Colorado Trail Journal 2004

My original plan in 2004 was to hike the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). However it just did not feel right.

So I did the Colorado Trail instead.

Walking the length of the Colorado Trail was a great way to see my adopted home state. It was not just a “consolation prize” for not doing the CDT, but a wonderful wilderness pilgrimage in its own right.

You can also see my Colorado Trail resupply information, Colorado Trail photos and other related links here.

The mileage of the Colorado Trail is a “best guess”. Even the official route is debatable. Coup, the owner of GoLite, thinks the Colorado Trail is closer to 500 miles in length vs. the 468 officially reported in 2004. As I took two longer alternate routes, my total mileage may have exceeded the 480 that I estimated.

No matter. It was a beautiful trail;  full of much wonder and delight. Every mile was a experience. Every mile had something new and wonderful.

This Colorado Trail journal may hopefully share some of the wonderful I felt as I walked through my adopted home state.

Fri Aug 20th   Boulder, CO
0.0 miles today   0.0/ 476.5 miles total

It is the night before I again take another long walk. I had hoped to do the CDT this year, but it was not meant to be. Instead, will be exploring my adopted home state of Colorado.

From Denver to Durango I will walk. From Denver to Durango will explore the mountains, will explore the streams and gaze upon the expanse of the state I now call home.

Two years ago I was near the end of my PCT hike. Did not know what was in store for me.

Would I have a job? Did not have a place to live. And did not have the support network of friends I now enjoy in Boulder.

My Colorado Trail experience will be different. Besides being shorter, it will be a paid vacation, I will have a job when I return and a place to live.

Tomorrow morning a friend will drop me off at the trailhead in Waterton Canyon. After saying goodbye will again be alone on the trail. And I will be glad to return.

Sat Aug 21st Campsite after FS-538
21.3 miles today              21.3/476.5 miles total

Two years after hiking the PCT it is amazing how quickly the rhythm of thru-hiking comes back. The taking in of the scenery, the steady pace, how the mind wanders upon subjects both forgotten and those thoughts fresh on the mind.

This hike started off unusual in the sense that had someone join me for the first eight miles. I was able to get a ride to the trailhead from Beth. We hiked along  Waterton Canyon and it was much prettier than I expected. Sheer cliffs, the Platte roaring by, sunflowers and even saw some mule deer and big horn sheep. It did feel like a stroll in the park as we walked along the old road. A pleasant stroll none the less.

Beth and I then hike two miles or so along a nicely graded and shady, wooded trail. A quiet and pretty way to start the adventure.  At Bear Creek we said our goodbyes. The hike had truly started.

I was alone on the trail.

As mentioned, my thru-hiking cadence came back quickly. A different trail, but the same feeling.

Random thoughts, contentment, enjoying the beauty, the sounds of birds and the wind blowing through trees.

Therapy at 2-3 MPH.  It is a homecoming and I am glad to be back at home on the trail.

Sun Aug 22nd   North Fork of Lost Creek
26.1 miles today              47.4/ 476.5 miles total

I was in a “long green tunnel” for most of the day. Views were limited. Instead walk a trail through thick forest. Most of the day was mountain bikers’ paradise. The single-track was well graded and smooth. Saw only one hiker and two backpackers.  With the grade of the trail felt like a walk in a very wooded city park.

When I entered Lost Creek Wilderness today, the nature of the trail changed. It was still a “long green tunnel”  but the trail become a  little steeper, rockier and less well groomed. Felt like a real hiking trail again! It was also
nice to have the trail to myself. Though every  mountain biker I met was friendly and had good trail etiquette,
it was good have solitude and not having to step aside on a frequent basis.  My favorite part of the day was  walking by a large grove of aspen. The white trunks of the trees gave the woods an almost unworldly  appearance; a stark contrast to all the green. The leaves of the aspen are starting to turn yellow.

At 10,000 feet,  Autumn is not far away.

