The Colorado Trail: Day 22
Several years ago I was making plans to marry the woman with whom I’d been in love for the better part of four years. We had a dog together, we lived in a house with a two car garage, we both had our careers, and we loved one another dearly. It’s hard for me to look back on that time now, because now I can see it from its beginning to its end. Anymore it’s hard for me to look back on that time in my life without remembering how it came to a close. In fact, that’s probably what I remember most of all. I remember feeling that it was coming to an end. I remember feeling like it wasn’t going to last any longer. Then eventually, there was the moment that I knew that it was done. I remember the day that it was over. I remember the feeling, and even writing about it in this very moment brings back that pain again.
I bring that up today only because I can’t find another way to explain how I feel today when I think about the trail. I know that I wrote the about feeling like I’m going through a break up just two nights ago, and I suspect that in the five days that I have ahead of me before this trail comes to a close, I’ll continue to repeat it. I just don’t know how else to explain this pain. It’s a lump in my throat. I can feel it right above my heart. It’s a pressure and a sadness. It’s a perfect unity between a physical sensation and an emotion. It’s hard to deal with, but that’s just reality.
The trail teaches us to deal with whatever challenges are in front of us, whether those challenges are snow, rain, wind, heat, or the inevitable end of the trail itself. And that’s all that I have left to do is deal with this reality. Very, very soon this trail will be completed, and it will be time for me to take the next step in life.
I spent today as a zero day in Breckenridge, mostly lounging around the Fireside Inn and Hostel where I slept last night and where I’ll sleep again tonight. I did go for a brief walk around town with some other hikers for a bit, but they’ve left back on their southbound journey down the trail now. I would have left today as well were it not for the fact that I need to wait until tomorrow so that I can get my resupply box from the post office when they open at 8am. From there I’ll load up my bag, take the bus back to the trail, and I should be hiking north for the last leg of this journey by 9am. It’s not as early as I’d like to be on trail tomorrow, but at the same time I want to drag it out. I want for it to last what little bit longer I can make it last.
As I wandered around the inn today I stumbled across a trail guide for the CDT. At first I gave it a passing glance, but when I came back across it an hour later, I peeled open its pages and spent well over an hour reading through it. It made me feel a lot better to focus my attention on what’s next rather than the ending of what is. In a lot of ways it was actually invigorating and exciting. It was my first step in planning for the CDT, which I know with all of my heart I’ll be on during this time next year. I plan on starting in the spring—probably around May 1st depending on weather—and hiking northbound from the Mexican Boarder. There’s a lot to think about and plan between now and then, and it gives me something to look and build forward to. Actually, now that I think about it, picking up and paging through that CDT guide was the first time that I’ve been really happy and excited like that since coming to terms with the fact that the Colorado Trail is nearing its end.
On that point however, I should go ahead and admit that the trail might not be as close to its finish as I was thinking. I honestly am not sure about this, but the day that I’m planning to arrive in Denver might be a little bit strange, and as such, the person who I was going to stay with might not be available when I get there. So that sort of complicates things, but it also opens up a new possibility. Right now I’m toying with the possibility of hiking from Breckenridge towards Denver starting tomorrow (104 miles/ 3.75 days), and then just turning around and hiking back to Breckenridge after I reach the trail’s end. That will give me another half a week on trail, it will give me something to do between Thursday and when my ride back to Arizona arrives on Tuesday, and it’ll give me some extra miles on the trail before I have to say a temporary goodbye to Colorado.
Anyways, I’m going to leave it there for tonight. I wish that there was more to talk about, but on these trail town days it’s mostly just town stuff, and I doubt that many people want to read the gory details about the pancakes, bacon, and eggs that the host of this little Hostel/B&B provided. So I’ll bring it to an end.
I’ll be back on trail tomorrow though and no doubt there will be more to share at that time.
All the love in the world,