Shades of Gray, Splashes of Color

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October 27, 2016 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Jack Evans Community Center
4705 Main St
Hemlock, NY 14466

A Through-Hike of the Colorado Trail

bill-cooke-rockiesThe Little Lakes Sustainability Network and Springwater Trails are pleased to co-host a program on the magnificent Colorado Trail on Thursday, October 27, 7:00 PM at the Jack Evans Community Center (old Hemlock school) on Main Street in Hemlock. Light refreshments will be provided and everyone is welcome, free of charge. Donations to defray costs are encouraged.

Hemlock resident Bill Cooke will present information about the trail followed by a 25 minute slide show with music showing photos from his 2011 “through-hike.” He will share his deep appreciation of the natural environment fostered from many years of experience in long-distance hiking.  Bill will also have copies of his book narrating the hike – Shades of Gray, Splashes of Color – A Thru-hike of The Colorado Trail – available for your perusal and purchase.

The 486-mile Colorado Trail wends its way through the Rocky Mountains of the Centennial State, traversing a landscape as changing and diverse as the swirling afternoon clouds presaging the daily summer thunderstorms.  A common expression among long distance backpackers is “no pain equals no gain.”  In this program, you’ll hear of the “pain” manifested in the struggle of acclimating to high elevations, of hiking long and steep ascents, of coping with a wide range of climatic conditions from freezing cold mornings to hot baking afternoons, to near daily thunderstorms and to long stretches of limited water.  And you’ll see the “gains,” the triumphs as Bill and his hiking companion Keith “Northern Harrier” Bance savor the many rewards of this enchanting trail:  alpine meadows whose wildflowers cover every range of the spectrum, bewitching groves of aspen trees resplendent with the morning glow of the sun, the glistening of snowy peaks, stately conifers including the massive Douglas firs, high mountain passes, dry foothills, sparkling mountain streams, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets where both the skies and the rocks shine like beacons from the low sun alpenglow, and much more.

Along the way, you’ll hear of the delight bestowed by such simple pleasures as a refreshing swig of Rocky Mountain water or a wildlife spotting.  You’ll hear of fascinating near-daily cloud formations with their myriad shades of gray and ever-changing patterns.  You’ll meet “Trail Angels” who emerge at the right place and time, unplanned and unexpected, to assist hikers with their basic needs, such as rides into towns for re-supplying or offers of water and snacks.  And you’ll visit communities along the trail corridor, meeting the people in them, and enjoying the amenities that we all take for granted, such a hot shower, bed with linens, and meals of “real” food, all of which are especially appreciated by hot, dusty hikers.

Bill Cooke recently moved to Hemlock after living for seven years in Lexington, KY.  He has backpacked for nearly 40 years.  In addition to the Colorado Trail, he has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, Vermont’s Long Trail, the Black Forest and Susquehannock Trails of nearby Northern Pennsylvania, and other trails around the country.

You need not be an experienced hiker to enjoy this program, as Bill explains much of the terminology and peculiar habits of long-distance backpackers.  Even those whose experience is confined to short strolls in the park will sense the challenges and the rewards of a trek in the Rocky Mountains.  Come and take a trip to the summertime Rockies!

The event is co-sponsored by the Little Lakes Sustainability Network and the Springwater Hiking Group, and is free and open to the public.

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