Buckskin Pass

Buckskin Pass

Buckskin Pass

Buckskin Pass

Buckskin Pass

Buckskin Pass

From there, there was no stop. We pushed every last bit of our energy to make it back.

Buckskin Pass

Buckskin Pass

Buckskin Pass

It was only around 2 – 3 hours for us to hike back. But I had to admit that the hike from there felt like forever. I was super tired.  The trail was still pretty challenging on the way back.  At that point, I felt like I already had seen it all and ready to stop, sit, and lay down… But yes, only few more miles to go… Push it, push it!  The sun was going down.

At 8.30 pm, I got to Maroon Lake. Trent had already let Tsali to swim.  I was almost in tear from my exhaustion and happiness.  The parking lot was just right by Maroon Lake. I almost could just sit and take my shoes off! When I got to the closest parking lot, Trent had me wait there with Tsali. So that he could hike back to our car and come back to pick me up.  I was happy, thrilled, and yes totally worn out.

Maroon Lake

Maroon Lake

Completed Four Pass Loop

Lessons Learned from Day 3

Four Pass Loop

27.1 miles (45 km), 7,734′ Ascent, -7,735′ Decent, 11% Avg Grade (6° ), 55% Max Grade (29° ), 12,460′ High, 9,567′ Low.

Never underestimate yourself!

Success means crossing a limit. To cross a limit you need to assume that you have a limit. Assuming a limit is underestimating yourself. If you have no boundaries then where is your success? – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

4 thoughts on “3 Day 2 Nights – Four Pass Loop Backpacking Trip in Colorado (Day 3 – Last Day)”

  1. Hey Nan, absolutely LOVED reading your trip! My boyfriend and I are heading to the four pass loop for the first time, and I was nervous about where to go until reading this..so thank you! Can’t wait to experience this.

    (Any tips on backpacking clothes as another blog would be something I’d love to read by you!)

  2. Hello! I loved reading about your trip and seeing your pictures! I did the loop last July in 4 days and 3 nights solo – it was tough but amazing! I’m thinking about going back again this year and bringing our dog Sammy. He’s a 5 year old lab and I took him on one overnight backpacking trip last August. He did a really good job! I just wondered if you have any info or tips for going on the loop with your dog – did you carry extra water for Tsali? Or just let him/her drink from the streams? And when it was rainy and cold and s/he got wet, were you worried about Tsali getting cold and not being able to warm up? I got lucky and had great weather, but I know people the week before and after had a lot of rain. So that’s something I worry about a bit with Sammy… Any info you have would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

    1. Hi Helen! Tsali did very well when we took him on 4 pass loop. We do both. We carry extra water for him and also let him drink from the streams. Luckily, there are so many streams along the trails. (He got to swim a lot too!) We always had enough water for him on that trip. Tsali is doing much better in the cold than in the heat. We did get some heavy rain while hiking and all got pretty wet before going to bed. We let Tsali sleep with us in the vestibule area of the tent when he was wet…. and we also let him sleep with us in the tent when he was dried to keep him warm. He was fine in vestibule area as well. The heat from our bodies keep the tent warm… If your tent is not too big, it will be easier to keep it warm with both body heat. I will also be in CO this year during that time. Maybe we might cross paths!

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