Mon Aug 23rd   Guernsey Creek
24.7 miles today              72.1/ 476.5 miles total

The Colorado Trail is starting to reveal its splendor now. While the trail has been pretty, it has been a subtle beauty. The nature of the trail changed once I entered the second part of the Lost Creek Wilderness. A large meadow with stunning views of the mountains that will be climbed in the coming days. That view was merely an appetizer.

The best was saved for the end of the day. In the Kenosha Pass area could see the large expanse of South Park.
It possesses the grandeur of what mentally comes to mind when a person hears the word “Colorado”.

Behind the valley of South Park could see the Continental Divide thrusting into the sky. For reasons like
today is why I moved to Colorado five years ago.

Tues Aug 24th  Breckenridge, CO
29.0 miles today              101.1/ 476.5 miles total

There are many reasons why I go on these long backpacking trips; the beauty, the simplicity, the physical challenge.
Seeing a distant view. How a hot meal at the end of a day is so satisfying.  Climbing to the top of a rise after many
miles of exertion. All reasons why I hike. But the main reason, the reason that encompasses all of the above, is that  these walks are wilderness pilgrimages. Rather than going to Mecca or The Way of St. James I am journeying to something less tangible.  Katahdin, Manning or Durango are only end points in the journeys. The real destination in on the trail itself. Some of my fondest memories and experiences have been on these long walks. If these journeys are my pilgrimages than today I was in the cathedral.  On Georgia Pass would see Mt. Guyot as the dominant peak. Could see the divide go on and on. It is a sight that confirms why I go on these wilderness pilgrimages. The sojourns in
the mountains will be a part of me for a while yet to come.


Today was an unplanned stop. Between my aggressive pace and the higher altitude, going through more food  than expected. The thought of hiking 16 miles or so to Copper Mountain on a Snickers and an oatmeal pie did not sound too appetizing. So, with the twisted logic of thru-hikers when it comes to food, decided to do a twenty-nine mile to get to town, catch the free bus to Breck and “mangia, mangia” in town. Have not been this consistently hungry since the High Sierra two years ago. Ingested lots of food  and found out about this
hostel. A pleasant surprise! Only $25/night, wonderful hosts who know all about the thru-hiking scene  (they asked if I had done the AT before) and a hot tub! A full belly, showered and my muscles received a well deserved soak. Life is good. It is well past my bedtime (9:40 is well past “hiker midnight” of 9PM!).

After such a demanding day, time for some rest.

Wed Aug 25th   near Fuller Creek
16.5 miles today              117.6/ 476.5 miles total

Towns have a way of slowing a hiker down; it ALWAYS takes longer to have that final cup of coffee, find the ride back to the trailhead, take care of post office business, etc. I essentially had two town stops today. The first was leaving Breck. Between the leisurely breakfast and catching the shuttle bus back to the trailhead, did not start hiking until almost 10AM! Still, the hot breakfast and the conversation was very nice.

The second “town” stop was Copper Mountain. Had much fun trying to find the post office in this complex. Found it in
time to get my package. Naturally, had to have a burger at the bar and grill not too far from the post office.
The actual hiking this morning was gorgeous. In the Ten Mile Range again on a ridge in the mountains. Did not have quite the  day I planned, but it was memorable.

Thurs Aug 26th   Porcupine Creek
26.3 miles today              143.9/ 476.5 miles total

The day was one spectacular view after another. The area before and just after Searles and Kokomo Pass was spectacular.

Alpine tundra, meadows that went seemingly forever, mountain views without end. All in the first few hours of the morning!

Saw my first CT thru-hikers. A group of three, Denver bound. Talked to them for a while. They thought I was out dayhiking
at first because of the size of my pack. Three times that happened today. Lightweight backpacking is still far from the mainstream it seems.

