CDT Part 2 Recap

After our amazing journey back to the trail from Canada followed by our harrowing experiences in the San Juans, along with our top-notch trail magic in Creede, it was on to the last 100.5 miles from Spring Creek Pass to Monarch Pass to finish up my CDT thru hike for the year and bring us a step closer to Julie’s finish.  Here are some quick takes:

-The section is coincidental with the Colorado Trail (CT), is well maintained and easy to follow, awesome after so many miles of tough, hard to follow trails.

-It’s also known by many CTers to be a boring section with some dirt road walking and not tons of big climbing.  Even more awesome at this point in the journey.

-The section lived up to expectations, was fast, boring, easy to follow, and absolutely perfect after 2900 miles of CDT walking.  We cruised through the section with a 19 out of town, followed by a couple 35 mile days and 11 miles in to the pass to finish up.

-Hardly any wildlife to speak of in this section.  Colorado in general has been void of much wildlife most likely because of all the trail users which keeps wildlife away.  Also, it’s hunting season now and it seems that the animals somehow know this and keep away.

-We ran into more southbound CDT thru hikers that we’d met up in Montana including some of our favorites, Chris and Greta.  Favorites because they are doing the same route as us, seem to be at similar points in life as us, and seem like good, genuine people out experiencing the trail in a similar fashion as us.  Glad to see them, share info about the trail, and tell a few stories before each heading our own ways.

-We got rained on our last day and it is also on this day that we heard about the crazy weather system moving in from a local out doing some trail work.  He said he didn’t expect snow, but plenty of precipitation.  He was right on!

-On our last day, we were socked in with clouds and couldn’t see much as we made our way up to the ridge line for a usually-stunning walk along the Divide into Monarch.  We had hiked the previous night until after dark and thankfully stopped right before the rains started.  It was dry for the last morning but plenty of clouds.

-Early in the morning  we met a CT hiker who, after a couple quick questions, we realized we probably met back on the AT in 2011 when he was first beginning his life as a long distance hiker.  He therefore understood the immensity of the miles we’d covered over the past few years and deservedly or not, made us feel a bit like trail celebrities for being so close to completing the triple crown of long distance hiking.  Thanks Diod.

-The route is also a major mountain bike route.  We met some Germans and Swiss riding for a couple weeks in Colorado.  When they learned of our feat, one particularly animated German took off his helmet and bowed to us showering us with praise for our accomplishments.  It felt surprisingly good to be acknowledged by strangers at this point in the journey.

-And then thankfully we met sisters Gail and Jill out for a ride on their mountain bikes about a mile from our finish.  They loved our story and were very congratulatory.  They also offered us a ride if we needed one when they finished their ride.

-After reaching the pass and the sign where we took pictures, we loaded up on some food at the store, made our hitch hiking sign to get to Copper Mt. to begin Part 3 of our journey, and then began hitching.

-It was an anticlimactic end to a long, steady journey for me.  Julie teared up a bit which made my eyes well up a bit but then my focus shifted quickly to the next task and the next project.  There will be time for reflection, but at this point, it felt like just another step in a big journey, and just the way I like it to be.

-After not getting a ride right away, we met up with Gail and Jill again and they proceeded to get us all the way to Leadville whereupon we quickly picked up a ride from a guy named Dan that got us right back to where Julie got off the trail back in June at Copper Mt.

-And just like that, Part 2 was finished and behind us and we were faced with the final leg of this amazing and wild adventure on the CDT.

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