CDTA TrailFest 2006 Celebrates Continental Divide

(Pine, Colo.) Over 300 hikers, mountain bike riders and llama and goat trekkers hit the Continental Divide Trail Saturday, July 15, for Continental Divide Trail Alliance’s TrailFest 2006. It was the largest celebration of the Continental Divide Trail ever and marked the largest number of trekkers to get out on the Trail in one day ever.

Base camp for the event was Buena Vista, Colo., near Colorado’s rugged Collegiate Peaks and some of the CDT’s most popular sections. Trekkers came from all over the world – from as far away as Chicago, California and Nepal – to celebrate and enjoy the country’s highest, longest, wildest trail that stretches 3,100 miles from Canada to Mexico.

“I was extraordinarily pleased with the event,” said Keith Baker, co-owner of The Trailhead, Buena Vista’s outdoor gear shop. “I thought CDTA’s coordination of the activities was excellent.”

He also was pleased that CDTA sourced services for the event locally and felt it boosted business in Buena Vista. “We started seeing people Thursday afternoon,” he said, “and traffic continued through Sunday.”

Baker also chairs the Chaffee County Visitor’s Bureau Board of Directors. “Going forward we see this becoming a landmark event in Chaffee County and especially Buena Vista. We look forward to a continued partnership with CDTA.”

“Phelps Dodge is pleased to have participated in Trailfest and we look forward to future opportunities to support the development of this ‘King of Trails’,” said Bryce Romig, environmental manager for Climax Molybdenum Co., a subsidiary of Phelps Dodge Corp., a TrailFest sponsor.

Royal Robbins, world-famous mountain climber and member of CDTA’s Honorary Board, led a group of Rotarians on a trek on Cottonwood Pass during the event and afterwards gave opening remarks at the “Taste of the Trail” benefit dinner, catered by Salida’s Stir It Up Catering.

“It was very exciting to see so many people turn out to support the CDT,” said Robbins. “This is exactly kind of support we need to complete the Trail by the 30th anniversary in 2008.”

Pem Dorje Sherpa and Moni Mulepati of Nepal, the first couple to be wedded on top of Mount Everest, also took part in the Rotary trek. They were in Colorado on a tour sponsored by Boulder-based Helping Hands Health Education.

TrailFest 2006 featured 13 guided treks, including hikes to Anne Lake and Hope Pass and mountain bike rides on the St. Elmo Loop and the Monarch Crest. One trek featured llamas and goats packing gear. The most popular trek was a pontoon boat ride across Twin Lakes to Interlaken, a ghost town from Colorado’s past. Perhaps the most challenging trek was a hike through the Mount Massive Wilderness to the summit of Mount Massive, one of Colorado’s Fourteeners.

Buena Vista Rotary served the pancake breakfast. Colorado bands Roger Falter’s TFB Quartet, Solar Junkyard and Truckadero entertained trekkers as they relaxed in Buena Vista’s Columbine Park after a day on the Trail. Throughout the day participants and passersby could visit booths by Osprey Packs, Backpacker’s Pantry, Restop Products, Backcountry Horsemen, U.S. Forest Service, Lowe Alpine, The Quiet Coalition and CDTA.

Scores of children took part in Kid Adventurefest activities offered by Boulder-based Avid4Adventure. They paddled kayaks in the 50-foot portable pool, road the bumps on the mountain bike course and scaled the 25-foot climbing wall.

According to CDTA Co-Executive Director Paula Ward, “TrailFest truly represents our intention to connect people to the land and each other along the Continental Divide Trail. It’s just going to get bigger and better.”

CDTA TrailFest 2006 was sponsored by Colorado Lottery, Outside Magazine, REI, Coleman, Quabaug/Vibram, Woolrich, Chaffee County Visitor’s Bureau, Phelps Dodge Corp., Backpacker’s Pantry, W.L. Gore & Assoc., Vasque, JanSport, Pyramid Printing, The Trailhead, U.S. Forest Service, Buena Vista Rotary and Avery Brewing Co.

The Continental Divide Trail was established by Congress as a National Scenic Trail in 1978. When complete, the “King of Trails” will be the most significant trail system in the world. Stretching 3,100 miles along the backbone of America from Canada to Mexico, it accesses some of the most wild and scenic places left in the world while conserving the environment and promoting personal well being.

Since 1995, the Continental Divide Trail Alliance has played a central role toward the completion, management and protection of the Trail and it is the voice for unity in the diverse story of the Trail.

For more information about the Continental Divide Trail, call (303) 838-3760 or toll-free 1-888-909-CDTA (2382). Or visit www.cdtrail.org.

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