Another highlight for me was walking through the site of Camp Hale and seeing the 10th Mountain Division Memorial
on Tennessee Pass. The history of World War II has fascinated me since my early childhood. As with many people of my generation, had two grandfathers who fought in that war. My Grandfather Magnanti was especially reluctant to talk about those years of his life. When I pass through World War II historic sites and memorials, it is almost a link to my late grandfather.

It was a day that was enjoyable on many levels; the scenery, the relaxation that always comes to me on an hike, the visit at a historic location. All in all, another great day on the Colorado Trail.

Fri Aug 27th   near jeep road
23.6 miles today              167.5/ 476.5 miles total

Autumn is coming to the high country. The leaves of the aspens are showing more yellow, the ground cover is starting to turn more red, it snowed for most of the day. At 10,000 or so feet the weather is getting a bit chillier. In another month or so it will be winter at this elevation. The summer season is vibrant but short in Colorado.

In the past few days noticed more and more CDT symbols. Now that I am truly in the high country, it seems that the CDT is recognized more. On all three of the major long distance hiking trails, the longer trail plays second fiddle to a more well known local trail. In Vermont, there is the Long Trail. In the High Sierra it is the John Muir Trail. In Colorado few people know of the Continental Divide Trail, everyone knows about the Colorado Trail. Perhaps the new CDT markers will let people be aware of the tread these two trails share.

Finally, an oddity for me tonight. Currently sharing a campsite with another hiker. Been seeing Mike and his dog Nanook on and off all day. At 6:30 saw him at a nice campsite and offered to share it with me. Mike is just about to finish a 12 day stretch on the Colorado Trail. Turns out Mike hiked the AT in 1991. On these long trails you will see many of us who have done other long trails. As with me, Mike is also into lightweight backpacking. An enjoyable evening was had “talking trail” and hearing his stories of some well know AT people that he hiked with back in 1991.  As the journey progresses on the Colorado Trail, finding each day more and more enjoyable.

Sat Aug 28th   Missouri Gulch
20 miles today              187.5/ 476.5 miles total

Today was the best day yet on the CT in terms of weather, views and enjoyment of the trail. Woke up this morning to a balmy 26F (according to Mike’s thermometer). Mike made me a cup of morning joe before he headed off to do Mt. Elbert and I went to re-supply at Twin Lakes. Could tell it was a Saturday by the amount of cars pulling up to the trailhead by 6AM. Elbert is the highest “14er” and
is a popular destination.

The day was sunny, cloudless and had that crisp feel of autumn in the air. Awesome hiking weather! Mt. Elbert looked stunning in

the morning light. At Twin Lakes, picked up my re-supply, wrote some post cards, and took the old CT route over Hope Pass.

Though the way is steeper, the view from the pass was incredible. The mountains had a fresh coating of snow that readily stands out against the blue sky. Visibility was incredible! Continued in the “alternate route mode” by taking the Missouri Gulch trail rather than continue on a dirt road. As with Hope Pass, a tougher but more viewful alternative. The valley was just incredible. Surrounded by mountains
while above treeline. Almost feel as if I am in the Sierra again. An incredible day, one that was very satisfying. Tonight should be a clearnight under the stars. Always a sight to bring a good night’s rest.

Sun Aug 29th   Harvard Lake
20 miles today              207.5/ 476.5 miles total

Hooked back up with the official CT after powering my way up to Elkhorn Pass, down to the valley, and back to the CT. The climb up to Elkhorn Pass was stunning. The play of the morning light on the surrounding 14ers made lugging a pack with fresh supplies more than worth it.  Back on the CT, climbed to a ridge that had views that were again went seemingly forever. For me, it was lollygagging day. Took
a nap while basking in the sunlight. All while having the panorama of the Collegiate Peaks in front of me. This hike has been exceptionally rewarding. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Mon Aug 30th   Princeton Hot Springs
23 miles today              230.5/ 476.5 miles total

During the week, I feel like the trail is all mine. Do not see anyone for hours at a time, if at all. It is just me with my thoughts, the sounds of the streams cascading down rocks, the views of the ridges. For a few short weeks, I am again a thru-hiker – living in the mountains  rather than just visiting them. It is a heady feeling; a feeling that the woods are my home, where I should be. Nights in town are for
re-supply and getting ready to hit the trail, the mountains are where I belong.

