Start: Pagosa Springs, Co
Stop: Kaibab National Forest, Az
On a thru hike I make decisions about what I’m willing to push through. The adventure is more than just making miles at any cost. I’ve dealt with some pretty lousy weather and cold on this trip so far. I agree to live with that discomfort but there are certain things that I don’t need to do. What I don’t need to do is trudge through the snow in snowshoes for the next month. I don’t need the logistical nightmare of flipping up to Wyoming for a couple hundred miles only to return to Colorado. I don’t need to road walk Colorado just to make miles. I don’t need to flip up to the Canadian border and SoBo (south bound) which would have my hike end in Pagosa Springs.
I want to hike NoBo (north bound) without snow. That means I will wait for the snow to melt before continuing north. Being true to the NoBo means I will most likely hike alone if I return to the CDT this year. It also means that I might not make it to Canada before the winter snows.
And so an unusual option presents itself. Serena Williams is heading home to Eugene, Oregon. I’ve been offered a travel seat back to the west coast along with her brother Fun Size. It’s dangerous to leave the trail because the farther away I get, the less likely I am to return.
It’s time to get the hell out of Pagosa Springs though. It’s midday before we’re pushing beyond the edge of town. We point ourselves towards the Grand Canyon, the land of the Diné. We find some sweet forest service land for camping and I enjoy my first truly warm night of camping in a month and a half.