Colorado Trail Thruhiker Trail Journal

Colorado Trail Thru-Hike: My Complete Trail Journal

Day 1 Date: 15/7/21

Miles: 11.2

Miles to date: 11.2

Had a late start, due to having to call up AT&T to fix my SIM. Walked to line D tram, to mineral station (isn’t that in pokemon?) and a quick uber to Wateron Canyon. I rearranged my gear, sunscreen water, all that good stuff.

When I got to the trailhead sign I wanted a photo. And old couple took the photo but to be honest they barely knew what they were doing.

I was about to head off when I noticed another hiker coming. I’m glad a I waited, this was Rick, who was also thruhiking.

He’s a cool guy, got a love for geology. He’s a retired physio. When he got to the sign I asked if he wanted me to take a pic, I did. Then I asked him if he would take one of me. He did. I was about to head off by myself but he joined me and for the next 6-odd miles we got to talking, like you only can on trail. He is more spiritually awake in rocky places, I can dig it.

At mile 6.6 we took a break by the dam before the first big uphill of the day. For as much as I love hiking, uphills can forever suck a dick.

At this rest spot we met an elderly couple on trikes. The man was a retired marine and seemed a like a good man enjoying his retirement.

I also met T-storm and Glacier, both thruhikers. They hiked the Superior Hiking Trail together and Glacier just finished the Long Trail.

T-storm is a pot-smoking chill jester and Glacier is a friendly and competent outdoorsman.

We also passed a group of (1m, 3f). Didn’t get their names but a nice group. Not gonna lie, one of the girls is pretty fine.

The hiking was great today, an easy start then a few gradual but doable uphills. First days always remind you you should have trained more and spent less time eating pizza and jerking off.

But I’m here, the first day down. The attempt is greater than the deed. I’m happy to be here, the pack feels good. It’s always a privilege to do such adventures and I shouldn’t forget that.

I’m tired now, some thunder. Hopefully bears don’t eat me.

Day 2  Date: 16/7/21

Miles: 16.1

Miles to date: 27.3

Lots of thunder and snoring last night. There was 6 of us camping there. I got 5 or 6 hours of sleep but woke feeling good. Woke around 6, on trail for 6.45. Broke camp pretty quickly.

We had 6 miles left of segment 1, about 2 up, 4 down. We knocked this out before 9am. Good going.

However, main concern of the day was section 2 water carry and sun exposure. A lot of uphill, it was tough carrying about 4L/5L of water, 90+ degrees.

Before lunch I was struggling but just kept pushing up.

Met plenty of people along the way. The final section was beautiful.

Tired now! Long. but good day.

Day 3 Date 17/7/21

Miles: 13

Miles to date: 40.3

On trail 7am. I took the lead setting pace today as I was feeling good. Rick told us last night he was taking a zero so we said our goodbyes last night and set off without him in the morning.

A few tough climbs today but overall it was a forgiving segment. Segment 3 is graded for cyclists so the plus is there is a more gradual gradient, the minus is you have to step off trail every few mins to let them by. But plenty of water, good weather, can’t complain.

Slight little blister on right baby toe. Nothing to worry about, will keep an eye on it. Was recognized from my Youtube today, weird feeling.

When I got to the end of Seg 3, I decided to have an early day and camp. The next 3 miles had a 1000 feet increase, wasn’t worth it IMO. Told the lads I was camping here, they wanted to push on, HYOH, but once I explained my rationale and they checked their guides they were thinking of getting off trail in Bailey, they decided to just camp with me. A good reminder not to let the want to stay with a group above your own assessment of the trail and your own body.

Rick made that decision to zero, I decided when I wanted to stop, we stopped early, 13 miles. A few hours later, Rick showed up! He slept in, felt good and pushed on, good for him.

Currently listening to Marina & The Diamonds in my tent, chill evening.

Current plan is to push on to Jefferson (70ish miles) to resupply, then zero in Breckenridge or Frisco (104.7 miles)

Not gonna lie, I’m more used to hiking solo and at times my old ways set in where I just want to be alone. So this is a good change of pace.

Waterproof Trail Journal

This ‘Write In The Rain’ Trail Journal is the one I used when hiking The Colorado Trail. Lightweight, small and legit waterproof!

