5/26/15, Day 32
Chama to Durango
0, 603.8 Trip Miles
Day’s of Snow: 7 – Day’s of Rain: 11
# of Zero days: 2
Gila Crossings Final Total: 221
22 Cotton Tail Rabbits
9 Horny Roads
9 Jack Rabbit
8 Ground Squirrel
1 Rattle Snake
Today was a big decision day. The snow in the San Juan Mtns is off the hook. After my experience getting into Chama and Cumbres Pass I’m not ready to go into the San Juans. I want to see them free of snow. I’m pussying out in a way but going into a 116 mile stretch where the elevation only drops below 11k once would be like being on the planet Hoth right now. It’s full on winter up there and with new snow there’s avalanche danger and more to worry about.
My options are sit it out for a minimum of 1-2 weeks or I can do what is called a Flip Flop. I would rent a car and drive to South Pass City in Wyoming, then hike southbound back to Cumbres Pass. Then you get back to South Pass City some how and continue north to Canada.
I decided on the Flip Flop. Rafiki who is hiking with me is going with me. We spent the morning getting packages and making a plan. We didn’t start hitching to Durango until after 4 pm.
It took three hitches to get to Durango and it was after 8 pm. The drive was beautiful and we met some great folks who gave us rides.
I’m staying at my friend Amy’s place tonight and Wednesday night as my other friend Jill is out hiking for her birthday. I hope to see her on Thursday when she’s back. We’ll stay with her one night then pick up our rental car around 8 am on Friday. We’ll drive straight through to Riverton, WY where the only car drop off is. Then we’ll have to hitch 34 miles SW to South Pass City, where we’ll start hiking again but as Southbounders.
Never in my life did I think I’d be typing that. This trail wears the pants. You do what it says, not the other way around. I could do the San Juans but I don’t feel it’s worth the effort. I’ve lost a ton of weight and snow travel is very tough and I still have 2200 miles to hike. I have to look at the big picture and put my pride aside. It’s a BIG pill to swallow.
This was a tough day for me. I really wanted to do a continuous northbound thru-hike but like I had with the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. I heard the stories from the hikers ahead and of those who turned back. Continuing north would have meant a minimum of two weeks of solid snow. Just the idea of it was exhausting. The list of reasons was long.
Looking back now I’m still conflicted by the decision but in the end I finished my hike and my Triple Crown so I’m happy. Just another lesson that life doesn’t always go as you plan.