CDT Day 78 — September 11
Huston Park to Colorado
Lost Sock Camp to Hello Colorado Camp
Miles hiked: 22
Total miles: 1391
Heyooo, we made it to Colorado! This state has been on my mind since well before this hike even began. Now that it’s here? Well, that’s just a pretty good feeling. Crossing the border was one of the few unambiguously positive outcomes a day that made me want to find a warm place to curl up and forget the trail. Echoes of Washington on the PCT disturbed me deeply and planted a seed of doubt in my mind.
Cowboy camping last night was a gamble that didn’t quite pay off this time. At 2am I was woken by a mighty gust of wind. Shortly thereafter the rain began in earnest, but not before SpiceRack and I had set up the tent with zombie-like focus. I fell asleep again to a heavy pitter patter.
Hiking at 7am, I was in my rain jacket. Not for any rain, which had stopped for now, but for the cold. It was somewhere in the 30s and the blowing clouds left me little hope of warming up in the sun. That was alright though. Following a broken trail, cairn to cairn, along a ridge of pink boulders was mentally engaging and cool. There were some good views of distant mountains, but cloud blocked the biggest of them.
We got water at a creek, then got hail climbing back up, this time actually into the cloud. I was grateful for my umbrella once again. Last week it was for shade. This week it keeps me dry. Rain came and went, but the cold persisted. We took advantage of a rare dry patch under a tree to rest and fuel up. Six more miles to the border.
The rest of the way was easy walking. I kept my hands in their sleeves for warmth and clutched my umbrella. It was on this march that my mind wandered back to the PCT. Almost four years ago to the day, I was walking in similar weather to another border. That one marked the end of my thru-hike. This one, just another state completed. But the similarities were eerie, and I didn’t like it. The last few weeks in Washington had been such a miserable grind that the only thing keeping me going was my proximity to the end. Now, approaching Colorado, merely the penultimate state of the CDT, I questioned for the first time with seriousness whether or not I could finish this hike. If the weather stays like this, I just don’t know. I was far from total despair, but my shaken confidence surprised me. Disturbing.
There wasn’t much at the border. Just a line of rocks and some license plates nailed to a tree. There wasn’t much celebration. Too cold and wet. Spice and I pitched the tent just over on the Colorado side and bundled in to eat and warm up. 2pm.
We waited out the rain for couple hours before I got antsy. The sprinkler had stopped and I needed to get hiking. 4:30pm, packed up, hiking into Colorado. Adios, Wyoming. It’s been real.
The trail turned into a dirt ATV track for the rest of the day. The rain stayed away for the most part. The cold remained. We hiked fast to stay warm, into an early dusk, then night. My feet felt good despite how much I abused them yesterday and I tried to focus on that.
Camp was hard to find by headlamp in the cloud. Our bright beams illuminated mist and my breath so that I felt as though I was inside a giant lightbulb. But we found a good spot, and I ate a good burrito for dinner. It was a relief to finally lay down and hope for a warmer tomorrow. Colorado, here we are.