July 23, 2020
Destination: Durango Today's Miles: 0
Start Location: Little Molas Lake Trip Miles: 406.90
Buckhorn Limousine’s van picked us up at Little Molas Lake about 9 am. We were suffering from a great deal of disbelief and a healthy dose of disappointment. How could things end up this way? Everything was happening so fast, one minute we’re walking to Durango, the next minute we’re in a van speeding down the mountain - 5 days compressed neatly into 1 hour. Is it really over?
Arriving in town a little after 10 it was too early for check in so we did what any good thru hiker would do - we ate! The driver dropped us off at Applebee’s and in true nomadic fashion we hung out with our backpacks under a tree until they opened at 11. Waiting near the door when they opened, we were their first customers of the day.
Oh the joys of food. For starters we had mozzarella cheese sticks and chicken quesadillas. From there I moved to bourbon street shrimp and Aaron to their chicken bowl loaded with his favorite, mashed potatoes and gravy. We had no trouble cleaning our plates but pulled up short of desert. I’m sure our stomachs have shrunk, I know my waist has. For once I’m looking forward to stepping on the scale.
Making our way to the Best Western they were helpful with checking us in early and before we knew it the last of the trail was washing down the drain. Oh my. We were sad but trying hard not to let the handful of miles left undone detract from the significance of the 400+ miles we’ve traveled. Should we be celebrating the accomplishment or agonizing over failing to reach our target?
Feeling sad about quitting the trail came easy but feeling elated and accomplished from our experiences these past 32 days is more powerful. Our bodies have been challenged and our minds have been stretched, we can never go back to our former selves - we have somehow expanded. It’s as if we’ve tapped into the universe itself.
Knowing we’ll be back to finish the trail is somewhat comforting but first we need to get home and Aaron’s knee healed up. Tomorrow we’re picking up the rental car so tonight we’re ordering a pizza and eating in. Disappointment prevails.