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Day 4 18/7/21

Miles: 16.9

Miles to date: 57.1

Start: 7am

We set off into a knowingly hard slog, 7 miles up, over 2200 feet of elevation gain. The first few miles were okay, but the last section was a damn ballbreaker, out of breath, grunting like a feral fucktard. Slowly, eventually, made the top. About 6 or 7 of us chilled at the top for a while until about noon. The next section was downhill, which I blitzed down for 2 or 3 miles. Out of nowhere the gnarled forest gave way to meandering miles of meadow. It was truly beautiful…for the first few miles then it was like ‘Fuck you meadow! I’m done with your meandering shit’, finally got to the high point, then 2 more miles down to camp, I put in some music to fly down. 

Arrived at camp at 4.30ish, which was a good time.

T-storm and Glacier arrived 45 minutes later. I had waited 20 minutes for them in the meadow but pushed on after waiting. 

Met plenty of hikers today. There is one guy who I keep passing (blue). He is pretty slow but just keeps going without breaks, I should get his name next time.

I don’t think I’m getting enough calories, dumped half a pack of mashed potatoes. Prospect of town food tomorrow or day after. Already looking forward to my zero in Brek. A long and tiring day but happy I pushed on to finish the segment.

Day 5 19/7/21

Miles: 14.7

Miles to date: 71.8

Start: 7.10am

A flat start today which allowed us to bang out some miles before 11. Then a long slog uphill, exposed. 1000 feet gain, first 500 feet were okay-  great views. Last 500 feet were tough, high sun. Might make more sense to wait! But pushing early, allowed us to finish early 2.30pm at Kenosha Gap. Last 2 miles were tiring, took 2 vitamin i’s (ibuprofen) to help.

Hitched into Jefferson, took about 5 mins to get picked up by a guy who recovered from prostate cancer so had to stop being a fireman- seemed like a good guy. The trip was only 5 minutes – Americans are funny like that, everyone seems to have their life story ready to be told. Ask me for my life story? I’d have to sit down and think about it, Americans just proactively tell strangers they meet for 5 minutes.

Got to Jefferson Store, got a burger + fries. T-Storm got his burrito. Did a basic resupply- very basic, little options. Chilled there for 4 hours. Then got a ride ($10) back to the trailhead.

It’s a paid campsite. Bunch of us at campsite, 2 we hadn’t seen since night 1. That cool stoner ex-soldier, a girl named Eliza (TBC), we sat around talking, got a campfire going. Almost 10 now, need to sleep, tomorrow looks steep!

Day 6 20/7/21

Miles: 17.1

Miles to date: 88.7

Start: 7am

Today, I felt better than tits.

The combo of town food, a good night’s sleep and some liquid IVs meant I was flying out of camp this morning.

We pushed above 11000ft for the first time and I did 11.4 before noon. Beautiful vistas throughout, the descent was pretty tough though.

I took 45 mins near the top in the shade and raised my feet, a beautiful break.

Got to camp at 3ish, I left T-storm & Glacier behind, didn’t see them all day as I was going so fast. They arrived into camp later though.

At camp, met a few other hikers. Slow blue guy’s name is David, good guy. Also met Mckenzie & Marybeth. Mckenzie is younger 20s, Marybeth is older, in remission from Cancer for 5 years. We all sat around camp talking. 

I also met another group who have anti Uigher Genocide posters on their packs. I offered them all a doughnut when they arrived into camp. They were all super appreciative; funny the little things that go a long way out here.

Raining and thunder at the moment (7.26pm). Just 15.5 miles to town, might try spend 2 nights.

Good day, feeling strong even despite a few blisters and my ankle felt like hamburger on todays descent- took some vitamin i. 

Also took my first non-campsite shit on (this) trail- felt 10lbs lighter. This is my life now, gone are the milestones of promotions or engagements. I celebrate good shits now. What day is it?

Day 7 21/7/21

Miles 16.6

Miles to day 104.1

Start: 7am

Pushing on to town today so was motivated to get the day done. Wasn’t flying like I was yesterday but a solid pace. 2 big ups today, tough but it’s come to the point now where I know I can make it, I just need to keep going.

Funny moment in the morning. I was leading the pack out of camp, so was first on trail when I started to hear 100s of howls nearby. I thought I had stumbled upon a Coyote den or something, was freaky but I kept pushing forward and eventually realized it was just a dog farm (huskies)! 

