Change of plans

So Jessica and I made it back down to Winter Park, Colorado where I left off on the CDT. The weather is nice, but the mountains are positively blanketed with snow. We tried driving up to a trailhead only to find the service road blocked by feet of snow a few miles from the CDT. 

Hiking the trail is no longer an option in Colorado, especially since the majority of it resides over ten and twelve thousand feet in elevation. I only know of two people who are even still in Colorado, and they’re walking roads. Everyone else has skipped down to New Mexico and is currently hiking south there. 

So I’m faced with several decisions. I can skip to New Mexico and finish my hike; I can road walk the 550 miles of Colorado that I still need to do; or I can go home and do the trail again next year. 

Originally I had no qualms about road walking. This is an unconventional trail that requires unconventional methods at times. However, when I envisioned myself having to road walk, I only envisioned having to walk around the San Juans if I arrived too late. I never in my wildest dreams thought that I’d get shut out of more than 500 miles of trail. Well, that’s what has happened. 

I know myself, and I know if I road walk 3/4 of Colorado, or skip down to New Mexico…I won’t feel like a Triple Crowner, or even like I’ve completed a thru hike. Neither of those options will satisfy me, and to be honest, I really wanted to see the trail in Colorado. I’m not going to road walk icy roads for hundreds of miles. Not happening. 

So, I’m actually very pleased with the alternative option to all of that. I come back early next spring and hike north from Mexico. So long as I reach where I left off in Colorado before June, 22…then I’ve still completed the trail in a calendar year, thus qualifying as a thru hike.  Still, I know that won’t be good enough for my OCD. I’ll probably just continue and finish the entire thing again. I’m excited about this new option because it gives me the chance to start over again with Katana (who I’ve missed dearly throughout this adventure). It also gives me the opportunity to thru hike with my girlfriend, who will be hiking the CDT next year anyways to get her Triple Crown. If I’m totally honest with myself, I would have ended up back out here on the CDT next year whether I completed it this year or not. So I’m happy with my decision. 

I’m normally very hard on myself when it comes to this sort of thing. By all my own personal definitions…I have failed. However I feel no guilt, regret, or sorrow. The trail wasn’t too difficult for me. I wasn’t having a terrible time.  Each day wasn’t a struggle to convince myself whether I should go on or not. No, I enjoyed myself immensely this year, and this trail was nowhere near beyond my mental or physical capabilities. The solitude and lack of foot traffic out here was unsurpassed and positively intoxicating. The culture out here(or lack thereof) is far different from that of the PCT and AT. In fact I’ve grown to love it in a way that surpasses my love even for the AT. The simple fact of the matter is that winter came early this year and threw a monkey wrench in a lot of people’s hikes; on all the trails, and in both directions. 

Schweppes is still on trail and less than 500 miles from Mexico. He did this hike fast and furious, and even he still got shut out of the San Juans by the early snowfall and had to go around them. I’m extremely glad that one of us made it, and I can’t wait to congratulate him on his accomplishment. I’ll be back in the spring to do this again right, and with a couple of critters I love and care about that should have been with me all along this year. 

So I apologize to have to cut short this adventure narrative that you’ve all been invested in and following the last few months. It’ll be back on in the spring, and I’ll pick it back up from this final post. I’ll also have the book on my PCT thru hike finished by the time I start hiking next March, so there’s that to look forward to as well. 

Thank you all so much for the love, support, and encouragement you’ve shown me over the years, months, and weeks! Hopefully I’ll see you all here again in a few months!

Make the journey your destination…

Kyle aka Mayor 

P.s. Stand by for updates and pictures of Katana when I get home. 

31 Comments

  1. I think you are making the right decision for you. I know you are going to want to do the entire trail in a single trip, not just a calendar year. Congratulations on your hike this year! I’ve really enjoyed following you.

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  2. It was a honor to follow your latest trip Kyle. Congrats on you journey even if it wasn’t as ideal as you wanted. Life always works out the way it’s supposed to! Best of luck in the next few months and I look forward to hearing from you in the future on your blogs! I’m a travel occupational therapist and am all over the country every 13 weeks maybe I’ll be lucky enough to catch you in a trail town next year! Keep on keepin on!!

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  3. I’m actually happy you will stop and continue in the spring. KATANA!!! Can’t wait for your reunion. I’m all about the one-eyed catfox. Have a wonderful winter – from a faithful follower and her ‘no-eyes’ catfox.

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  4. I enjoyed following you on your adventures, thank you for sharing with us. Don’t be hard on yourself about leaving the CDT this year, because you’ll be back next year with Katana and Jessica. Happy trails!

