Week 6: We Made It!!
Days in the Rain
Well, we certainly had an eventful final week. Our first day went smoothly with a bit of cloud coverage. Then we were faced with 4 days of rain, hail, snow, and thunderstorms! My socks that were soaked on the first day of rain didn’t dry until we reached Durango! This weather was certainly a challenge that we were lucky to not face for most of our trip prior. Hiking through the cold, wet days and trying to keep our camp essentials dry was stressful. The mornings were certainly colder, and we were often rushed to pack up as quickly as possible so we could warm up by hiking.
On our third day we were caught in a fast-moving thunderstorm as we were climbing up over a mountain pass. I’ve never been so scared of lightning and thunder! It felt like we were directly in the storm. We retreated back a few miles and down the side of the mountain to seek coverage. It was quite scary and gave me a new respect for the power of storms.
As you can imagine, we were very grateful to find dryness and warmth once we reached town. This hike has been the most physically challenging pursuit of my life so far, and I can’t emphasize how bittersweet it is to have it come to an end. I’m certainly hooked on the challenge and incomparable experience of thru hiking. It is both more trying and rewarding than I could’ve imagined. The trail has an average elevation of over 10,300ft, with total climbing of over 90,000 vertical feet.
I see more treks in my future! Though the next will likely have some flatter terrain- Haha!
Thank you again to everyone who has followed along and supported this adventure. It’s meant the world to me.
Till next time! Happy hiking and adventure seeking!
Daily Mileage + Campsite Elevation
miles hiked: 14.8
miles hiked: 7.7
miles hiked: 19
miles hiked: 19+
miles hiked: 17.4
elevation: 6,522ft (Durango!)
My Favorite Trail Animal: The Pika!!
I have to give tribute to the many pikas we saw on this hike!!
I wasn’t familiar with them prior to our time on the trail. Pikas are what I like to refer to as mountain hamsters. They’re small, fuzzy little things that live in alpine terrain. They dwell in rock faces and taluses. We always knew when they were near, as they have very cute, high-pitched squeaks. They always made my day!! We often saw them collecting plants and grasses in their mouths. They lay them out to dry, and then take them to their dens in preparation for winter.
My Final CO Trail Playlist
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Yay!!! A song by Neil Diamond! He’s the BEST!
Congratulations on finishing your thru hike! I’m sure that the memories will last a lifetime.
Now come east and hike the Appalachian Trail – lots of family to meet you at stops along the trail 😉
So incredible! I loved following your journey with your weekly updates so much! Your adventures always amaze me and I love seeing what new things you get up to. I’m proud of you for taking on such a challenge and making it look easy!
Very well said, Shayla! I totally agree! Casey is amazing!
Welp, that’s 500 miles logged in the book. Actually, 491 miles. I’m calling it 500 though when I share the story with friends. What an adventure. I’ve taken a few days since getting back to California to write this comment because I wanted to give it some extra thought. Such a long and full journey deserves a decent enough reflection. Requires one, even. From my first steps in the Denver airport, to my last steps in the Durango airport, and all of the steps in between.
I’m tempted to simply continuously write phrases like “IT WAS INCREDIBLE! AMAZING! OUTSTANDING! WHAT A JOURNEY!” over and over again. It wouldn’t be the most eloquent, but it’s exactly how I feel when I think back on the whole thing. Just pure amazement that it happened in the first place. Cracking open my thesaurus, surreal would be an apt word to describe my feelings about it as a whole. As I sit here at my office desk, typing up this comment. Just to reiterate… I am sitting down. Not walking. NOT in the middle of walking upwards of 20 miles just to sleep in a tent and do it all over again the next day. And then the next day after that, as well. I’m not doing that anymore. And that’s surreal. It’s surreal that I was doing it, and it’s surreal that I am now not. Just to clarify, I do not have a thesaurus in front of me. Or to my side. Or anywhere in my house. I really hope I’m using the word “surreal” correctly, because this whole paragraph relies on it. I’m not going to look up the definition, though, because I’m lazy. Or maybe overconfident. One of those two.
Anyways… what a journey. Sunshine, overcast, rain, hail, snow, wind, thunder. Paved roads, dirt trails, trails of mud, sand, boulders. Climbing up thousands of feet, down thousands of feet, then back up again. Then back down. Then back up. So on and so forth. We’ve done all of it. Weathered the tremendous foot pain, the long and cold days, the three thousand plus foot climbs. Somehow, someway, we did it.
I could continue to write for pages and pages about my feelings toward this trip. And I mean PAGES UPON PAGES. However, I want people to be able to go about their day, so I’ll have to write the heavily abridged version here. To close out my thoughts, I want to say that an extremely heavy emphasis should be put on the word “we” in that statement in the previous paragraph. We did it. Not I. Well, I did do it, actually. But could I have done it if it was only “I”? I have doubts. In fact, I know I could not have done it. I’m terrible at packing enough food for myself, and had to take from Casey’s food multiple times in order not to starve. So actually, yes, I would NOT have been able to do this alone. Nor would I ever want to. Having someone to share in the pain, the soreness, the enchanting claustrophobia of the trees and the dry harshness of the alpine winds. It made the whole thing a lot more fun and memorable, to say the least.
And that’s it. We walked 500 miles. And I would do it all over again. Exactly the same. Pain and joy and all. Until next time, everyone.