Sunday, November 19, 2017

Colorado Trail 2017: Segment 25-28 (Molas Pass to Durango Terminus) August 17-25, 2017

"Slow Sheep on Road"

1935 Durango

Our last campsite on the CT

Solar eclipse: We poked three holes in a piece of paper

Hundreds of crescent suns shine through pine needles and leaves of trees above.

Trail covered in crescent suns during the solar eclipse

Trail's end
Moosie and I returned to the trail on August 17, 2017 to finish the final leg of our CT journey. We had 84 miles to go to reach trail's end in Durango. The terrain began to soften, the forests returned to health, and the weather also became more tolerable as it appeared monsoon season was coming to an end.

Most memorable during this section were the incredible views, meeting a mountain biker who had done the entire section (84 miles) in a single day of riding, saying goodbye to the high country on the second to last day, aspen arborglyphs, and the solar eclipse on the 21st, the day we finished the trail.

Moosie and I woke up on the 21st to an early morning hiker yelling down to our tents "Thank you for the ice cream!!" The hiker's name was "Milkshake." We had met him in Silverton as we were leaving town five days earlier. Moosie told him about some ice cream that was left over from our hostel stay that was left in the freezer before we left town. Now, five days later, Milkshake had guessed correctly which tents were ours and was thanking Moosie for the free ice cream.

Now that we were awake, we began our final day on the Colorado Trail. This was also the day of the solar eclipse. We were going to finish the trail just after maximum coverage. In Durango, we received about 80% coverage. That morning, the trail continued to take us out of the high country. Forests changed form spruce and fir to oaks and ponderosa pines. We first noticed a change in the lighting around mid morning. It started to look as though we were wearing sun glasses as the sun's light began to dim. Moosie and I poked a few holes in a piece of paper which projected tiny crescent suns on another piece of paper. That way we were able to monitor the eclipse as we finished our hike. We met other hikers out for the day to enjoy the eclipse. The mood was giddy and joyous. Once we reached maximum coverage, the light and shadows played interesting tricks. Shadows left bluish trails. Anything with a hole or gap projected crescent suns. the trail was covered with them as the sun peeped through tree leaves and needles. Although I would have loved to have experienced "totality," this was a cool way to finish the trail.

Finally, shortly after mid-day, Moosie and I finished the Colrado Trail on August 21st. Just as we finished, another hiker named John from Australia walked up behind us and finished his CT hike. The three of us celebrated with whiskey shots and a quick photo. Just like that, the CT was over. Moosie and I were graciously offered a place to stay in Durango by T-Rex, a hiker we had met on the trail a couple weeks before. Moosie and I road walked half the way to Durango before being offered a ride by a local who had hiked the trail the year before. He dropped us off in town and Moosie and I celebrated with a free beer at Calvert's, a local watering hole. Moosie and I stayed with T-Rex for two nights while we made arrangements to go home. Before that, we had one more small adventure we were contemplating, an overnighter to Mesa Verde...

Silverton, Colorado

Moosie and I did our final resupply on the Colorado Trail in the town of Silverton, Colorado. We hitched a ride into town from Molas Pass with a construction worker from Durango. Silverton treated us well, we stayed at the Blair Street Hostel. The town is an interesting looking historic mining town, now a more of a touristy town. Although visually beautiful, it feels a little stranger the longer you are there, due mostly to the touristy element. ATV vehicles fill the streets and parking areas. Many people travel back and forth between the small mountain communities on these vehicles. Resupply was expensive at the local grocery, but more convenient than sending a resupply package in my opinion. Overall, it was a good stay. Moosie and I prepared for our final leg of the trip. We hitched a ride back up to Molas Pass the following day with a banjo playing travel nurse...