We pushed onto Frisco after that to spend 2 nights at the Summit Suites (about $120 a night), went for pizza and beers with T-storm and Glacier. Hit the spot, zero tomorrow.

Day 8 22/7/21

Writing this on Day 9. Took a zero in Frisco so no new miles etc.

Ate a bunch etc. then resupplied and watched ‘Signs’ on TV haha

Day 9 23/7/21

Miles: 16.1

Miles to date: 120.2

Tough day, big climbs out of Frisco. Got the free bus and started at 7am. Met another guy who joined us, he’s an ICU nurse. 

2500 feet climb, then another steep section, around 1200 feet. Then the rain hit hard. We pushed on past Copper Mountain ski resort- thankfully stopped in for a burger and beer.

Waitress was hot but I think I got blue balls. No one ever talks about that. Sure, hikers have empty stomachs, sore feet and dirty clothes but sometimes we just need to blow a load.

Oh well.

Day 10 24/7/21

Miles: 18.1

Miles to date: 138.3

Start: 7.10

Today is the first night I pushed on further than Glacier & T-Storm. They stopped around 2pm after a hard ascent & descent. I decided to push on. Never easy to potentially push on from people you’ve enjoyed hiking with. 

This is the nature of thru-hiking. Everything is transient, everything is fleeting, the highs, the lows,the hard miles, the easy miles, the views and the rain, it all passes, passes quickly. We blow through towns , bang out miles, develop new friendships quickly but can end them just as quick.

But hopefully I could see them tomorrow, who knows!

After I pushed on a few miles later I happened upon trail magic. Bunch of hikers there. The hosts, 2 guys, knew a group of 3 (2 guys,1 girl) I’ve been leapfrogging a lot out here. They all seem chill. I should get their names. Couple of others there too.

We all pushed on for a few more miles but I found a solo dry camp spot maybe 0.7 from where a few others were planning to camp.That group of 3 were planning on another 10 miles lol. 

So first solo camp tonight, is a little scary with the bears etc. but all good. Terrain looks good for tomorrow, might try for my first 20 miler on (this) trail.

Day 11 25/7/21

Miles: 19.6

Miles to date: 157.9

Start: 7.05

Biggest day in terms of mileage today. Nearly a 20 mile, lets just say it is. Started pretty easy but then a lot of steep climbs up to 11,700 feet approx.

Bit of rain, thunder and hail up top but were below treeline the whole time. Currently camping with Chappie (tall guy), Chris and Wobble. Wobble really reminds of a guys I know back home in terms of look and mannerisms. Also bumped into 3 weekenders (2 Mikes and Daryl). One of the Mikes was telling about his trip to Ireland. Funny how just saying I’m Irish everyone has their own stories or ideas what it means.

No sign of Glacier or T-storm today, alas I don’t know if I’ll see them again.

It’s funny how much your mood can swing out here, started off feeling alright, then pretty bleh going up those passes, once going down I was feeling euphoric even though I was pushing miles, perhaps because? 

The ‘Why are you out here?’ can be hard to put into words but it has something to do with those simple euphoric moments that only seem to come to me on trail. A giddy childishness, a deep joy, and understanding of the privilege and serendipity of the moments I happen to find myself in, even if I don’t always act as I wish to do, too standoffish when meeting new people, too quick to ignore the view for another Snickers, but sometimes it all clicks, and clicks good and I am awash in the beauty of nature and humanity and humanities small place within nature.

Bed Time!

Day 12  26/7/21

Miles 18.8

Miles to date 175.1

Start: 8.25am

Got a late start to sleep because was only a half day right? 18.8 miles later I’m barely an hours walk into Twin Lakes. I’m not staying here though. I arranged a shuttle to take me to Leadville. Will stay in a hostel for 2 nights.

Got a text from T-Storm- he had to get off trail because of a spider bite on his foot!

Said he’d be off for 4 days. I text him back, if I hear back from him I might try to see him see when I’m in Leadville.

Today I felt very… meh but I put the miles in and a nero and zero will do me well, need to rest before the Collegiate West. 

Don’t think I saw anyone on trail I knew already today, I’m getting out of sync methinks– nothing wrong with that.

