From 2004 to 2011 I section-hiked the Colorado Trail, doing most of the trail from Denver to Jarosa Mesa, about 360 miles in all. Most of the hiking was done in 50-80 mile sections on trips of 4-8 days. And most of it was done with my Newfoundland dog Baloo. He was as fine a trail companion as one could wish for, and I hoped that we could complete the trail together. I mourned him bitterly when he weakened and died in August of 2011.
With more time for hiking after the bankruptcy of my company (MicroPhage), I did longer sections of the PCT, ending up at Walker Pass (mile 652) in 2014. But it seemed wrong to be hiking the PCT when I had still not completed the principal long trail in my home state of Colorado.
I could have just hiked the unfinished sections of course, but hiking is not really about checking off boxes. If it were, it would be too much like a job. So a full thru-hike of the CT was in order – this was unquestionably the right choice. The narrative version of this hike is published in TrailGroove.
I did not forget my friend Baloo. I carried his ashes with me in a vial next to my heart and scattered them in Transfer Creek near Durango, the end of a trail that we had started together many years ago. He was a good dog.