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Begins: Aug 10, 2017
Date: Sun, Sep 3rd, 2017
Entry Visits: 184
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Guestbook Entrys: 6
Forest Rd. 565 to Junction Creek Drainage
447.7 to 471.1 for 23.4 miles
I woke to a beautiful sunrise over the mountains with just enough clouds to make it interesting. As I was breaking camp, Patrick and Erika from Boulder walked by with their headlamps on. I hiked with them on and off through the morning and learned that they were originally from NY. They are taking the next year to travel to Costa Rica, and Peru. This was also their first thru hike.
Still on the 22 mile stretch with no water, I was kind of conserving water when I came across a seep that was running about 1/4 liter per minute, so I filled my bottle and cameled. There was one more 12 thousand feet high point and it was a mostly gradual climb over about five miles. Since I am getting to the end, I didn't think the view would be as dramatic as the others. I was wrong again! The view was very stunning with Taylor Lake and a series of 12 thousand feet mountains with some lingering snow. Being a holiday weekend, there were a lot of people on top and Kennebec Pass trail head was only a few miles away.
By the time I reached the Trailhead, it was time for lunch. I got to watch all the day hikers come and go, and even saw a few guys on dirt bikes. With thunder over the Pass and a lightning strike about 3 miles away, it was time to roll. I took off for the Pass which wasn't too far away when I noticed another hiker ahead of me. After cresting the Pass, there was a long exposed talus and scree section before tree line. I saw the hiker in front of me do the "Getting to Tree Line Bogey" as the thunder continued. When I caught Alex, we laughed about the pace we both had getting to tree line. Alex is from Oregon and this is her first thru hike. She wants to do the JMT next! She works for a non profit and leads crews that create and maintain trails.
It was mostly downhill to camp with the final climb to a bench overlooking the Junction Creek drainage. I am camped at 9009 ft. I can't remember the last time I was camped this low!
It is the last night on the trail, and I have to say I'm a little sad to see the journey end, but I'm also ready to get back home to my wife and family. I was sad to see the last view from 12 thousand feet today. I tried to savor it like a really good steak! There will always be a part of me that lives in Colorado!
Here is a list of the things I will miss about this hike: meeting people on various adventures each day, seeing my breath as I hike in the morning, the mountain sunrises, the daily endorphin rush from hiking, climbing hills with no need to rest, the grasshoppers, the chipmunks, the pitkas, the squeal of the marmots, the howling of the coyotes, the coy mule deer, the amazement of the view over the next pass, the coolness of the air at night, the warmth of the sun in the morning, watching the clouds and storms build, rain while the sun is out, drinking the cold water freshly dipped from a creek, the comfort of being in my tent when it is raining, laying down after a long day, and falling asleep to the stillness of the wilderness.
Jim's Sobo CT Journey
The Colorado Trail is a 486-mile long-distance trail running from the mouth of Waterton Canyon southwest of Denver to Durango in Colorado, United States. Its highest point is 13,271-foot above sea level, and most of the trail is above 10,000-foot. Learn more: www.coloradotrail.org
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