Friday, June 22, 2018
CDT Part 5: Lake City to Grand Lake
In the past, I previously avoided Colorado as a hiking destination. I knew I'd see so much of it during my CDT hike - and I wanted to see it with fresh eyes when I walked into the state. As it turns out, that strategy was unnecessary. I've seen so many wonderful things in this state - and yet, I've already compiled a long list of things I want to come back and see. Such beauty!
Beating the Pattern: Every northbound CDT hiker has thunderstorm problems. Except this year. Monsoon season typically begins around July 1st. This year, because of the low snowpack, I've been able to breeze through the state before the storms really get going. I've used my rain jacket twice in the state - and both times, just for a few sprinkles
Momentum Slowing: I took two zero days in all of New Mexico. In Colorado, I've taken probably a dozen. While I've had legitimate reasons for each zero, it still is a bit maddening to constantly be spending time in town, not making forward progress. Weather, snow, friends, and injury have stalled the otherwise blazing pace I'd been setting. While I still have plenty of time to make it to Canada, all thru-hikers feel a certain relentless motivation to keep going - to keep making forward progress
It's Back: After a five year hiatus, the ankle issues that plagued me on the AT have come back in force. Any time I push bigger miles, or hike over rough terrain, I wake up the next day barely able to walk. When I started the trail, I recognized the possibility that I'd have to walk in daily pain all the way to Canada. Looks like that will be the case. These are the situations that test resolve and commitment. I'm determined to make it. Good thing they sell Ibuprophen in mass quantities.
The Metropolis: Northern Colorado is probably the most "civilized" part of the CDT. There are quite a few towns, major roads, ski resorts, and, most importantly, trailheads with privies. The food carries have been relatively short and there are even trash cans to get rid of smelly tuna wrappers. Such luxury!
What's Next: There's only one town left in Colorado - Steamboat Springs. Once I cross the Wyoming border, the terrain will flatten out for a few hundred miles before the crown jewel of the CDT - the Wind River Range. But all that is a week or two away. For the time being, it's about setting a sustainable pace, healing up if possible, and regaining momentum - I'm almost halfway. Onward!