Its still pretty early when we wake up at about 6:30am. It’s my Birthday, but it doesn’t necessarily feel like it. It’s strange what being on the trail will do to you and how you think. All I can think about it getting up and eating something to fill the enormous void in my stomach and figuring out how we’re getting back to he trail. After a shower and some time staring at my phone it’s breakfast time. We walk around town looking for any restaurant that has some sort of vegan option for us. Eventually we found a nice little cafe that seems to have an option or two for us. While we are staring at the menu and before we even sit down the waiter walks up and says that we have vegan options available!! It’s like he read our minds, or somehow he can just tell were vegan. The cafe made us a lovely breakfast burrito with potatoes and veggies inside. Just what the doctor ordered. We demolished our burritos, I’m fairly certain I could have eaten two or three of them. After breakfast we ran one quick errand to the small market and headed back to the hostel. The hostel will take us back to the trailhead for $5 per person. Done deal. We organize our packs and wait till the shuttle is ready to leave at 10am. The shuttle turns out to be a pickup truck, which myself and another hiker Green Machine sit in the bed of on the ride up to the pass. I think in the past 15 months I’ve ridden in more pickup beds than in my entire life. It’s 10:30am and time to start hiking. We don’t really have a plan for the day mileage wise. Snakebite has left today up to me since it’s my birthday. The weather is beautiful thankfully, I may have thrown a temper tantrum if it was raining while I was hiking on my birthday. The flies however are probably the worst I’ve encountered in my life. I mean so bad that you don’t even want to take a break. Every time we stop were swarmed by 20-30 flies and they are biting flies. It’s pretty miserable, not even 100% deet will stop them. The miles don’t come easy at first, it’s like once you sleep in a bed for the night you become soft and can’t hike. Eventually the miles start piling up and he flies die down. In all we did 20.7 miles, after 10:30am. A very good day mileage wise. We also found a level campsite, this has been rare for us. The best part of the day was yet to come, Snakebite had packed out a tall boy of Coors Light for me as a Birthday Gift. Woohoo beer, this truly made my day. I enjoyed the beer as we ate dinner. We should now easily be in Durango early Saturday. The end of this trail will be bitter sweet. I guess that’s how it should be though.
It was slow getting out of camp this morning, I don’t think we broke camp and left till about 7:30am. The morning hiking was beautiful, sort of reminiscent of Washington without the volcanoes. Then all of a sudden the hiking became very boring and mundane, it felt like Northern California or Southern Oregon. He miles dragged on and the flies were even worse then the day before. The flies were so bad that we couldn’t take a break without going completely crazy. I think I would take mosquitos over biting flies at this point. At least 100% Deet keeps the mosquitos off of you. The afternoon went by at a glacial speed, the only thing keeping my attention was listening to Harry Potter on Audible. I really do love Harry Potter. 23.3 miles was our total for the day, no exciting animal sightings today. I did see a hummingbird moth which was a cool bug sighting. Just less then 30 miles till Durango. Crazy that this trail is winding down already.
We awoke to beautiful blue skies and the sounds of what seems like an army of flies and bees in the forest around us. The sounds are at times alarming and also at times alittle relaxing when inside the tent. We took our time breaking down camp knowing we only had about 30 miles to hike until the trail was over. The morning had the bulk of our toughest hiking with a series of small climbs and ridge walks over a knifes edge. The fact that it was our last full day of hiking on the CT weighed abit in my head and in my heart. It’s tough to say good bye to any trail. It doesn’t mater if it’s 2600 miles or 500 miles. The day was warm and difficult for different reasons then just elevation and the usual storms. We had abit of elevation and a quick rain but the difficulty was because of a lack of camping that evening. We intended to hike 20 miles and then have 10 miles the next day before meeting up with friends of mine that live in Durango and who would be putting us up for a couple of days. Because of the lack of camping we ended up hiking 28.7 miles and hiked until about 9pm. We basically hiked until the trailhead where the CT ends. The following morning we just had a 1 mile hike down hill to the parking lot and then hopefully we could get a hitch into town and to my friends. I’ve waited to write this last entry for a couple days to see how I feel and to reflect abit. The Colorado Trail was a great experience, it wasn’t like the PCT but I didn’t expect it to be. I’m not sure anything is like your first thru-hike. I had expected to hike the CDT this summer. It was something I had looked forward to doing. I left a job I really enjoyed, passed up a great opportunity to go back to Alaska for the summer working. In a way I feel like I failed in what I set out to achieve. At one point I had hoped to do the CT and the CDT. That was way to ambitious monetarily. Now I’m just hoping to keep hiking alittle more before my money runs out. My body feels good but I can’t depend on others to help me continue chasing my dreams like I did last year. I will head to Northern New Mexico tomorrow to hike abit more, perhaps to Silverton on the CDT, perhaps further. That being said I will likely be back at work before the end of August. I’m looking now forward to getting back to work, I love restaurants and the rush I get from it. I have a lot to figure out in a short period of time and will miss the simplicity of the trail and the beauty of it.
“I took a little journey to the unknown,
And I come back changed. I can feel it in my bones”