Epilogue: What You Don't Know
Wow! I just looked at this journal and saw that it has been too long since I gave you an update.
Getting off the trail (quitting) turned out to be a great thing. First, I feel I made a great decision. Other hikers this year made choices to hike lower routes in order to finish. Since the CDT’s so ‘not done,’ it’s easy to decide to get from border to border on foot any way possible. I haven’t read anyone’s journal yet (including mine!), but I suspect I’ll read that even with the lower routes, it was a pretty tough year.
I know I hate road walks, and I was on the CDT to see the high country. If I’d taken lower routes and finished the trail, I would have forever regretted not seeing it, plus had lots of road walks. And I know myself: I would have been on to other adventures, perhaps never returning to see the mountains and ridges I missed. I could have said I hiked the CDT, but I would have felt like I missed out, like I was cheating myself. Colorado holds such promise for beauty and views.
And, while I was Iowa City (my second destination after getting off the trail), I met Steve. Steve and I got together in Philadelphia and fell in love. It’s still new, so I won’t talk much about it, but . . . yippee! He and I would not have met if I hadn’t been at Tom’s when I was. That’s just how it goes. My weighty decision to hitch to Silverthorne rather than get food in Winter Park set my life on a whole new course.
So, after some time in Boston, a lovely weekend in Southern Vermont, a visit with Gottago in LA, and some time in the greater Bay Area, I’m back in Tucson, having arrived yesterday.
Things here are not exactly what I’d been led to expect, but I will make it workable. My goal is to have enough money in the bank to get on the trail next May (or June, depending on the snow) in New Mexico and begin a northbound hike. I’d love to do a thru-hike, but realistically I’ll be lucky if I can afford to just get to Berthoud Pass in Colorado. The timing will also allow me to experience the wildflowers in Colorado, one sacrifice I made in choosing a southbound hike. This could all go very well. Sure, I won’t have bragging rights to a one-season thru-hike of the CDT, but finishing the trail will still be a great accomplishment. And yes, the 1,500 miles I did this year is nothing to shake a stick at either.