Maroon Bells Pt 2 – The Hike! – Backpacking in Colorado

Join Mike & I on Colorado’s Four Pass Loop for 3 days of hiking, backpacking & hammock camping.

For this multi-part adventure, we’ll be faced with two challenges.

Phase 1 (seen in the prior Pt 1 video): Driving on a substantial time crunch from the east coast to Colorado, without any hotels or road food purchases.  This will not only keep the budget low, but will also save us a ton of time by not having to check-in/out, be tempted to sleep in, decide where/what to eat, stand in lines etc.  Sleeping will be done in the car (while the other person drives) and all meals will be comprised of cooler-stored left-overs and pre-purchased beverages.  The only stops allowed: bathroom breaks and gas pumps.

Phase 2 (covered in this video, Pt 2) will be a multi-day hike of the Four Pass Loop, within the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness, located just outside of Aspen Colorado (about 3 hours west of Denver).  We chose to do the loop in a counter-clockwise direction.

Trailhead Used: Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness Trailhead N39° 05.979′ W106° 56.260′

Full GPS track data and waypoints for various POI’s on this trip are available for download on the Trip Data Page.

Trails Used, Day 1 (in order)
Maroon Snowmass Trail
Camp near Snowmass Lake

Maroon Bells Day 1 Elevation Profile - Sintax77

Maroon Bells Day 1 Elevation Profile – Sintax77

Day 1 Mileage: 9 miles
Day 1 Gross Elevation Gain: 3,202′

Trails Used, Day 2 (in order)
Geneva Lake Trail
North Fork Cutoff Trail
North Fork Trail
West Maroon Pass Trail
Camp near West Maroon Pass Trail

Maroon Bells Day 2 Elevation Profile - Sintax77

Maroon Bells Day 2 Elevation Profile – Sintax77

Day 2 Mileage: 15 miles
Day 2 Gross Elevation Gain: 4,488′

Trails Used, Day 3 (in order)
West Maroon Pass Trail
Maroon Snowmass Trail
Return to vehicle at Maroon Snowmass Trailhead

Maroon Bells Day 3 Elevation Profile - Sintax77

Maroon Bells Day 3 Elevation Profile – Sintax77

Day 3 Mileage: 4.8
Day 3 Gross Elevation Gain: 305′


Mileage Grand Total for Trip: 28.8
Gross Elevation Gain Grand Total for Trip: 7,995′


Renovo Trio – Filter Stages & Replacement Parts Identification

I misidentified some parts in my Renovo Trio Final Thoughts video, so here’s a proper rundown of the three stages of water filtration.

  • Stage 1: Pre-Filter (paper disc)
  • Stage 2: Renovo Trio UF hollow fiber membrane
  • Stage 3: Renovo Trio Activated carbon tip (replace after 12 months or 1,000 liters)

Renovo Trio Water Filter – Final Thoughts & Detailed Review

My final thoughts and a detailed look at the pros and cons of the Renovo Trio water filtration system for backpacking and survival situations.

As discussed in the video, the Renovo Trio water filter is a solid and capable system for water filtration while in the field.  Whether or not it’s the best filter for you depends on your personal needs and environment, which we discuss in the video.

It should be noted that this video wasn’t intended to be a “versus” between the Renovo Trio and the Sawyer Squeeze / Sawyer Mini water filter systems, but it would leave a pretty big void if those systems where ignored.  As you’ll see, the Sawyer filters are the most similar, and yet different in many ways, systems to the Renovo Trio.  Ultimately, I would say that if your in the market for either, you’d be cheating yourself not to investigate the merits of both and choose which is right for you.  Hopefully, this video helps make that decision at least a little bit easier for someone out there who’s on the fence.

But hey, even if you could care less about these particular water filters, this video makes for a perfect excuse to nerd out about microns, viruses and bacteria along the way, so at the very least, we’ve got that going for us.

Specs and Water Filter Description as per Manufacturer:

UF Filter Pore Size: .05 Microns
Dimensions: 7.1″ x 1.4″
Weight: 3.5 oz.
Capacity: 1000L
Flow rate:= 200 ml/min

1. Pre-filter:

Similar to a coffee filter, the purpose of the pre-filter is to remove large particulates in the water. This enables the Trio to be used in turbid water sources. This filter element is rated at 5 microns. The Trio comes with 4 replacements of the pre-filter.