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  5. No harm no foul. I could tell that you weren’t as fulfilled without the catfox along for the adventure. You’re doing the right thing. They say you don’t mess with the CDT when she’s “closed.” And she is closed. Get the PCT book written, get back in Katana’s good graces, and try not to get a potbelly in the offseason! Great job, Mayor!

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  6. Fantastic, Kyle!! I loved hiking vicariously through your blog. Thank you so much for all the great photos and brilliant description of the trail. I will look forward to the spring & your next big adventure. All the best to you & Kantana. I’ve missed seeing her.

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  7. Thanks for the update Kyle. I am sorry that it hasn’t quite worked out the way you planned,but you spent time on the PCT with your girlfriend,you met lots of fascinating people,you had Katana with you for awhile,you have seen some of the most beautiful country in all the USA,so all in all I would say that you had a successful adventure so far. I am really looking forward to your blog in the spring and I especially look forward to pics of Katana soon!

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  8. Sorry but I just knew this would happen, snow didn’t come early it’s right on time for the Colorado. Don’t be surprised starting out in May you’ll probably encounter deep snow on parts of the trail still. Have really enjoyed this trip with you, your a great writer. Enjoy your winter & fur baby.

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    1. Meh, I’ve heard a lot of differing reports on that. Some say it’s early, some say it’s on time. For those elevations I understand that snow can happen any day of the year, but to have as much snow as they did in the third week of September was abnormal. Even the people who were on/ahead of schedule for a typical CDT year got shut out of the San Juans. It was a stupid hot year, all that evaporated water has to come down somewhere/sometime.

      I’m perfectly fine with snow pack in the spring or early summer. It’s the fresh stuff that leaves me post holing across exposed ridges for twenty miles at a time with threat of storms and more snow falling that worries me.

      I don’t live in Colorado, so I don’t personally know. I only have other’s past experiences and local knowledge to go on. Typical or out of the ordinary, it was a terrible luck of the draw. It didn’t snow like this until late November last year (so I’m told).

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  9. You and Dixie get some rest…I’m so proud of you both…we enjoy watching you both live out your dreams while we’re stuck here in Dothan Alabama with our mortgage and big carpayment stuck in the same old routine wishing somedays we can run away!! Happy reunion with Katana!!

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  10. As I was saying, The same day you posted this, Arapahoe Basin ski resort opened… You made a good call… Plus road walking is not the way you want to see the mountains of Colorado…. Thank you for sharing your experiences in your blog… Looking forward to next spring!

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  11. Thank You, as always, for taking us along on your journey! Do not sell yourself short man, this was an amazing adventure and one which we will be eager to pick up again next year. Super excited about the new book also. Best wishes to you and Jessica 😊

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  12. Kyle, I’m happy that you’re happy with the early ending. That’s what makes people able to cope with life. I’ve really enjoyed your blog and am eagerly awaiting the book. I also follow Jessica’s video blog and am glad she’s safely finished. I’ll miss watching that, too. It keeps me entertained while I’m on the treadmill!

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  13. No failure at all and you know my thoughts on this. I think it’s amazing news and what will follow are shared memories that will make you richer in a new way. Hugs and a big hello to Katana. Stay safe

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  14. I like your this king, you can’t control the weather. And besides, its not a true triple crown for you without The Catfox. Be waiting for you all to restart this hike. Keep us posted.

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  15. Love this. You’re going to have so much fun when you tackle it with both your girls, come Spring!! Looking forward to pix/updates on Catdog.

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  16. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to read your posts. I look forward to ending my day with your journeys. I can not wait to get on The AT. I am learning so much from your adventures and that I am thankful.

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  17. Kyle there’s a John Denver song from your parents and my generation that was made for you and Jessica…Rocky mountain High and Annie’s song…I grew up in the foothills of the Blue ridge mountains of South Carolina…whenever I get homesick I you tube his music..his music is good for the soul!!

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  18. There is surely a reason things ended up in this way. I am willing to bet your experience with your girls will be well worth it in the Spring. Thank you for sharing your story. 🙂

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  19. Hey Kyle……Sorry to see you go but happy you have made a better decision!…..How Good surprising Jessica!!!…..Looking forward to seeing you, Jessica and Katana on the CDT next spring!…..Can hardly wait to order your PCT book!…..Safe travels friends!…..Rick and Mary

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  20. I’m gonna miss this. . . your updates and adventures. I admire that you have your priorities straight.
    Looking forward to the PCT book. All the best to you and Godspeed. . .

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  21. Man! I have enjoyed following you and looked forward to your updates and pictures. I understand the reasoning behind your decision BUT will try to patiently wait for Spring and your return to the trail. You’re inspiring! Till then! Warmly, @jennyinaz

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  22. Great job! I can hardly wait for next year! I know you will finish next year! Looking forward for a Katana update and your new book!

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