Miles hiked today – 22.7
I had set my phone alarm for 5:20 am, within five minutes of waking, it was raining. We only planned to hike 18.1 miles today, so I changed the alarm to 6:10 am, and tried to go back to sleep. By 6:00 am it had stopped raining, so I started my morning process of eating, packing and hiking.
The trail was very muddy from yesterday’s storm, and this morning’s brief shower. The trail had willow bushes on each side of the trail, as I walked, the wet branches brushed against my pant legs. Within minutes my pants were soaking wet. Trying not to slip in the mud, and enduring the cold wet pant legs, made for a challenging start of my morning.
The closer we got to Durango, the less grand the views were.
We did pass a small waterfall that was pretty.
After eight miles I reached an open area next to a stream. The sun was shining bright, so I stopped for a snack break, and to dry my tent, sleeping bag and ground cloth. Peace Maker stopped a few minutes later and did the same.
After the break I had two 500 foot ups before starting the final down towards Durango. Later there was a light rain, so I made use of my umbrella.
Jerrod, Shaun, Miles, Kate, Peace Maker and I all planned to stop after 18.1 miles, and camp at a small campsite labled “Cow Pond”.
I reached the Cow Pond campsite first. It was only 2:15 pm. The very small pond was full of dirty water, with cow footprints all around the pond, and many cow patties nearby. There was very little in the way of flat areas for tenting. Jerrod and Shaun showed up a few minutes later and set-up their tent.
I was only 4.6 miles from the end of the trail, but I had planned to finish tomorrow morning, so that I could avoid spending the night in Durango. I hesitated putting up my tent, because I wasn’t at all happy with this campsite, and it was only 2:15 pm.
Peace Maker showed up next. He immediately said that he was going to continue hiking, and spend the night in Durango. I was tempted to go with him, but felt I should wait for Miles and Kate. At 2:40 pm Miles and Kate arrived. They also said that they were going to continue on. At that point, I knew that was what I wanted to do as well, so I quickly packed up my things and hurried after them, leaving Jerrod and Shaun behind.
I hiked behind Miles and Kate the final 4.6 miles.
At 4:05 pm the three of us completed the Colorado Trail. Peace Maker was still at the finish when we arrived. This is Miles, me, Peace Maker and Kate.
Miles, Peace Maker and I decided to share a motel room. After securing a room at Days Inn, we went to a restaurant for dinner.
While at the restaurant, I called three car rental companies, trying to rent a car to drive to Denver tomorrow. They each said that they didn’t have any cars for one-way rentals. Not good! Kate had contacted Mark and Tyler (fellow CT hikers) about riding with them to Denver. When they got to the restaurant to pick up Kate, I asked if I could ride with them as well. Luckily they said, “yes.”
As we were leaving the restaurant, Jerrod and Shaun walked in. The lure of town was too strong.
It was after midnight when we reached Denver. Mark told Kate and me that we could spend the night at his apartment, and that tomorrow he’d drive Kate to the airport, and me to get my car at my friend’s house. It all couldn’t have worked out better.
There’s a saying among long distance hikers that goes, “The trail provides”, this is an example of it. Hikers helping fellow hikers.
The long distance hiker community is very special. Your age, gender, tax bracket, education level nor your address are important, you are simply judged by who you are as a person. I feel fortunate to have experienced the thru-hiker culture on the AT, PCT and now the CT.
I especially want to thank Bilbo (Bob Livezey) for inviting me on this hike. He provided a spreadsheet with everything I needed to know pertaining to food resupply. This hike required very little preparation on my part. I had heard great things about the CT, and hoped to one-day hike it, because of Bilbo, now I have.
Before we started this hike, we discussed the possibility that we would separate at some point. It’s very common for long distance hikers to move in and out of different groups during the course of their hike. After a week and a half, that’s what we did. We did message each other later in our hike.
On trail I had many people ask me which I liked most – the AT or PCT. I guess now the CT will be added to that list. I’ve heard it said that most people think of their long distance hikes the same way you think about your children – they are each unique and you love them all.
The CT was an awesome hike. It was challenging, beautiful, a little scary at times and very rewarding. Steve, AKA Pack Ratt, hiked the CT this year for a second time, in back-to-back years. I thought that seemed a little odd, but now I understand. The CT is that great.
I also want to thank each of you that have followed my blog. I know many of you were along for my PCT and AT hike. Knowing that people were following along definitely made each hike even more special for me. So – Thank you!
What’s next you ask – I don’t have any definite plans, but I certainly plan to continue backpacking. At this point, I doubt that I’ll do another four or five month long hike, like the AT or PCT. Being away from my grandchildren that long really hurts, so I think I’ll stay with shorter hikes in the two or three week range.
Hiking is a great pastime for people of all ages. Whether it’s backpacking or a short dayhike – it’s all good. Hopefully some of you have been inspired to get out yourself.
Talk to you later…..