Beard Length: Disappointingly short
Showers Taken: 1
Bears Spotted: 0
Zero Days: 1
PSA before any trail news; happy birthday to my Nana B!! She has always been one of my biggest supporters and someone who has been a very important part of my life. I love you and hope you have a great day! I can’t wait to see you when I get back!
Man, I had no idea how much I really missed life on trail. Everything here is simpler; the complexities of the busy ‘real world’ are nonexistent. Each day we wake up with the sun, break down camp, walk towards Durango, eat, drink, set up camp, and fall asleep when the sun disappears. Dreamy, right? That’s not to say it’s not difficult at times. There is a certain monotony to this life that requires distractions so as not to numb the mind too much. Thankfully, an arsenal of podcasts, the stunning landscape of the Rocky Mountains, and the constant look out for bear, moose, or mountain lion provides a steady source of entertainment.
My parents dropped us off at a very empty Logan airport early in the morning of June 9th. This section of our journey was undoubtably the piece we felt the guiltiest about given the current state of the pandemic. But we were as prepared as could be with our masks, hand sanitizer, etc. It was a relatively normal sized flight, with most of the seats able to be sold filled. All middle seats of the plane were empty and instead of a food or drink service, you were given a prepackaged bag with snacks and water. All things considered, it was a safe and comfortable process.
We were fortunate enough to have connected with a trail angel named Laura who picked us up from the REI in Denver where we procured our cooking fuel by curbside pick-up, and then drove us the 45 minutes to the start of the trail!
The amazing selflessness of humanity that I had experienced on the AT was evident in Colorado very early on.
Also very early into the hike were the absolutely breathtaking views. I’d argue that I have spent more time out of the trees on the first 100 miles of the CT than the entirety of the AT. Even throughout segment 2 which is a ten mile stretch of desert, the scenery was remarkable.
In the midst of the desert was a woman who was having mechanical issues with her bike in an area with no cell phone service. Thanks to everything Myles Chase and Kale Poland have taught me about bikes over the last 8 years, I was able to fix her bike and get her on her way. In some respects it felt good to be able to give back, continuing to pay it forward from the ride Laura gave us the day before.
There has been very little rain so far, only one downpour, to be specific, that occurred overnight while we were already in the tent. Other than that it has been bluebird skies every single day, another stark contrast to the Appalachian Trail.
Although we are now in the second week of June, snow continues to linger in the mountains of Colorado. Two days ago we experienced our first sections of mushy patches and high drifts while crossing through Georgia Pass at an altitude of 11,875 ft. More annoying than hazardous, this stretch proved to be a minor inconvenience, but we have been promised more arduous snowfields ahead.
Altitude has not been much of an issue so far, an occasional minor headache has been easily remedied by my very good friend from the AT, Vitamin I (ibuprofen). Although dosage has been a frequent point of debate between the doctor and the paramedic, I still feel the right to disagree with medical control.
What has been more bothersome is a stint of bloody noses which is almost certainly caused by the incredibly dry air. I’m not sure I’ve ever been on trails so dusty considering the constant dampness of both Scotland and New Hampshire. In fact, having grown up in Scotland, Lucy has likely had more sun exposure in the past week than cumulatively over her entire lifetime!
One of the most exciting things to note, after going one week without showering, Lucy smells worse than me!! I could not wait to post this on the Internet. We were both startled by this result, but now that we have showered, Lucy seems to have temporarily held her hiker odor at bay whereas I have not. Who is the real winner remains to be determined.
Both of our legs have held up very well (knock on wood) and we have very much enjoyed the trail builders decisions to include an endless amount of switchbacks, something that is very unfamiliar in the steep granite ledges that occupy much of New Hampshire’s mountains.
This trail is beautiful. And I am so happy to be out here. So many people have emailed and texted me about how I have the right idea being out on trail as opposed to the craziness of the present state of the world. I do feel insanely lucky and fortunate to have the means to be out hiking for the next month. In no way do I take this lifestyle for granted, especially as I look towards what the future may hold.
One of the things that I have been reflecting on in this first week of the hike is how many people would never have the opportunity to be out here, which really troubles me. And I don’t mean in regards to taking months off of work and doing a thru hike; I’m talking about just accessibility. Many people who grow up in urban environments will never see the beauty of the mountains whether that’s due to fear, lack of know how, finance, doesn’t matter. Some people will never get to see the things that make up the majority of my happiness in this world. And that really troubles me. So if anyone knows of any organizations that assist in getting urban youths into the outdoors, please let me know, because I want to be a part of facilitating that.
Nature should be a place for everyone to find peace and healing, regardless of where you come from, the color of your skin, or how much money you have. So if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere where you can get outside and experience the beauty of the natural world, please go do it, because many others can’t. I promise, it will be worth the hour (or several hours) out of your day to turn your phone off and just listen to what Mother Nature has to say.
Over 100 miles in and feeling good, beyond excited for the trail ahead. Talk to you next week!
June 16, 2020