Sunday, September 26, 2004
What's Behind Door Number Two?
It wasn't as cold last night as the night before, but I bet it got at
least into the low 20's. I was up early (for how cold it was), and was
happy to see the clouds had lifted. The morning sun induced me to start
hiking. My shoes were frozen and required extra pounding and pulling. I
put that onerous task off until the very end of my packing up. I knew
from yesterday that I'd be more comfortable in my camp shoes. I was. I
finally coaxed my feet into my shoes by repeating the mantra, "Go in. Go
I came across what looked to be a fairly recent failure of engineering
and/or manufacturing on top of a peak. A communication tower and its
accompanying wind turbine tower had both had structural failures,
presuably in a strong wind. In both cases, the tube for one of the three
legs had separated from the doughnut shaped disk that allowed the leg to
be bolted to the concrete footing. It was quite dramatic.
I soon was past Mt. Flora and headed to Berthoud Pass.
The old resort there is no more. The Forest Service has torn down the
lifts, and the area around the pass is a huge construction zone.
When I got to the pass, I didn't even think about which direction to hitch.
I really love to backpack. I love being in nature, getting my water from
the source, seeing flowers blooming in the middle of no where, and moving
along the trail. And, again, I love sleeping under the stars.
When I chose to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, I had something to prove to myself and used the hike as
part of the process of redefining the course of my life and livelihood.
Choosing to hike the Continental Divide Trail, I had nothing to prove. I
chose to hike to see the Rockies, to experience another segment of time
living outside, and to enjoy the experience.
The cold weather of the past few days wasn't that bad. The snow was really
nothing, especially since it wasn't icy. Hiking alone was more enjoyable
that I thought it would be.
So why then did I cross the road at Berthoud Pass and hitch toward Highway
70? Why did I not even hesitate in choosing to hitch to Silverthorne and
take a dramatic step toward ending my hike?
I can be a tough guy. I just felt this was not the time to tough it out.
The conditions were slowing down my hiking, and the weather was making an
early transition to winter. If I was going to be fighting winter, I
suspected I could not finish my thru-hike. If I couldn't finish this
year, I could finish next year. And if I was finishing next year, I'd
prefer to see Colorado in all its glory. I look forward to being on the
Divide when the wildflowers are blooming. I look forward to that hiking.
The hiking I was facing for the rest of this year did not sound like fun.
So, at around 10AM, I stuck out my thumb and got a ride with the first
car. A woman and her two sons could take me to Highway 70. Great. They
eventually took me into Georgetown, Colorado, so that I could have a
After some unsuccessful hitching, I took a break for a Mexican lunch, then
got a ride right away with Jessica, who owns Tomboy Soap Company. She and I talked the whole way into Silverthorne. She dropped me at Linda's
Linda is someone I know from Outright Radio. She's smart, low-key, and
flexible. She even told me that I needed to take a shower right away. She
said she'd been waiting for me to do laundry, but I warned her of hiker
laundry and did a load solo. Three dogs were with Linda at her condo:
Shawnee and Jo are hers, and Gertie belongs to an out-of-town friend. I
love dogs, and these are great dogs.
Linda cooked roast chicken, mashed potatoes and broccoli for dinner. Yum.
There's no land line here at the ski house, so I was a little limited in
what I could do. Perfect for my first day off the trail.
Linda's returning home to Denver tomorrow, and I may go with her. I won't
make a decision until tomorrow morning about continuing my hike, but I
think I'm done with the CDT for 2004.