Day 13 27/7/21

Miles: 2.1 (nero)

Miles to date: 177.2

A very quick nero into Twin Lakes, I had already arranged a shuttle into Leadville. Met Chappie and others in Twin Lakes, apparently he’s getting off trail. Dawson from the hostel picked me up, a 22 year old from Alabama, cool kid, into mountain bikes.

Got in to town and went to get some Subway and met T-storm walking down the street. Apparently he didn’t get my text. Glacier pushed on to Twin Lakes but looks like we all might meet in Twin Lakes again as T-Storm and I head out Thursday, I’ll prob push passed them again but all good. Met a bunch of others here too. Bobcat finished the CT and is now doing some 14ers, reminds me of an autistic Ryan Gosling but he’s a real cool guy, good vibes. Also Little Spoon, a no-filter chatter stoner box. Went for dinner (Mexican) with them then had a few drinks. Drunk on into the night, watching the stars.

Day 14 28/7/21

Zero Day

Day 15 29/7/21

Woke up, not feeling it so decided to double zero!

Not much room in the hostel so I had to pitch my tent outback ($20), actually pretty handy.

I was going to get back to trail with T-storm but apparently he mistimed his booking, thought he had one more night so he left around noon but we and Chrissy and another young hiker went to breakfast first (also went for breakfast with T-storm and Bobcat day before). A group of 3 other hikers (a few days behind me at Tennessee Pass), got talking to them with Christy. Nice group, they went down to the saloon and Christy and I followed on later on. Had a few drinks and a delicious lamb sandwich with french dip. Spent a few hours talking shite with them and another NOBO CDTer from Canada.

Later on, I jumped on Tinder. Found a hookup. Dating apps have their uses, I guess.

Day 16 30/7/21

Miles 12.3 (via collegiate west)

Miles to date: 189.7

Had a shuttle arranged for 8.30, got packed up, ready to go. Starting the Collegiate West today.

This is an objectively tough section, very steep but felt great on trail today, not sure why?

Thunder still booming so decided to camp just below treeline, no point risking going over the pass today, will start early tomorrow and get over 2 passes before noon tomorrow. Good to be back on trail and out of the vortex.

Day 17 + 18 31/7/21 + 1/8/21

Writing on day 18. Got to camp last night around 6pm and it was raining.

Day 17 Miles: 17.1

Day 17 Miles to date: 206.8

Day 18 Miles: 10.1

Day 18 Miles to date: 216.9

Finished hope pass yesterday, was a tough ascent. I’m out of sync here on the west, starting late on the first day it was hard getting above the passes before noon. The rain and some thunder came in. I stopped for lunch and considered camping early but instead pushed on to Lake Ann Pass around 4pm. I hadn’t heard thunder in an hour so I risked it. It was a hard but interesting pass.

At camp another hiker came by who is doing his 4 Corner hike- 2000+ miles.

Had a late start, feeling weak and tired, very lethargic only did 10 miles – the next 17 miles are all exposed above treeline so makes sense to try and bang it all out in one go– up and down all day.

Random little niggles in my knees, ankles, shoulders, they come and go.

Think I need more calories- that’s the only thing I haven’t properly figured out – I barely want to eat the calories I have now. Hope to get up early and be on trail for 6am.

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My UL gear list for the Colorado Trail

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Day 19 2/8/21

Miles: 17.4 

Miles to date 234.2

Start: 7.05

Some days you wake feeling like a giant, others like death too snug in your quilt.

Some days end like a grim death march, others a jubilant fanfare.

Rained all night ( raining now too). Was hard getting up this morning, I want to get on trail for 6am, but made it for 7am. My headlamp- the new one I bought in Leadville, the black diamond, doesn’t work or needs more charge. So realising if I want to break camp in the dark I need a light. 

7am worked out well though. Collegiate West Section 3 was my favourite so far. 5 passes, 6 counting the one I did in sec 2. Fog at first, then sun, rain, wind.

The trail conditions in terms of gradient and maintenance etc. really improved after the wildernesses, which really helped.

Great day of hiking all round. Yesterday I felt pretty down on trail but today helped, feel like I turned a corner. Today’s the first day where I’ve felt confident enough to say I will finish this trail.

This morning felt pretty shit, then I passed a group still breaking camp, I had already broken camp and hiked a mile or so, so that made me feel better. 