Tues Aug 31st   Fooses Creek
23.8 miles today              254.3/ 476.5 miles total

Most of today’s hiking reminded me of trails in foothills outside of Boulder. Same grade, same type of topography. It was an easy day of hiking, even with the later than normal start. The gentle terrain left let my mind roam easily. Only the different set of high peaks visible from the trail reminded me that I was not somewhere in the foothills outside of Boulder.

Tomorrow I will again be on he divide and will be rejoining the CDT. The CT and the CDT split after Hope Pass. For the next 130 miles they will again share the same treadway. I am looking forward to being on the high country and on the divide. Here’s hoping the good weather continues to hold.

Wed Sept 1st   Tank Seven Creek
23.8 miles today              278.1/ 476.5 miles total

On the divide again! The feeling of being on the “backbone of the continent” is always invigorating. Being up high, seeing to the west and east,
mountains everywhere. My favorite place to be.

Was a tough day, physically. Nearly 24 miles – just like yesterday. But almost double the elevation gain. This quiet campsite looked too good to pass up.

As usual on the CT (and for the next 130 miles, the CDT), saw more mountain bikers than hikers. Only in the wilderness areas do I see any hikers. Can see why this stretch of trail is popular is popular to mountain bike – once on the ridge many gently rolling ups and downs with magnificent views.  Every mountain biker was very friendly; I was surprised however by what IS allowed on this portion of the
trail: DIRT BIKES!  Glad it is a weekday and I don’t have to share the narrow corridor with dirt bikes. Surprised dirt bikes are allowed in such a fragile environment. The only reason I can think of is that the trail pre-dates the CDT and the CT. Motor vehicle use must be “grandfathered” in on this stretch of trail. I can share the trails easily with mountain bikers; motorized vehicles on a narrow trail? Leaves
me scratching my head.  But enough (mild) ranting about USFS policies on this stretch of trail. I will just continue to enjoy hiking the divide where the views seem to go forever.

Thur Sept 2nd   Top of Knob
19.7 miles today              297.8/ 476.5 miles total

The past few days of high mileage and (more importantly) high elevation gain have left me a bit tired. Decided to do a fairly short day by both mileage and elevation gain standards. Took a nap and just ambled along. Will be taking a “nero” day into
Lake City this Sunday. Should be all rested up for the final push into Durango.

Saw much elk today. Reminded me that hunting season is almost here. Will have to pick up some blaze orange once I get into town. Dodging bullets may work well in “The Matrix”, but the characters in that movie weren’t carrying a pack in the mountains while wearing muted earth tone colors, either.

Most of the day was in tree cover with occasional bare patches of meadows. The exception was Sergant’s Mesa – a very broad meadow that was simply beautiful. In the cool morning air, with the sun beating down, it had the feel of a bald in the southern Appalachians. Since the views were of rolling green hills today, the area did have the feel of the mountains that I have not seen in six years.

People who hike these long trails have been described as a “tribe” by more than one person. May of us structure our lives around these long walks. Money is saved. Equipment is re-evaluated.  Supplies are bought. All in preparation for when the shoes are laced, the pack is placed on the back, and the trail beckons. Not many of us are habitual hikers. It goes against the grain of society to live for something that is intangible. A house, a career, a family. These are supposed to be the goals of a responsible adult.

The few that have an extreme sense of wanderlust are just that, a few. Some of those types gravitate towards thru-hiking. You tend to see the same people on the long trails.

