CDT Day 85 and 86 Durango

1 mile hiked!

It’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement of the CT thu-hikers in finishing the trail. I would love to feel accomplished and sit on a couch eating my weight in curry and chocolate, watching mindless tv and movies as a great reward for this great thing, but my hiking perspective has forever been skewed by these giant long distances I set myself to hike. Even more than setting them for myself, it’s associating with epic humans who think nothing of a 2600+ mile hike, and even string together 2 or 3 of them in one year, that makes less than 1000 miles seem kind of…unfinished. I’m still excited by the hike, Colorado is amazing, and surviving so long at altitude with so many climbs is pretty awesome (if I do say so myself).
However, there are so many more miles for me to hike I can’t relax too much!
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After hiking the final mile, hitching into Durango, we enjoy almost 2 full glorious days eating and watching the Lorelais (Gilmore Girls), as well as the awesomeness of Coach Taylor, Matt Saracen and Tim Riggins (Friday Night Lights) on netflix. We also take lots of showers, do laundry, buy food, all the town chores necessary for getting us back on trail.
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On the third day, we rose again…from the couch and into a car. Destination: Cuba, New Mexico. Back on the CDT!

CDT Day 84 CT Day 25

28.7 miles hiked, Camping @ 7162ft
Today starts with a climb to the top of our current hill, that opens up to a view of the valley below, and all the distant mountain tops. We hike along the edge of the top, briefly winding in through the trees then back out to the edge again. In and out. We are vortexed by phone service at the top and are joined by 4 other hikers needing to press little buttons and stare at tiny screens to feel connected to the world.
Things get a little more exciting as there is a long knifes edge in front of us. There are 3 big bumps today; 3 big Stegosaurus bumps like my spine. The first is across the loose rock on the skinny 30cm knife edge trail, the ground falling away fast on both sides.
Short sharp climbs then back down again.
After the dinosoaur hiking we walk steeply down to a lake below, where we stop to collect water and eat some lunch in the harsh sun. The water is full of floating algae, but is our first for a while so we filter it and add some electrolyte mix to mask the taste. Perfect.
The rest of the trail is down down down as we begin the descent to the lower altitude of Durango. It gets hotter and hotter as we head down. There is brief respite for about 10 minutes as the clouds open up on us, but then hooooot. The trail starts following a creek, where I stop a few times to dip my hat and buff in the cool water. Finally at the bottom and main part of the creek I strip off my shirt and dip it and my head in the beautifully cold stream. There are so many biting flies and now wasps around that one hiker has set up his tent net while waiting for his friends. There’s an army of flying villains waiting to attack him as soon as he emerges.
One final small climb and then no more climbing on the CT. It’s 4 to the top and we will camp shortly after, giving us less than 10 miles to finish in the morning. I surprise myself and make really good time on this climb. Aspens and pines intermingle giving a nice breath of shade as I hike past, the grade is breath-borrowing but not drastic. I’m at the top before I even know it. Then down again.
We stop where we think there is water, however it is filled with animal bones and cow poop so we decide to skip it and try our luck with one of the many small streams we cross all day on the trail. Except it appears all those streams finished before this final climb. We’ve enough water to camp, so really we are just after a flat spot to camp. There isn’t one.
I know we are close to the trailhead because more and more bike riders are appearing. The only campsite that is referred to in the notes in my phone app is taken up. Shite.
We resign ourselves to going all the way to the water, but once there we see all the tiny places taken up. Bah grr humpf. I have to take my headlamp out now as the light is fast fading. Grizzly’s doesn’t work so we are both hiking by my tiny light.
Finally at 9:20pm we pass the sign for the  start/end of this section of the Colorado Trail. We find a small place off to the side, set up the tent and fall asleep, mad at the trail for not having a campsite exactly where we wanted it. The nerve. Less than one tiny mile to the main trailhead and the road. I’m claiming it now  – The Colorado Trail is finito! Boom!