Writing a conclusion to such an amazing journey is difficult. First, I would like to thank the many individuals who have helped make this hike a success: the Colorado Trail Foundation and its many volunteers and trail crews, the amazing trail angels, those who helped with my resupplies, Mom and Dad, those who gave me rides into/out of town, the maintainers of the Colorado Trail Friends’ Yurt, the many hikers and other users on the trail, those who provided resources and planning advice online, and those who offered prayers on my behalf and those who followed the adventure. I learned that there are so many nice people still in the world today. Most of all I would like to thank God for creating such beautiful country and protecting others, my family, and me throughout duration of the journey!
I hope in some way the summary of this journey may be of assistance to you, whether you plan to actually hike the trail or simply enjoy experiencing adventurers through the adventures of others. I’m not much about reflecting while out on the trail as some people envision hikes in the wilderness. I simply find pleasure in long walks through beautiful terrain. The life of a hiker is so simple: wake up> intermix hiking, eating, water treating, picture taking throughout the day>go to sleep. Repeat until the next resupply stop. Then repeat again and again until the journey is complete!The Colorado Trail offers so much! From the lofty peaks to open fields to dense forests to the beautiful lakes and wildflowers there is so much to see! The trail is difficult to compare to my other long distance hikes on the John Muir Trail and Wonderland Trail. I noticed several differences: the use of bikes/motorized vehicles and walks on forest service roads, water availability, and more extreme weather. While some of these differences may be viewed as downsides to the trail, they can’t take away from the magnificence of the trail! I like the fact that the trail can be shared by many different types of users. Finding water was occasionally more challenging, but overall I was able to do just fine with a little planning ahead. The weather also provided another level of difficulty to avoid being caught up high during a storm. In some areas there simply isn’t anywhere to go for miles! I just continued walking but never felt that close to lightning. Others on the trail had scarier experiences. All in all the Colorado Trail is one of the finest trails in America!
One of the questions I heard frequently while on the trail was: “Why didn’t you start in Denver?” While I see the value in thru-hiking an entire trail from end to end, I also find value in creating my own personal journey with alternate routes. Having read online that the trail near Denver isn’t quite as exciting as down in the San Juans, I decided to skip out on the first six segments and add in hikes in the Weminuche and Uncompahgre Wilderness Areas along with hikes to the top of several 14ers. I do miss that the fact that I didn’t have the chance to fully appreciate the divide by walking all the way to it, but maybe someday in the future I will have that opportunity.
When I try to think ways that I would change my trip, not much comes to mind. This is most likely due to proper preparation and adaptation before and during the hike. My gear held up well with my shoes and Dri Ducks rain pants fairing the worst. I had a reasonable diet that for the most part appeased my appetite of hiker hunger. I do somewhat miss not going for the northern section of the Weminuche High Route above Elk Creek, but that zero day was sure special!
There’s not much else to say. I’m sure the memories of this hike will be with me for a long time and if I forget, hopefully I’ll still be able to find what I have written here! So until next time, I encourage you to go out and experience some beautiful nature! It’s most likely closer than you think!