Here are a bunch of pictures from two hikes in CO, in no particular order. The first hike was a little more challenging than we expected - the terrain was fairly rough and steep. Most of the people we passed had camped at the top for the night. It was doable as a day hike but you had to move quickly. I decided it was best to turn back before finishing because I wanted to make sure we made it to the car before the sun went down. My wife is only 5'1 and has never hiked before, so she moved about 1/2 or 1/3 of my pace. I had a 2-person bivvy for emergency use and fire equipment, but no tent or gear that would make camping anything but a last resort.
Besides the obvious equipment like my pack and boots, the most useful item was the shemagh, shown here on top of my Mystery Ranch pack. It's widely used in the survival and military communities, but I always considered it a bit tacticool. I'd never hike without one again. Its uses are limited only by your imagination. It came into its own when I soaked it in the crisp water of the creeks, wrung it out and hung it around my neck. It provided the perfect amount of relief even though it was not terribly hot. In July it would have been a godsend. A bandana can suffice but this is much better.
I was surprised by how many people were willing to hike in without any medical equipment or basic supplies. Of course they were favoring less weight as a tradeoff, but some people had nothing but water. I suppose I'm looking at this through the eyes of someone who is usually overly prepared. I brought a LifeStraw and just before trying it out in a creek I saw someone fill their water bottle and drink it. I guess they thought water must be free of pathogens as long as it looks clean. I suppose the risk is relatively low, but I can't think of a better way to ruin a vacation than giardia. The LifeStraw proved useful even in a non-emergency situation. It allowed me to rehydrate from the creek (with water much colder than what was left in my 2L bladder) without depleting the water we were carrying. There was no plastic taste at all.
The second hike on the following day was much more pleasant. We were a little beat up from the day before, but managed to complete it with no problem. We saw some moose to boot.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)