2. Renovo Trio UF hollow fiber membrane

The Ultra Filtration (UF) hollow fiber membrane is unique in a couple ways. First, it has a large surface area that enables a high flow rate. Second, the membrane has a smaller pore size than most other hollow fiber membrane filters. When the hollow fiber membrane has reduced flow, simply back flush the filter with clean water and continue use. It is recommended to back flush this element before putting in storage.

3. Renovo Trio Activated carbon tip

The last filter element is a carbon impregnated fiber. To be effective, water must be in contact with the carbon so the carbon can absorb the contaminates. Many water filters use a granular carbon that can develop pathways or channels through the medium which reduces exposure. Block carbon is by far the best method of exposing water to the medium but has a significantly low flow rate. Using a carbon impregnated fiber, the Trio is able to maximize exposure while minimizing the pathways or channels that can develop in other filters.

A note on the Packaging

The innovation does not stop with the filter technology. The Renovo Trio is packaged in a hermetically sealed bag that extends the life of the filter. Activated carbon, when exposed to air can begin the degrade and lose the effectiveness of the medium. Because of the unique packaging of the Trio, it can be stored for many years and retain the effectiveness of the filter. Each replacement filter elements come in a hermetically sealed bag as well.


Hiking the Grafton Loop – Camping in Maine

Come along for 4 days of hiking, backpacking and camping in Maine.

For this trip, we’ll be backpacking a loop hike of the Grafton Loop in Maine’s Grafton Notch State Park.  Full GPS track data along with points of interest (campsites, water sources, etc) available for download on the Trip Data Page.

Grafton Loop - Route Overview

Grafton Loop – Route Overview

The Grafton Loop is a roughly 39 mile, 9 summit hiking loop formed by connecting a portion of the Appalachian trail with the Grafton Loop Trail.  Portions of the trail traverse both Maine’s Grafton Notch State Park as well as a good deal of private land.  For this reason, designated campsites are mandatory for most of the loop’s route, along with a restriction on campfires.  For those of you who like to stealth camp, you’ll have to do a bit more planning for this trip.  It took several years to come to an agreement with all of the land owners the that trail traverses, so it’s best to stick to the script and keep them happy so we can continue to enjoy this route.

The four of us chose to do the loop clockwise over the course of 4 days.  Many people choose to do it in 3 days, and a rarer few do it in 2.  Don’t be deceived by the rolling beauty of the photos you see though – the Grafton Loop is still in the White Mountains region and has it’s fair share of strenuous elevation and steep inclines, littered with roots and rocks.  If rain is expected, be prepared to move carefully on the many sections of solid and potentially slick rock faces on the balder summits.  We stacked up nearly 13,000 feet of elevation gain over the course of our trip.  Not too shabby.  For comparison, that’s almost 3,000 more feet than the Pemi Loop.  Be aware of your group’s capability, as well as desired amount of relaxing versus mileage, and plan your number of days accordingly.

Summits: Bald Mountain, Puzzle Mountain, Long Mountain, Lightning Ledge, Old Speck, West Baldpate, East Baldpate, Miles Notch, Sunday River Whitecap

Parking: 985 Maine 26, Newry, ME 04261 Near intersection of Rt 26 and Eddy Rd

Hike approximately one half mile south from parking lot to the Grafton Loop Trailhead located at 44.530831,-70.825252.  Note: Parking is not allowed here at this trailhead, hence the road hike.

Trails Used Day 1:
Grafton Loop Trail
Setup camp at the Slide Mountain Campsite
Day 1 Mileage: 10.86 miles
Day 1 Gross Elevation Gain: 4,094′

Elevation Profile Day 1

Elevation Profile Day 1

Trails Used Day 2:
Old Speck Trail / Appalachian Trail
Grafton Loop Trail
Stealth camp in col between West Baldpate Mountain and East Baldpate Mountain
Day 2 Mileage: 11 miles
Day 2 Gross Elevation Gain: 4,364′

Elevation Profile Day 2

Elevation Profile Day 2

Trails Used Day 3:
Grafton Loop Trail
Setup camp at Stewart Campsite
Day 3 Mileage: 13 miles
Day 3 Gross Elevation Gain: 3,596′

Elevation Profile Day 3

Elevation Profile Day 3

Trails Used Day 4:
Grafton Loop Trail
Return to parking lot and Graton Loop Trailhead on Rt 26
Day 4 Mileage: 4.5 miles
Day 4 Gross Elevation Gain: 843′

Elevation Profile Day 4

Elevation Profile Day 4

Trip Totals:
Distance: 39.36 miles
Gross Elevation Gain: 12,807′

Elevation Profile for Entire Route

Elevation Profile for Entire Route