eNZees Blog

Trip Report: The Highline Loop

by Jill Schuman | July 12, 2016 | 0 Comments

Highline Loop National Recreation Trail La Plata Mountains

Crossing the wide wildflower basin beneath Diorite Peak and Mount Moss, I realized we hadn’t seen another hiker in two days. At the height of tourist season on a relatively easy trail to access, that’s an unusual (and incredible) feat. We were finishing the Highline Loop, a 20-mile loop in the lonesome La Plata Mountains of Southwest Colorado. 

Designated a National Recreation Trail in 1979, the Highline Loop traverses some of the highest terrain in the La Platas including Indian Trail Ridge and the Sharkstooth Trail. In between are some 7-miles of rough, poorly maintained forest track that enhances the sense of seclusion.

The best way to access the Highline Loop is from the top of Kennebec Pass – high-clearance and 4x4 required. From here, it’s a short 1.5-mile hike to high alpine Taylor Lake, where we camped on Friday night. The next morning, after coffee and sunrise, we put our eNZees on and hiked up Indian Trail Ridge.

Indian Trail Ridge Highline Loop La Plata Mountains Colorado

This section of the loop is also part of The Colorado Trail, a 486-mile hiking path that connects Durango to Denver. Normally, hikers have to be wary of monsoonal thunderstorms when they’re exposed up here, but lately Colorado’s been under a high-pressure system. We took our time crossing this gorgeous ridgeline and admiring the abundance of wildflowers.

Eventually, we left Indian Trail Ridge and climbed down to 8,800 ft. into the Bear Creek drainage. After climbing over downed trees and pushing through undergrowth for several hours, we pitched our tent next to a stream and called it a day. 

Highline Loop La Plata Mountains Columbine flowers

The higher the trail climbs, the better it gets. The following day we enjoyed waterfalls, snowy basins, and endless views of the surrounding mountains. Though it’s short on mileage, the Highline Loop is big on elevation gain. If you set out to hike it, be prepared to spend considerable hiking up and down long exposed ridges.

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eNZees Foot Soother to be at Colorado Trail Days this weekend

by Jill Schuman | June 24, 2016 | 0 Comments

A view from Cataract Ridge on the 486-mile Colorado Trail

As many of you may know, eNZees Foot Soother is based out of Durango, a town of 16,000 on the remote Western Slope of Colorado. Among other points of notoriety – like our huge craft brew scene, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, and Mesa Verde National Park – Durango is known for being the southern terminus of The Colorado Trail, which connects us to Denver 486-miles away.

The Colorado Trail attracts hikers, backpackers, and even mountain bikers from all over the country and world. It truly showcases some of the best scenery in Colorado, but you have to work for it. The majority of the trail is at or above 10,000 feet! Though I have never done the entire trek, I am happy to support the first annual Colorado Trail Days this weekend in Durango.

The event is organized by one of the first stores to carry eNZees Foot Soother, Backcountry Experience. I will be at the event on Saturday morning, spreading the word about the benefits of using lambswool to protect your feet from hot-spots and blisters. (I’m sure you thru-hikers know a thing or two about those!)

If you’ve always wanted to get into hiking and backpacking, Colorado Trail Days will have plenty of free clinics on backcountry skills and gear. There will also be prize drawings throughout the event with prizes from Osprey Packs and Outdoor Research. All proceeds are benefitting the amazing volunteer trail maintenance efforts put on by the Colorado Trail Foundation.

If you’re in the Durango area, come on out and support this great community event. Hope to see you there!

Tagged: colorado trail, colorado trail days event, durango and silverton narrow gauge railroad, durango colorado, hiking the colorado trail, how to prevent blisters while hiking, mesa verde, prevent blisters on your feet