Then approaching the start of section 3 trailhead I met 2 hikers going NOBO on their way up. Even though I was glum, I said the usual Good Morning to them but got no response, just dead sad eyes. Maybe they were just assholes but maybe they were in a rut too.

These 2 experiences, within the first hour of the day, helped put this in perspective for me. 

When it’s pissing rain and you’re hiking day after day- the rational response, the human response is to say: Fuck. This. I guess that’s what sorts the thru-hikers, from the day-hikers.

Sometimes quitting is the rational choice but to finish a thruhike requires an irrational will.

Got to camp and cooking dinner I overheard a familiar voice – T-Storm! Glacier is here too. Unfortunately his ankle is acting up again and he’s planning to get off trail tomorrow. Bad buzz but makes perfect sense to get it checked again to make sure the infection still isn’t there. 

We and a few others set around a campfire and talked shit for a while until the rain came in and forced us to bed. In theory I could get off trail end of sec 4 but might wait untill 11 miles later at Monarch Pass- will see how I feel.

Day 20 3/8/21

Miles 17.5

Miles to date: 251.8

Start : 7:18

Today I, an Irishman, truly learned what rain was. Nonstop, all-day, heavy, cold and impersonal. I lie, there was a slight reprieve around noon. Either way, everything is wet and sodden. My body calls the ancient desperate cry of all hikers: Town! Town! Town! And I shall acquiesce. 

Pitched my tent and just lay there for a few hours, cold and wet. Too tired to cook, I had a snickers. I fucking love my snickers, I’m literally sick of eating those Kind bars, next resupply, only Snickers, my beloved.

This morning said Goodbye to T-storm. Logically I know I’ll never see him again but there’s always a chance.

Day 21 4/8/21

Miles: 11.5

Miles to Date: 263.3

Start: 7am

Writing this at 5am on the 5th (day after) in The Simple Hostel in Salida. Rough night trying to sleep that night, weather was ok but woke up around midnight freezing cold with an elevated heart rate, shivering, clattering teeth; classic early warning signs of hypothermia.

Tried in vain to get warm but nothing seemed to work, after 5 days of constant rain everything was wet.

Eventually though I put my foam sit pad, which I usually put below my ass or under my hip for comfort, below my core and man that simple adjustment worked a treat. Increased the r-value under my core from 2.2 to 4.2. Felt pretty snug then. Maybe I need a better pad?

Thankfully when I woke the rain had stopped and sun, actual fucking sun, had returned.

I was in no rush and had a slow start not getting back on trail until around 9am. 

I just had one big climb for the first few miles then fairly easy going to Monarch Pass. Those first few miles tested me though, I wanted to quit with each step. I was still cold, hungry, just running on my beloved snickers.

Once I was up above the Continental Divide, my mood changed as the prospect of town loomed.

As I was having a little break I met Hank, who had the same backpack as me (bright orange), cool guy.

Got to Monarch Pass, saw him again and 2 other hikers in the store. We shot the shit for a while- all good guys.

I hitched in from Monarch Pass, a black guy in a big 4×4 picked me up. He was going to Denver and hadn’t even heard of Salida. In retrospect I should have double checked. He dropped me at Poncha Springs as he was going the other way. Tried hitching from Poncha but no luck so began walking in to town with my thumb out. Eventually, a long eventually, a couple, locals I believe, where pulling onto the freeway and asked if I needed a lift into town. I gladly accepted! We chatted for a few minutes, seemed like a cool couple. 

Got to the hostel, eventually got some pizza and beer and then basically crashed around 8/9pm. Have a zero booked but will try and double zero, feet seem in a bad way, blew my nose this morning and saw an avalanche of blood. I seem to have a bewildering array of cuts and bites- the Collegiate West and its 5 days of rain fucking broke me, man!

Day 22 5/8/21

Zero Day  – Salida

Day 23 6/8/21

Double zero day

Mostly just chilled, ate, foot has blister.

Day 24 7/8/21

Miles : 14.2

Miles to Date: 267.6 *Back to guidebook miles, which don’t include West extra miles

Hitched out from Salida, got picked up by couple who seem to pick up a lot of hikers. Their son did in ‘15. Annoyingly though they dropped back at the Collegiate East trailhead section, the West (Monarch Pass). So instead of doing 6 downward ridge miles I had to do 8.5 uphill miles. Annoying but whatever, I’m still camped at section I wanted. Exit west when hiking today but had a good dinner.

