Today's Report - 7/4/17:
After months of planning and training, I made the difficult choice to leave the Colorado Trail for a couple of days to get my health back. I knew I couldn't continue if I could not keep food or water down, thus ending my attempt for an uninterrupted through hike.
I felt well prepared physically and mentally, but I faced some pretty long odds to complete it in just one shot. I knew that everything had to be 100% perfect to pull it off.
The 7,000' climb on Day 1; the rose thicket trail from hell on Day 2; then the nasty stomach on Day 3, that ultimately took me down. I'm not complaining about these problems - they're built into adventures like this, and despite how uncomfortable it was, I'd do it all over again, except I'd change the food plan. Calorie intake was my biggest fear going in and sure enough, it's the one that got me.
I made the decision when I was still over 90 miles away from Creede. I had plenty of food, just not the right kind of food to sustain me at the level I was trying to achieve.
Even though I didn't hit my goal of 516 miles in 11 days straight through, I was able to see some of the finest places on the planet and gain irreplaceable knowledge for the next attempt. The battle was fought and lost, but the war was not.
In those three days, I understood why John Denver sang about his beautiful Rocky Mountains so passionately. I understood the beautiful silence of solitude. I understood how liberating it was to be unwired from the internet. I learned a lot about myself - what my limits and capabilities were, and when to make the tough and right decision to take myself from harms way. It was a hard decision - ego and pride have a way of driving a person into dangerous and regrettable positions. I didn't want to be that person. That probably sounds a bit dramatic, but it's also realistic.
In just three short days, I ran 121 miles and climbed 21,112' of elevation, feeling stronger each day. I was able to cover 63 miles on Sunday alone, in the beautiful San Juan mountains, high above the rest of the world.
Miraculously, the pain in my left foot that has plagued me for nearly two months, is completely gone. Maybe that, along with the impressions of nature, were the big takeaways.
Disappointed perhaps, but I don't see it as a failure. I view it as an experience and remain positive, knowing that I gave it all I had. No regrets.
End of Day Four