Total Miles: 780.3
It’s funny what you don’t miss. Maybe surprising is a better word. When you first leave everything behind, my mind makes plenty of room to pine for the things I don’t have. That cozy, familiar bed? I miss it. The couch, the chair, the dining room table? The books, trinkets, toys, and artwork hanging on the walls? There’s a slightly uneasy, untethered feeling to being without them. For where am I and what is a home without them?
It’s just about then that I realize that I am not my things, home is wherever I am, and freedom of thought and of being is mine once again. I love our things back home, the little things that seem so important, and contrary to popular belief (I’m looking at you, Chris Berry) we haven’t sold all of our worldly possessions to live as one with the universe. But it’s the shedding of them and their weight that is the inexplicable part of trail life that is so precious.
This isn’t a Marie Kondo, “sparking joy”, kind of moment. Well, maybe it is, but I’ll say it another way: if it isn’t propelling you forward, it’s probably holding you back. That’s how I see all the things that I thought I’d held so dear, given the gift of distance from them.
Today’s story is a short one, with only a handful of miles to cross to reach the slice of pavement that cuts through Wolf Creek Pass, leading ever downward to Pagosa Springs, our final town stop in Colorado. Two miles beforehand, we waved a fond goodbye to the Weminuche Wilderness that has been our companion for the past week, a canvas of stunning grandeur with its stoic, stony summits, and carpets of tundra grass. Fearsome skies that are far from hostile, just misunderstood—sometimes beauty simply comes in challenging forms.
Seven days removed from our last shower, putting on the cleanest faces we could muster, out went the thumbs in the hopes of making it into town for the late breakfast we’d all been salivating over for the past two days. Twenty minutes later, we were careening down the mountain stuffed into the cab of a pickup truck with a local named Quinn who was kind enough to take pity on us. Between him and the friendly couple of Jeff and Kimberly that we’d met over dinner and who’d offered us a ride back up to the pass tomorrow, it was enough to make me wonder when was the last time I offered to do something for a perfect stranger. The pregnant pause of my own internal answer was itself the answer. Mental note taken.
Next stop: New Mexico!
Latitude/Longitude: 37.48315, -106.80183