500 Miles : 1860

500 Miles : 1860

In the first part of the 19th century, Colorado was still wild. The wilderness captured the imagination of the rest of the World. The Pike’s Peak Region promised gold, furs, timber, and huge swaths of untouched wilderness to anyone who dared to build a life on the frontier. By 1860, small bands of explorers set off from Denver City into the mountains to seek their fortunes.

We aim to repeat one such journey; over 500 miles in 35 days, and only the comforts of the 19th century to sustain us. We’ll trek southwesterly through the Colorado Rockies. The trail will lead through some of the last remaining untouched wilderness in the United States. We’ll use mid-19th century gear, clothing, and techniques. Only that which would have been available here in 1860.

For years we've dreamed of thru-hiking the Colorado Trail, a 500 mile trail that stretches from Denver to Durango. A winding trek through some of the most remote sections of Colorado's vast mountains ranges and endless valleys.

We don't just want to hike the CT.

156 years ago similar journeys were made by mostly-forgotten young men. Some journeyed into the mountains to to explore the communications networks forged by decades of fur trading between intrepid frontiersmen and indigenous Peoples. They set out to find places to buy goods to sell on the Front Range and farther East. We want to recreate one such journey. On July 6th, we will set out to complete the entire trail using only 19th century gear, clothing, food and trekking techniques. We will create one of the most involved and immersive living history experiences ever attempted.

Unlike the young frontiersmen of the 19th century, we will not find our fortune in the mountains. Instead, we seek a greater understanding of the experiences of our forebears.

Doing the trek in this manner will be dangerous. We will need to have the resources to approach it with awareness of, and respect for, the risks. A larger budget would allow us to make sure t's are crossed and i's are dotted.

We have arranged for our adventure to be filmed, and we aim to make a documentary. We intend to use this as an educational opportunity for ourselves and for our communities. Early settlement in Colorado is an obscure topic, and the experiences of the people who forged this State deserve to be remembered. Making a film costs a good deal of money, and will be a huge undertaking requiring a team of dedicated filmmakers. The bulk of the money raised from this GoFundMe would be dedicated to finance the filming of the project.

Our film will be critical to the shared experience. We would like to remind ourselves, and the world, of the incredible feats undertaken in the forging of the place we call Home, and the difficulties faced in creating our culture of comfort. Our hardship will help remind us of where we’ve been, and how far we’ve come.

No donation is too small or too large. At the end we want this experience to be shared and felt by all involved. I want this to reach beyond the living history community, catching the imagination of everyone who contributes to our crazy project.

Thank you so much in advance for every ounce of help.

Here’s to the trail ahead,

Ben and Aaron.


 See top
  • Sarah Spivey 
    • $25 
    • 50 mos
  • William Miconnet 
    • $50 
    • 50 mos
  • Alex Brunner 
    • $20 
    • 50 mos
  • Erin & Seth Kelly 
    • $30 
    • 50 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 50 mos
See all


Ben Jenkins 
Erie, CO
  • #1 fundraising platform

    People have raised more money on GoFundMe than anywhere else. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case that something isn’t right, we will refund your donation. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more