How a CDT Hike Ends Early

When I last wrote I was sitting in Leadville watching snow fall and planning to flip to Lander, WY, just south of the Wind River Range to hike south back through Colorado. The day after I left Leadville, I was back on the CDT and went up and over Kokomo and Searle passes above 12,000 feet. I teamed up with another hiker to navigate these passes, which was a good decision because there was still a lot of snow up there, and some traverses that were uncomfortable for me.

We made the unfortunate decision of trying to walk Elk Ridge over to Searle Pass instead of just taking the path of the trail, largely because we could not really see the trail and the snow in the valley looked really deep. We thought we would avoid a lot of postholing by walking the largely snowfree ridge, but we ended up not being able to connect over to the pass from the ridge. We managed to get there, and I described this in detail in my journal at UnfetteredFootsteps.com. It was a crazy endeavor, and so when it was all said and done, I realized that my plan to flip to Wyoming had a few flaws. One, the snow was unlikely to melt enough in two weeks to leave me comfortable doing these types of passes on my own—there was still so much snow! Two, flipping now most likely I would not be around other hikers to do the high stuff with. Womp!

As a result, I scrapped the flip plan and cobbled together a road route to Steamboat Springs. I hiked that route, but the more I moved north on roads the less I really liked where my hike was going. It wasn’t really how I wanted to achieve a thru-hike, and I realized I’d lost my desire to continue, even with cool areas like the Winds and Glacier to look forward to.

I started this thru-hike to see this part of the country and to have fun. Somewhere along the way (ahem, Colorado!) it became less fun, for me, and I got derailed from what I set out to do. And that’s OK. Not every journey has to be a thru-hike. I enjoyed the sections of trail that I hiked, especially the section of the CDT between Grants and Cuba in New Mexico.

I’ll wrap up my updates here by wishing my fellow hikers a wonderful rest of their journeys. Happy trails to all of you who are still out there enjoying the views! Thanks to those who read these posts and/or my trail journal. I’m sure I’ll have future adventures to share, but for right now I’m looking forward to getting home.

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Comments 1

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    Nemophilist : Jul 2nd

    Have so enjoyed following your travels! Sorry to hear your hike ended early but admire your grit to get as far as you did! Happy future trails!

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