Walking 486 Miles. 380 of those miles alone. Just me, wide open nature, and a heavy backpack.
Solo Thru Hiking The Colorado Trail – Part 3.
Everything is exactly as it is meant to be. It will all become clear. Be present with yourself and in nature. Listen for the signs. They are all around you. It will all unfold perfectly.
The main thing coming up for me out on the trail was my nighttime fear.
However, by day 7, I was already feeling an improvement, as a result of reading the universal truth of The Law of Attraction by Abraham Hicks.
Spending all day and night alone, I became clearly aware of my thinking and began a conscious effort to change it.
Asking infinite source that my fear be replaced with serenity, peace, confidence, and connectedness.
I started to see that the fear came when I felt myself as being separate and alone.
I asked mother nature to take it, hold me, and support me.
After making this request, I felt as if there was nothing to fear. I felt the inner connectedness of all beings, of everything linked energetically together.
The energy I send out felt by all creation.
On my first night I knew the fox and the owl that circled me and my camp felt me needing support and they came.
Abraham says that my attitude, vibration, and thoughts create my reality, and I am seeing how quickly things respond and manifest.
Segment 10 of the trail was not my favourite.
I felt like all of a sudden the honeymoon was over and I walked all day in the trees with no views and heaps of mosquitos. The next segment lifted my spirits though and I found a great campsite tucked in below the trail on the side of an Aspen covered slope with a view of the sunrise, and Twin Lakes with mountains in the background.
I had a closer read of my guidebook, The Colorado Trail Data book, and realised that it was going to be easier to hitch hike to my next resupply point in Beuna Vista if I went another 3 days on the trail.
I didn’t factor the 3 extra days in when I did my food buy in Leadville, and in order to make it 3 more days I needed to head the 1 mile down hill off the trail to the small village of Twin Lakes, to get more food.
I set my intention that I would be able to get all that I needed at the small general store in Twin Lakes. That they would have organic peanut butter, two vegan dinners, and gluten free cereal. I repeated my intention as I walked down the hill, smiling with anticipation.
I walked into the General Store and was greeted with a friendly “hello hiker!” from the nice guy working behind the counter. He strait away knew I was thru hiking. I told him I was needing 3 days of food and was hoping I could find it in his shop. He directed me to the “hiker free box” which was lying on the floor next to the door. He said other hikers left things in the box that they didn’t want and I was welcome to have a look through the box first. The “hiker free box” was like christmas! I found everything I needed and asked for in the box! Including organic peanut butter and amazing dehydrated vegan dinners that someone had made in their own dehydrator. AMAZING! I couldn’t believe my luck! and said a silent thank you. I bought a can of coconut water and charged up my phone outside, while I drank it.
Anxious to get going, I had a full days walk ahead of me and it was already pushing 12 o’clock.
I made my way back up the hill and to the trail, and within a few miles I was back in civilisation again as the trail paralleled a road and crossed over a dam. It was hot and challenging to be in the lowlands again.
I stopped to take a break and have some lunch at a beautiful spot with a view of the lake and mountains. While I was eating, another solo woman thru hiker coming from the opposite direction stopped and chatted with me.
She had already been out 3 weeks and was doing the Continental Divide Trail from New Mexico thru to the Northern Colorado boarder. Talking with her was a great boost for my moral. She recommended that I definitely stay at the hostel in Lake City, and that I would probably be able to do another free resupply there from all the food other hikers had left there too.
At this stage Lake City felt like another universe as it was still 2 weeks away, but I took note and wished her well on her journey.
I finished out that day with a big uphill and the reward of an amazing camp by a river and mountain view.
The next day proved to be the hardest day out yet, 15 miles, ending in a massive up hill, in the pouring down rain.
I had to dig deep to get my legs to continue to walk up the steep, rocky trail.
My head down, I focused only on the trail beneath me. I told myself I could take just one more step. Not looking up at how much further I had to climb.
Wishing I had better rain gear, as I was completely drenched, I conjured up memories my running days when I used to do hill workouts.
Reminding myself I used to RUN up hills. If you could run then you can walk now.
You can do it!
I pulled out all of the positive motivation mental tricks I could think of.
This too shall pass.
I had set a goal for myself to camp at the next water source which was still 3 miles away. I didn’t have any water left so opting out early wasn’t possible.
I made it wet and exhausted to the small creek with nearby campsite. The campsite, which was in the trees, was really wet from rain, dark, and felt claustrophobic.
I wasn’t stoked, and made a split second and possibly crazy decision to fill up my water bottles and keep going.
Saying to myself, I didn’t put all this effort in today to camp in a gloomy spot!
I knew if I got out of the trees there would be a better camp.
It was 6 o’clock at night and a bit of a gamble, but I went for it.
Finding an inner second wind, I charged uphill for another hour.
I made it out of the trees and onto the top of the saddle.
There was an amazing camp spot with a view!
Happy, relieved, tired, and wet I quickly set up my tent and hung up all of my clothes hoping optimistically that they would quickly dry with the last rays of the emerging sun.
I made a fast dinner and crawled into my sleeping bag just on dark.
I was awakened at 5 am by the sound of horses and a flashlight beaming into my tent.
My heart was racing, fear gripping me, my mind trying to make sense of why I would be hearing horses at this hour of the morning and why is there a light shining into my tent.