Today I saw a north-bounding couple. Could tell they were seasoned thru-hikers. It wasn’t just their light packs and hiking poles. It was not the quick stride. It was almost an aura about them; a sense that they belong in the mountains. That they are comfortable here. The perception that states “We are not visitors, this trail is our home”. They must have thought the same of me because they asked if I was thru-hiking the CDT or the CT. Turns out we all remembered each other from the PCT in 2002. We had met in Kennedy Meadows. Had a nice hour or so chat with Ken and Cindy. The bond among those of us in this tribe of ours is strong. Many of us are persuing the American dream of self-determination  rather than the American dream of a more conventional means.

You will see these people on the long trails. And they will often be the same people you have seen on other trails before.

Fri Sept 3rd Cochetopa Creek
23.9 miles today              321.7/ 476.5 miles total

Cochetopa Gap is an amazing area; a grassy plateau that extends in every direction. It is not the usual Colorado majesty of snow capped peaks but still impressive. In the Ute language, Cochetopa means “Gate of the Buffaloes”. I tried to imagine
this immense plateau filled with buffalo. It was a sight that must of astounded the Ute and early pioneers to this area.

With the exception of passing RT-114, did not see anyone. In this wide open area my solitude was made ever more stark. It was just me, the wide open range and the sky above. A true Western experience and the kind of scenario that makes you realize
how small of a space you occupy on this planet of ours.

Sat Sept 4th  Creede, CO
18.2  miles today              339.9/ 476.5 miles total

My original intention did not involve this town stop. My plan was to do seven more miles over the pass and have a short hike into Lake City this coming Sunday. Well, Ma Nature changed my plans. A cold front moved in last night along with
much precipitation. My gear was damp and the thought of spending a night in freezing rain or snow was not appealing. The sagacity of this decisions was realized when at 12500’ or so it was near blizzard conditions. This type of weather can happen anytime of the year in Colorado high country. Still, it was a bit of surprise as the day before was sunny and hot. As I was trudging through the snow the thought of a hot shower, dry clothing and a hot town meal was more and more appealing.

Hitched down the forest service road at San Luis Pass into Creede. The road itself was a nice ride; sheer canyon walls and impressive looking mine buildings from the 1880s. Was dropped off in downtown Creede (not very big!) and made my way to the local bar and grill. If I have a comfort food, it is by far bar and grill type food. A burger done just right, complimented with steak fries and

washed down with a local brew… a small bit of paradise! A woman from the visitors’ center introduced herself and asked if I was hiking the trail. Said I was and she gave me down the low down of lodging in town. Cool! After my dinner, walked up and down in the town. Everything was full. It was getting cold out, it was starting to drizzle and it was too late to head back up to the trail. In desperation, went to the woman from the visitors’ center. Well, she made a few calls and before I knew it, was staying at the Church Community Center. Never ceases to amaze me the generosity and kindness of people. The director at the community center
did not even know me, yet she let me have the building all to myself.  On these long walks I see much beauty. The beauty of a sunset over the divide. The beauty of the morning mist as it rises from the valley floor. The beauty of a deer leaping in the woods. But I also see the beauty of normal people. The kindness and generosity shown by people who do not know me. They just want to help.

The person from the visitors’ center going out of her way, on her free time, to find me a warm place to stay for the night. The church director who welcomed me into “God’s House”. On these wilderness pilgrimages I see beauty every day. But some of
the beauty is not in  nature; some of the beauty is found among the people who help me on my pilgrimages. As I write this entry, I hear the cold rain outside. And I am again thankful for the beauty I see everyday.

Sun Sept 5th  Lake City, CO
14.5  miles today              354.4/ 476.5 miles total

The day after an early snowstorm in Colorado can simply be described as magical. Today was no exception. The peaks were dusted with snow, The bright blue skies made these white capped mountains even more impressive looking. All day I was in awe of the sights around me. The emotions  and thoughts I have when hiking solo are intense. That includes feelings of joy and awe. At one point was so overwhelmed by the sight in front of me that eyes filled up. It was one of my most intense experiences while backpacking.

The beauty carried to Snow Mesa. A rolling grass land surrounded by high peaks. It was similar to my experience in the Grayson Highlands.