Day 25 8/8/21

Miles: 14.7

Miles to date: 282.3

Start: 9.25

Had a late start, big open blister on my left foot, limping by on it but I just have to walk it off. I wrapped it up a bit which helped but first few miles still hurts. Slows me down but hopefully heals soon. 

Trail was very rocky today which doesn’t help, overall felt really good today. The big dinners seem to help, feel full and more energy.

Still suck at getting up in the morning.

Sleeping on top of Sergeant Mesa, a little windy for my liking but awesome view, might try to get star timelapse. Also surrounded by cows- hopefully they don’t trample me!

Day 26 9/8/21

Miles 18

Miles to date: 300.3

Beautiful sunrise this morning, I should def appreciate all this sunshine. Met a bunch of hikers today due to the lack of water sources in this section we’re all bunched up at the same spots. 

A northbounder set the trail alight with the news that there was trail magic towards the end of the section. Must be 15 or more hikers all camped here, trail angels are doing pancakes for breakfast. Foot still messed up, hope it heals up soon. Stayed up late talking shit with fellow hikers Joe and Cub.

Day 27 10/8/21

Miles: 23.6

Miles to date: 323.9

Start: 8.25am

Boobs day! Or at least that’s what the group I hiked with today is celebrating. About 8 of us or so, let me see: Chapstick, Superman, Joe, Squeeze, Teabag, Hollywood and Soulshine. We hit 4 trail magics in one day.

Pancakes for breakfast, then Apple had shots of fireball whiskey and refreshments and then Peanut and P had grilled cheese sandwiches & beers. Then hiking down to camp a car drove by and gave us some goodies. All camping together now at the end of a long day, longest one on trail.

Left foot is still fucked up, gotta hike on. I’m being a shy asshole with this group, who are all being super nice. I should make a bigger effort tomorrow to be a nicer guy, even if I can’t keep up with them. 

Town beckons!

Day 28 11/8/21

Miles: 21.5

Miles to date: 345.4

Start time: 6.55am

Cold, solemn morning, funny how a big group can be so silent in the morning. No one barely said a word as we broke camp in the shadow of the mountain amongst the moos of the cows.

Eventually we all got moving, leaving camp whenever we were each ready. I’m one of the slowest in the group.

A funny moment happened in the morning, a few miles in. I went to take a shit so I was def the last in the group. There was a pretty knarly river crossing so the group was waiting for everyone to cross safely. Well I got to the crossing instead of balancing on the shitty logs, I just said fuck it and jumped in and forded the river. They all thought I was crazy haha

Besides that it was a long day with a lot of uphill. I, the slowest, didn’t make it to camp until nearly 7pm but only 12 miles to town tomorrow so worth the upfront sacrifice. 

I’m planning on zeroing, not sure if group is, so might be the last I see of them.

Day 29 & 30 12/8/21 & 13/8/21

Day 29 Mile: 12.4

Miles to Date: 357.8

Day 30- Zero day.

The race was on to try and get the shuttle at 12.30, I got there at 12.33, so must have just missed it. Luckily got a hitch literally a few mins later. 

Strange scene I witnessed on the highway beforehand.

Some guy was crying out and another guy was consoling him, saying he’s from Lake City and he won’t tell anyone what happened. Super strange.

On the hitch in saw 4 moose too. 

The hike itself, was fairly tough, 500 feet then one big 1200 foot climb, Then miles and miles of Snow Mesa which was fairly flat but seemed to go on forever.

Got to the hostel and rest of the group was there, they had booked me in.

Did all the usual town chores and ate and we got drunk and a few of us stayed up and lay on the merry go round and watched the stars. 

Good night, good people, good times. Alas, most of them shipped on to hike, but I know my body, I need a zero. Hopefully I might catch them in Silverton.

Hollywood unfortunately has decided to quit the trail, she’s sick and so won’t make her tight schedule.

I got a decongestant which hopefully will help with my sinus. Hope to hitch back out around 8/9am tomorrow morning.

50 odd miles to Silverton, then 70 odd to Durango. Feels surreal, finishing line is in sight — don’t jynx it.

