Total Miles: 454.8
Armed with a new spoon at last, I am ready for anything. “Why did it take so long?,” you might ask. Remember that box that didn’t arrive in time to Grand Lake? Well, it turns out that it was there all along and the best we could do is forward it to our last town stop in Frisco, serving only to heighten the anticipation. If you’re still wondering why unwrapping a silly titanium spoon at the post office would feel so akin to Christmas morning then we need to have a serious discussion one of these days about the sacrosanct nature of eating out here.
Colorado has already been a fantastic chapter in our hike and it only got better with our resupply stop in Frisco because we had the chance to see our friends Casie and Martin, who drove out from their home in Boulder to do some camping while we’d be coming through. A night around the campfire hardly made up for the years it’s been since we’d seen each other, but they’re the kind of people that we all wish we had as neighbors. The kind of people who would make you a better version of you. It was a wonderful and all too fleeting visit.
The real excitement this morning was that the CDT would be merging with the Colorado Trail where we’d be getting back on at Copper Mountain. Traveling just shy of 500 miles, the Colorado Trail traverses the Rocky Mountains across the state from outside of Denver to Durango and also is unique in that it allows mountain biking on nearly its entire length.
Stepping off the pavement of the Copper Mountain base area and back onto friendly trail, two things immediately stood out: the degree to which the trail was suddenly now well marked as well as the incredibly well worn and well constructed footpath. Gently wending its way up through the lower portion of the ski area and later up into the alpine zone that we’ve called home for the past month, it was like walking an entirely different trail. Unmistakeable, gentle, and speedy.
Nothing we do has permanence. How’s that for an existential thought of the day? It was also the first thought that came to my mind while admiring a beautiful new sign at Kokomo Pass. Not because the sign itself would, of course, ultimately fail the test of time but because of something much more petty. Look closer…
Scrawled there in the corner of the otherwise unblemished sign was a paean not only to self-centeredness but to the complete ignorance of “leave no trace” principles. A sharpie, a trail name, an unremarkable accounting of two hiking trails. The worst part? This was no first offense. No, old Slowbones has been tagging nearly ever trail sign we’ve come across since hiking in Colorado, leaving in their wake an epic accumulation of very, very bad hiker karma. A few minutes of scrubbing at it with a small, coarse rock hardly made a dent in undoing the damage.
What’s this got to do with permanence? In time, the bright summer sun and the brutal Colorado winter will undo Slowbones’ sins. As it turns out, permanent marker isn’t hardly permanent. The need not only to deface something that had clearly taken so much effort to construct was one thing, but to use the opportunity to broadcast one’s accomplishments was the more pathetic bit. No matter what we might think of ourselves, nothing we do is truly all that special. Someone will have always achieved more, reached higher, dug deeper. And with the passage of time, most if not all of it will be forgotten. When you understand that, you understand what it is to have humility—something Slowbones has clearly yet to grasp.
If you got the impression that my patience has worn thin with this, you’re not far off and those who know me best know that successfully trying my patience is no small feat. Fortunately, we had lots of friendly people to share the trail with today and help move my mind back into more positive territory. Having had the trail almost exclusively to ourselves for weeks, it was great not only to be on such dramatically pleasant trail but to see so many others out enjoying it—Colorado Trail hikers, mountain bikers, thru-hikers, and section hikers. With a trail like this right in their backyard, who could blame them?
Latitude/Longitude: 39.41743, -106.30945