CDT Day 146: 12 miles /17 km

CDT SOBO: Mile 2252.0 – 2264.0

Monday September 9, 2019

This trail was a challenge to the end. This morning we broke camp for the last time with a fair bit of energy and enthusiasm. It was time to bring this ship to shore. We were tired of being tired, frayed and frazzled. We were looking forward to some rest.

The sky was clear and the stars sparking. It was warm as we headed up the hill. Once we rounded the top, the guttural sound of owls hooting across the open space felt close and eerie. It was three owls calling to each other, we just happen to be in the way.

In the predawn twilight I could see that we were in a huge open pasture. The temperature started to plummet, and frost appeared on the ground. Soon shoes were wet from the frosty grass and a cold wind was blowing. It got so cold and then it got colder. I wondered if I would ever feel warm again. It seemed that sun would never rise this morning. Howling of coyotes replaced the sound of the owls. The wilderness was well and truly bidding us goodbye.

Once we got out of the pastures and into the forested section, it was a little warmer, especially when the sun reached the trail. But the wind remained cold right to the end.

It felt incredible and a bit surreal to arrive back to where we were nearly four months ago at Hopewell Lake. It made me sad to remember that feeling when we were here last, walking along this same highway in blizzard like conditions. By the side of the highway were two crosses marking a fatality which occurred just two days after we were here on May 20. It made me even sadder to think of such a sudden loss of life and of the desolation I felt when we were hitching in that blinding storm.

And to finish our wild wanderings we were privilege to receive an extraordinary act of trail angeling generosity. Our friend ‘Oregon Jim’ with whom we hiked on sections of the PCT in 2016 flew out from Oregon to meet us at the finish. It was so wonderful to meet up again. It made the finish all that more special and memorable.

We had to go to Chama to pick up a parcel from the post office. On the drive to Chama it was hard to reconcile the landscape with that of our last trip down this highway. Chama was so beautiful and warm and it started to feel real, we were done and don’t have to go back on trail. The reality of finishing this beast of a trail will take a few days to sink in.

We had lunch at the Boxcar Cafe and then it was onto Santa Fe where we stayed for the night.

After doing laundry and getting cleaned up we went out to dinner with Jim. Although we have kept in contact, there was so much more catching up to do. It was a most pleasant ending to our CDT adventure.