I wanted to do a little write up on my Colorado elk hunt I went on the other week, a group of 7 of us went out for a week, 4 muzzy hunters, 2 bowhunters and 1 hiker/photographer/packer. We have family that has a cabin in the area we hunted so we planned on staying there 1 night before we were going to camp for 6 nights in the wilderness. A couple quick pics of what my meals and gear were for the week, after hours of reading I tried as hard as possible to keep it around the 100 calories per ounce for my food I think in the end I was around 105 after I got done with all my weighing measuring, the only thing not in there was my Mountain House meals.
With having so many of us going we didn't need to double up on a lot of the items, water filtration, first aid, rope etc. The night before we went out we took the scale out and made everyone get on we all average about 60 pounds with water except my father in law which at one point was almost at 100 pounds and we slimmed it down to about 80.
After sitting down the night before and finalizing our plan we were going to hit a trail head up in the morning and hike back about 3-4 miles and make camp, based off of the maps and Google earth we saw water and large enough areas to get off the trails to get in some decent hunting areas....that was our first big mistake which we regretted.
We got up early ate a good breakfast and hit the trailhead, most in the group were early 30s with my father in his 50s being the oldest but we were all in decent shape...so we thought it didn't take more then 15 minutes of up hill walking at 9,000' of elevation with 60 pounds packs to humble us very quickly. There was a lot of stopping as we made it down the trail as our lungs go acclimated to the thinner air but the amazing scenery made the trek a little easier.
The trail took us about a mile in before we reached the wilderness and at that point we had another 2-3 miles back, as we got into the wilderness the terrain became steeper and steeper and our pace got slower and slower, it took us almost 4 hours to make it a little over 2 miles in, at that point we finally found a very tiny water source, we became concerned at that time not seeing any water, we checked our map and saw a creek about another half mile up so we headed on got there and it was dry as a bone. We looked again and saw another spot about a mile up we walked about half a mile then split up with half the group relaxing, eating, and scouting and a few other going to check for water. The area had great spots for a camp, elk sign everywhere but 0 water, the other guys came back and said it was dry up further to, we didn't want to walk a mile each day for water and didn't exactly trust the water source either so we decided we were safer to turn around instead of keep going deeper into the wilderness hoping to find water. The trailhead at the start of the wilderness split off one direction so we sent one guy down that way to check one last water source before we totally scrapped that area and went back to the cabin. He ran into a couple local hikers who said all the smaller creeks and drainages were all dried up and they hadn't had rain in awhile at that point we packed the trucks back up headed back to the cabin and ordered pizza. 8 miles of brutal walking for the day and we were right back to where we were at the start of the day.