CDT-CO: Rabbit Ears Pass to Buffalo Pass (Oct 7-8, 2021) 15 miles

Last pitch of my trusty X-Mid tent at Grizzly Lake

Living in Steamboat Springs made this 15-mile section hike of the CDT from Rabbit Ears Pass to Buffalo Pass logistically fairly simple. I drove my pick-up truck up to the Buffalo Pass parking area near Summit Lake, then rode my mountain bike back down Buffalo Pass and to our place in downtown Steamboat. The next morning my nephew Korillo dropped me at the Wyoming Trail/CDT trailhead near Dumont Lake.

I hiked a fairly easy 12 miles with some gentle up and downs through the woods the first day. I had hoped for some nice views of Pleasant Valley below Rabbit Ears Pass, but the trail didn’t quite reach the ridgeline. It was an early October weekday, so I had the all trail almost all to myself. The only others I saw on this section were some Big Agnes staff hiking back to Base Camp after an overnight gear-testing trip. I made camp at an established scenic spot near Grizzly Lake.

After a relaxing solo overnight at the lake I hiked the remaining 3 miles up to Buffalo Pass and my truck and made note of where the CDT leaves the road and heads towards Diamond Park, my next planned section of the CDT for the following summer. This was a nice way for me to finish out an epic backpacking season, take the edge off a bit of post-trail depression after the Colorado Trail, and get my mindset looking forward to section hiking more of CDT in Colorado the following summer.

I didn’t realize at the time this would be my last pitch of my Durston X-Mid 2p. This had been a great tent for the Colorado Trail but I found the footprint too large in a couple smaller camp spots and wanted something a bit lighter as well. The Durston X-Mid Pro looks to fit the bill so I sold my OG X-Mid to help offset some of my nearly $700 investment in the Pro version. I also feel some loyalty to my home town Big Agnes brand, who also makes great tents, and will be carrying my Tiger Wall until the X-Mid Pro finally arrives.

Coming up for the summer of 2022 I’m planning a 95 mile SOBO backpacking trip on the CDT from Rabbit Ears Pass to Rocky Mountain National Park and Grand Lake in July, a 35 mile NOBO trip from Buffalo Pass to Diamond Park on the CDT, and a 105 mile thru-hike of the Uinta Highline Trail in August.

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