I was in the Highlands the day after a snowstorm as well, and the effect was similar. Except this mesa was even more dramatic. All day kept on thinking how blessed I am to have experiences such as the one I had today.

Finally, two days in town are highly unusual for me. Creede was a psychological necessity. Lake City was a logistical necessity. Due to the nature  of the trip, felt mail drops would be more efficient. And they have been for this trip. But, to be honest, would have preferred to keep on hiking today. Still, I needed my maps, guidebook sections, and food. Plus, I get to check out another little town I normally would not have stepped in.

The good town food helps as well!

Mon Sept 6th  Below a pass
18.2 miles today              372.6/ 476.5 miles total

What a butt kicker of a day! Nearly 3800’ elevation gain in a mere 18 miles, with many ups and downs. No worries, planned a fairly  short day today. Getting out of town is always a slower day, anyway. The scenery was again Colorado fall beautiful.

Surprisingly, did not see a soul after I was dropped off at the trail head. A beautiful Autumn day, on a holiday no less, and no one to be seen. Had the snow covered peaks, the blue skies and the incredible vistas to myself.

Another sign of Colorado fall is being heard tonight: elks bugling. The seasonal mating call of the elks is a sound both majestic and eerie at the same time. And seems I am the only one out hearing the sound.

Tues Sept 7th near pond
22.7 miles                   395.3/ 476.5 miles total

Many aspects of a thru-hike cannot be conveyed with pictures: the golden aspen leaves swaying in the wind as sunlight reflects through them, a herd of elk running up the mountain side, the crisp air and the way the skin feels in the sun, the cascading of water down a stream while descending down a trail into a valley. And the sound of elks bugling.

This sound was again heard  this morning as I woke up to a sunrise over the mountains and is again being heard as I cook dinner. It is a haunting sound.
A sound that echoes the most primeval in nature. Tourists drive to Rocky Mountain National Park this time of the year to hear the sound; I get to hear it as part of my daily life.

Another milestone was reached today. The CT and the CDT parted for good. The CDT headed south and east towards Mexico, the CT headed south and west towards Durango. Thought of my friends on the CDT this year and hoped the weather holds for them.

The snow storm I saw a few days ago showed how brutal the weather can be in the mountains. Crossing my fingers for a delayed winter.

As I followed my own path on the CT, was starting to get into familiar territory. I am now in the heart of the San Juans. Have had three very memorable trips in the very place I am now hiking through. The San Juans are a magical place. Many fond memories of times spent here. As I hike through on the CT, I will be creating more memories.

Wed Sept 8th near FS-579
24.7 miles                   420.0/ 476.5 miles total

Another exquisite day on the Colorado Trail. This segment past the Animas basin and around Molas Pass is just stupendous.

Reminded me of the Sierra; long climbs to a pass to see views of jagged peaks. Been taking lots of pictures the past few days, today was no exception.

Only two more full days of hiking and this journey will be over. My body is weary, but the spirit is still fresh. It has been a wonderful three weeks. As always “trail time” is different from time in the “real world”. Denver seems so long ago.
Every day is distinct and fulfilling. Back in the “real world” one day often spills into the next. I do love my life in Boulder; good friends, do something fun almost every weekend (and often during the week) and I work with terrific people in
a very laid back environment. But something about going on these long trips is intoxicating. Three weeks on the trail provides so many experiences and memories that will linger long after I leave Durango. It is no wonder why many of us in
the thru-hiking community do these long trails as often as we can. The memories, the experiences and the life style have hooked more than one of us over the years.

The only real cure seems to be to go on a hike!

Thurs Sept 9th on a bench
26.7 miles                   446.7/ 476.5 miles total

This trip has the feeling of being almost over. The snow covered mountains peaks are giving away to rolling, green hills.