Day 31 14/8/21

Miles: 19

Miles to Date: 376.8

Long hitch out of Lake City waiting around from around 9am to 10.30am, hitched with another guy. Started back on trail around 11am. Hit above 13,000 and then hit the CT high point. Storm rolled in just as I was near the top. Bumped into Hank again (guy with same color bag as me). Camped at same spot but pissing rain again now.

Might try to push big day tomorrow , hit the 400 miles then get to Silverton on Monday. 

Nearly a month on trail, feels strange both feels to pass super fast but also feels like an age. Ah wow so profound Patrick, shut up and go to sleep.

Day 32 15/8/21

Miles 22.8

Miles to date: 399.6

Start: 8.30

Slow start as usual for me but overall a great day — too tired to give it justice here. Started hiking through snow, then above treeline for hours with some storm clouds brewing in the distance.

I sat at the trailhead and had a bagel and that gave me enough energy to push on through the beautiful evening.

I’m just .4 miles from 400 miles (just ran out of light) still on course for Silverton tomorrow.

Day 33, 34, 35!

16/8/21 + 17/8/21 + 18/8/21

Day 33 miles: 12.5

Day 33 miles to date: 412.1

Day 34: zero

Day 35 miles: 14.6

Day 35 miles to date: 426.7

Writing this during a nasty thunder storm by Cascade Creek. Didn’t really get a chance to write the last few days. On the 16th I finished my descent into Silverton. Considered getting the train but decided against it. 

The last 4 miles uphill were tough but they’re always tough for me. I just need to keep plodding. 

Got a hitch from a nice couple from Grand Junction who were doing a road trip. 

When in town had to pay silly money for a night in the Teller House ($190) but on the plus side I ran back in to the Glob, they just got in a few hours earlier. 

Met them and got drunk and food. I booked into the hostel the next night, only 50-odd which is reasonable. 

The glob wasn’t planning on zeroing but a few beers later and the unexpectant arrival of Chomp, a chill dude from Florida, prompted them to zero too. 

So here I am hiking with them.

They got an Airbnb and Chapstick cooked us all dinner (mac & cheese) then we drank on for the night – or until I left at 11.30pm.

Next morning Hollywood’s dad gave us a lift back to the trailhead. 

From where we’re now it’s about 60 miles. Crazy feeling, euphoric melancholy. 

More concerned about the rain tomorrow to be honest.

Day 36 19/8/21

Miles: 20.4

Miles to date 447.1

Miserable night and morning, rained all night. Woke up a lot, I was pretty much ready to go for 7/7.30 but everyone else was having a slow morning. 

The rain, wind and fog were incessant. Eventually we all crammed in to Squeeze and Teabag’s tent and played Heads Up and other games on Chomp’s phone. Around 9/9.30 we decided to push on in the rain. It lasted for another 3-4 hours properly with hail in the mix. Everyone was miserable.

Eventually the sun came out and we did 20+ miles, starting at 9, that’s not a bad day. Hope to do 25 tomorrow. The forecast looks good, feeling of the last test passed, only 39 miles to go!

Day 37 20/8/21

Miles: 24.8

Miles to date: 471.9

Start: 7ish

Longest day on trail.

25 miles, hard terrain for some sections. Previous 24 mile day was fairly easy terrain, this one was earned.

A hard slog but sets us up nicely to finish tomorrow with just 14.5 miles to go until Durango.

Got a small glimpse of the city on one of the descents, still surreal to think about. I’m also going with the tramily, sadly minus Chomp, to Telluride for a post trail booze up. 

I’m currently camped on a slanted hill with bruised and battered feet, a damp down quilt to last me the night and I just rubbed Neosporin on my asshole to help stop it itching.

It’s easy to romantise such things as these, to gloss over the hardships but I wouldn’t trade this for anything.

Contentment is not a goal, it is a fleeting feeling when one sets out to achieve something difficult and puts in the work. These brief moments of contentment are what brings me back to hiking time and time again. 

I’ve had a little mantra I’ve said to myself out here when the going got tough, an unending uphill, a dower shower, sore feet, whatever. I would say to myself on repeat:

This is not suffering.

Suffering is not chosen.

I chose this and by God I love it.

The people, the mountains, the culture, the shitty food and expensive gear.

The hiker thrash life is for me and whilst I’m looking forward to finishing tomorrow, I’m sure the hiker thrash call will ring true again for me soon.