Colorado Trail – Silverton to Durango – day 4

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

day 1 | day 2 day 3 | day 4 | info page

seasonal Spring – Kennebec trailhead – Durango

The morning was overcast and gloomy for the first time on the hike. DSCN2111I’d hoped the pain in my leg would have “recovered” by morning.

It had not. 😦DSCN2120My closest escape route was Kennebec trailhead, 8 miles onward.

Would there be any vehicles there? Could I catch a ride back to Durango, skipping the last 20.5 miles?DSCN2116But when I hit the Highline Trail section I couldn’t stop grinning. DSCN2114It came clear to me why these are some of the highlight miles of the entire Colorado Trail. The Indian Trail Ridge section of the Highline is fantastic.

Photos cannot capture the wide and unique vista. But I’ll post some anyway. 🙂DSCN2122DSCN2136The wildflowers are reputedly better here in July than anywhere else on the Colorado Trail.  DSCN2131

Blue Columbine
Blue Columbine

I was thinking to use this as my OK Cupid profile pic. 🙂 Ladies? DSCN2139Bad news. I was moving much more slowly than usual … and the big, bad thunder clouds started piling up atop the highest point on the trail.


DSCN2143Marmots can hide in the rocks if the thunder and lightning starts. But I’d be very exposed.

DSCN2157I shuffled on and managed to drop down to Taylor Lake and the Kennebec trailhead before the rain started.

DSCN2162I was relieved to get off the heights. And into even thicker wild flowers.
DSCN2165DSCN2166The first folks I met – a family originally from Montana – offered me a lift part way down the mountain towards Durango. They were looking to fill their pick-up truck with firewood.

DSCN2169(note – At this point my camera said “batteries exhausted“. I resembled that remark. And put the camera away. My hike OVER. 51 miles total.)

I was pleased to tag along. Prepared to start working the chainsaw when a second vehicle arrived. A couple of ex-military fishermen. They’d needed to hitchhike plenty over their many different fishing trips. The guys dropped me at the Rec Center in Durango so I could shower-up and change my clothes.

Rec CenterA hot shower is one of the few things I miss while hiking. This one was glorious. 🙂

A lady at the Rec Center suggested I use the rest of the facilities. After all, I’d paid full price for the day – $6!

It sounded crazy at the time, but I did end up returning in the evening for a workout in the weight room. And another long, hot shower. 🙂

My stashed green garbage bag was exactly where I’d left it days ago. I repacked for travel, the Colorado hiking finished for 2015. (I was walking with a limp.)

DSCN2171Have you ever tried to fly from one small town to another small town in another nation? On a summer long weekend? With one day notice?


An itinerary like this is near certain to go wrong.

itineraryInstead, I played it SAFE and jumped on to the only long distance bus out of Durango. The 7am Roadrunner. The same bus that brought me here.

IMG_3408IMG_3410Farewell Durango.

more high resolution photos of day 4

day 1 | day 2 day 3 | day 4 | info page

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