The elevation is steadily getting lower. Going over Black Elk pass felt like the last major push on this trip. After the pass tomorrow it is almost all down hill to Durango. I had planned to camp just outside of town. Knowing me, if I feel good
just might push for a thirty mile day. We shall see.

It has been a fantastic journey. Originally this trip was a “consolation prize” for not being able to do the CDT this year.  Well, the CT was more than just a consolation prize. The trail has been a wonderful way to see my adopted home state.
From my start in a canyon in Denver to ending in a canyon in Durango, all the mountains and wildlife in between, it has been a wonderful way to see the beauty of Colorado. I love my home.

Fri Sept 10th Durango, CO
29.8 miles                   476.5/ 476.5 miles total

My last day of hiking of hiking on the Colorado Trail had me climb to a high point of 12300 feet where it was windy, sleeting, rocky and no trees.  By the end of the day was below 7000 feet, was in the sun and walking among gamble oak – a tree only seen in the lower elevations of southern Colorado. In this one day have seen a representation of the terrain found on the CT. From gently rolling, wooded trail to rugged above tree line exposure. Three weeks of backpacking on the CT have seen much extremes – extremes in weather, extremes in terrain, extremes in sights on the trail.

I was going to camp three miles before the end of the trail but the pull to finish was strong. With all the people running, biking, walking, etc. felt odd to camp in the planned spot anyway. At 7:30 PM reached the Durango terminus of the CT. Took a picture at the terminus sign and walked the four miles or so into town. The journey was over just like that. A walk in Colorado was over.

Tomorrow I will catch a bus back to Denver than another bus to Boulder. Will be back in work Monday. From hiker trash to computer tech in the space of a few days. But my mind will wander back to the CT. I’’ll remember the snow storm on San Luis Pass, the scenery the day after. The kindness shown by strangers. The freedom I had for three weeks and will wonder when I can experience that feeling again. The journey on the Colorado Trail is over, but the memories will live on.

Tues Sept 21st Boulder, CO

It has been almost two weeks since I have finished hiking the Colorado Trail. Transcribing my journal has brought back the memories of the trail vividly. As I type this last entry it is raining and is only about 45F outside. Thankful I am not on the divide right now!

I am a little worried about my trail friends out on the CDT right now; hope they are OK.

The CT was a wonderful experience and a trail I am glad I hiked. The CDT may get all the glory in thru-hiking circles, but the stretch from the Animas basin to Durango is simply wonderful as well. Glad I hiked this trail!

As it was a fairly short trip, re-adjusting to society again was easier than past trips. Already the trip seems like a dream, though.

Two weeks ago  at this time was in the San Juans at about the place the CDT and the CT split, looking at the divide and thinking of future adventures. Today? In the office, clean shaven, wearing blue jeans and a cotton flannel shirt. I am dry, comfortable and full from the lunch I just ate.  Part of me is content.

The other part of me wants to be on the trail again. To be dirty, tired, hungry…and seeing those mountains that extend from Canada to Mexico.  Part of me wants to be on the divide right now with my friends – facing the snow, feeling the cold against my skin, feeling alive.

In my day-to-day life I am luckier than most. The mountains are in my backyard. I have a group of friends who can understand why I must do these journeys. Every weekend can challenge myself physically and immerse myself in beauty. But I am addicted.

Want to be out for days, weeks, months.  As I sit here at my desk already thinking about future adventures: the CDT, hiking  through Italy, canoeing the Mississippi, exploring the canyons of Utah and other adventures yet to be dreamed of. Trying to
find a balance between my wanderlust and needing to work to earn money is interesting. Maybe someday I’ll find the  balance that works for me. In the meantime will continue to dream and let my mind wander on treks not taken.

I may be in Boulder physically, but my mind has me on some distant peak in Montana.  Or in a village located in the Appenines where my great-grandfather came from. Paddling down to where a river ends and the ocean begins. I see myself exploring a canyon wanting to see what is around the next bend in the trail.

But for now will enjoy my life here in Colorado…and still dream of journeys yet to be taken.

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