Terrified, I unzipped my tent and looked outside to survey the situation. I thought maybe they were just hikers getting an early start, but my tent was off the trail so I couldn’t sort out why they would be coming my way.
I decide to go looking for my food bag, get away from my tent and let my fear subside.
It was still dark and there were a lot of trees and in my panic I couldn’t find the tree I had hung my food in.
“OK Polly, calm down, wait for it to get light out. Go back to your tent. You will be fine.” The voice of reason kicked in.
I returned to my tent and found that the horses were tied up close by. Weird.
Then I realised that I was camped on a faint side trail that led up to Mount Yale. Oh my goodness! The flashlight was just a hiker looking for the side trail and going for an early morning summit climb.
FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real
The terror and panic I put myself through for no reason is crazy. I guess I have a little more inner work to do.
I found my food bag as the morning light gradually made its appearance, and I slowly calmed down.
After eating breakfast, I was still feeling a bit out of sorts and quickly started packing up my camp.
I heard a dog bark and saw an older man walk by on the trail. He yelled a friendly hello and then shouted out “are you ok?”
How did he know that I was feeling like a nervous wreck? How did he know to ask me if I was ok?
I felt as if he was another of my trail angels reminding me that I wasn’t alone, and that someone cared.
I shouted out that I was ok and thank you and have a great day. Wow!
The simple kindness of that stranger brought tears to my eyes.
Packed up and ready to move on, I began the 3 mile descent to the trail head where I was to hitch hike into Buena Vista for my second major resupply mission.
Shaking off the mornings fear, I set my intentions for a successful resupply:
Thank you that I get a quick, safe, easy ride.
Thank you that I easily do my washing and check internet.
Thank you I find 4 days worth of food.
Thank you that I eat some Mexican food.
Thank you that I easily get a safe ride back to the trail head and make some more miles today.
I made it to the trail head and crossed the road.
Setting my pack down, I stuck out my thumb and in less than 5 minutes a car stopped.
It was a Dad with his little girl.
I threw my pack in the back of his Toyota Forerunner and hopped in the front seat. We got to chatting and it turned out he knew a friend of mine in Crested Butte! Unbelievable synchronicity as this was the second ride I had gotten from someone who knew my friend Erika in Crested Butte. I took this as a sign and took a mental note to contact her.
He dropped me at the laundromat in Buena Vista, which was right next door to a Mexican Restaurant. Really! This is incredible.
I did my washing while I ate a Mexican vegan tostada and checked the internet on their free WiFi!
This intention setting really works!
Washing done, I walked the few blocks to the grocery store and did my resupply shopping.
Wheeling my shopping trolley with backpack around the crowded, tourist infested supermarket, I was feeling overwhelmed by all of the action and ready to get back to solitude on the trail asap. I reorganised my pack with the newly acquired food, underneath the outside awning of the supermarket just as another thunderstorm hit.
I quickly walked back to the road that would take me back to the trail head.
Suddenly, I saw a green Subaru station wagon drive by, and my inner voice said, “that is your ride”.
I set my intention for a safe, fast ride, set down my pack and all of a sudden the green Subaru re-appeared!
It was another Dad. This time with 3 kids.
They were on their way for a family hike and were going past where I needed to go and were happy to give me a ride!
The three kids were adorable and I chatted with the Dad about his work for the Forest Service doing trail maintenance in Montana before moving to Colorado and starting a family.
I actually loved the conversations I would have with people hitch hiking. It was a real glimpse into another world, into someones life that you never normally would meet.
He dropped me at the trail head and with eager anticipation and another successful mission accomplished I set off to make some miles and get back into the wilderness.
Another thunderstorm rolled in after I had been walking for a few hours.
I decided to try and wait it out and sat under a tree for awhile, but soon got cold and knew I needed to keep moving.
At 6:30pm I started asking infinite source for the perfect camp with a view where I would be safe and protected.
I heard “it is coming soon”.
I climbed to the top of a ridge and off to my left I saw a side trail that looked like it went to an overlook. I took the trail to the left and it was a perfect camp spot with an amazing view of the mountains and valley below.
I quickly set up my tent. Boiled water for instant mashed potatoes and ripped open a bag of instant Indian dahl (lentils) I poured it over the mashed potatoes cold and quickly ate.
Thunder clouds were brewing again and I hurriedly got everything inside my tent and hung my food bag. I dove inside my tent just as the sky unleashed. Thunder, lightening, buckets of rain and wind descended as I lay in my tent praying. Praying for the storm to pass, praying that my tent stayed dry, and saying a thank you that I had perfect timing. That I found this beautiful camp, got set up, ate, and food bag hung all in time! That I was warm and dry in my tent.
I felt so lucky!
Even my fear was shifting. The previous night I had actually seen the fear. It looked like a spirit / dark entity around me. I forcefully told it to go and to leave me alone! And …It worked!
I had the best night sleep of my entire trip so far with minimal fear.
I knew this was my main work out here. To release the fear. To walk thru it, expanding out of my comfort zone. Facing it head on.
I was tired of being a prisoner of my own mind, and it was time to be free!
Thank you Abraham Hicks for teaching me the power of setting positive intentions, and to mother nature for the all encompassing protection!
To be continued……