Wednesday, August 26th, 2020
It was my birthday and we only had 19.1 miles to go until we were done our thru hike! I couldn’t wait to get into Durango to celebrate. It poured rain on us all night and I didn’t sleep too soundly. Probably more due to my anticipation than the weather. It was also pretty windy, so I was hopeful that my tarp would be fairly dry before it was time to pack up. Not the case. I decided it was time to get up when a mountain chicken (aka: a grouse) was causing a racket as it walked up and down the road we were sleeping next to.
We were silk blazing all morning. Every thing was wet, but the trail was pretty tame. The first stretch of trail ahead was downhill. We both decided to take a break at the bottom before the incline. There was a small camp site by a wooden bridge, which seemed like a nice spot for second breakfast. Then it was time to climb!
As we made it to the top, we were hit with some serious humidity! I was actually a little surprised since I barely experienced any humidity since I left Maryland. I reached the highest point then waited for Frisbee at Gudy’s Rest. We were making good time. It was only 11am. After taking in the scenery, down, down, down we went. We walked passed some cows that seemed to be lost, as well as a few section hikers and mountain bikers. Two bikers warned us of a bear. No one actually saw it, but apparently a day hiker had found fresh bear scat. We weren’t concerned. Unless we’re talking grizzlies, bears don’t frighten me, and they don’t have grizzly bears here. What actually does make me nervous is lightning. And apparently the mountain bikers felt the same way. After passing us, they quickly turned around when a short-lived lightning storm came through.
I was daydreaming about eating Chinese food as we made our way towards the finish line. We did it! When we reached the southern terminus, we saw a very familiar face in the parking lot. It was Mr. Clean! He was picking up a few of his hiker friends and their dog. Sadly, there was no room in the back for us, but we were really happy to see him again. We met him day one on the Colorado Trail and we would get to finish with him, unofficially.
It took us a bit to hitch into Durango. The road wasn’t exactly busy, but we managed to catch a ride on the tailgate of a truck, there wasn’t much room in the bed. It wasn’t the most comfortable hitch, but it was a lot of fun waving to the people sitting in traffic behind us.
We made it downtown and were on a mission to find cheap food. We were standing at an intersection waiting to cross the street when we heard someone yell behind us.
When we turned around, we saw yet another familiar face. This one was really random! When we hiked the Arizona Trail, we briefly hiked with a guy named Legend who was in the process of accomplishing the FKT (Fastest Known Time). To point out how insane he is, let me mention that the Arizona Trail is about 800 miles (~1,287.5 km) long. We weren’t in a rush like he was, but Frisbee and I finished it in 44 days (zeroes included). Legend would get the self-supported FKT at 15 days and 13 hours. Unfortunately, someone would beat it later that year.
There he was dining with friends at “11th Street Station.” He was going to attempt another unsupported FKT, this time on the Colorado Trail. He asked if we wanted to partake in a filmed interview that he was doing later that day. Frisbee told him we would be more than happy to. Suddenly, my anxiety went through the roof. I’m a bit camera shy.
We walked up and down the main drag. No Chinese food with outdoor seating. So we went to “Carver’s Brewing Company” and got some delicious birthday burgers. My awesome in-laws gifted us a room for the night at Econo Lodge, but we weren’t in the mood to walk there and back to meet with Legend. So instead, we wandered around town. We ended up taking shelter by McDonald’s when it began to drizzle.
We met Legend, his lovely girlfriend Maggie, and his crew at the brewery, but there was a long wait. So we ended up going back to Carver’s. I felt a bit awkward during the interview, but once you start asking questions about hiking, it’s hard to stay quiet. I don’t talk much, but ask me about hiking or traveling and I will have plenty to say if you’re willing to listen! We saw Mr. Clean walking by and he joined us for a little while before we headed towards Econo Lodge. We wished Legend good luck, although we didn’t doubt for a second he could do it.
Spoiler Alert: Oops, he did it again! The Colorado Trail is 485 miles (780.5 km) long and he would finish it in 9 days 8 hours 18 minutes, averaging over 51 miles (82 km) a day! I’ll leave that up to the pros. I’m quite content just taking my time.
19.1 miles (30.7 km) on the day
Total Mileage: 485.0 mi (780.5 km) + 5.3 mi (8.5 km) [extra alternate route] = 490.3 miles (789.1 km)
Jump Ahead to Tales Between Trails: Colorado to California
Jump Back to The Colorado Trail: Part 24
Start from the Beginning: The Colorado Trail: Part 1