Day 43: Odessa Lake and Hotel Born

Today was a rough one. There were tears. Lots of them.

The girls slept ridiculously well in the tents, both sleeping long after I thought it was feasible to sleep in a tent. I woke up at 5 when some little (I’m assuming little) creature woke me up by chatting right outside our tents. We stumbled out of the tents at 7ish to find a deer eating her breakfast in our campsite. She spent the hour it took us to pack up just munching away right by us. We coexist for those 60 minutes and she brought a calm to what can get a little chaotic. It’s crazy that I’m the one thinking it, but I’m really going to miss all the nature surrounding us.

Then it happened. We laced up our boots for the last time. We lunged our insanely heavy packs over our backs for the last time. We wrapped our trekking poles around our wrists for the last time. We looked around, insuring we hadn’t left a trace of us being there for the last time. We set off. The last hike of rtxviii. I teared up.

The hike was easy, just the reverse of yesterday. The first mile was a steep 1000 foot assent, but then it was all downhill. The emotions were high. We all knew this was it. It was special, almost sacred. The four of us. Four suburbanites, trekking along on our final hike of this crazy adventure.

We ran the last hundred yards together, a tradition we started last year. Today, we all touched Fred at the same time. Then Ellie collapsed to the ground in tears. She was so sad. This trip, all the hiking, meant a lot to her this year and it was done. She wailed, letting all the other passerbys know that we won’t be in a National Park for a year. She unlaced her boots, knowing it was likely the last time they’d be on as her feet are growing like weeds. The tears flowed as she peeled her pack off for the last time. I can’t think of another time she has been so sad.

The rest of the day was good. We stopped at Avery Brewery in Boulder and made our way to our third Kimpton of the trip. We played rounds of Exploding Kittens during wine hour and showered in the most luxurious showers of the trip. Zak and I are dining alone and the girls are having a night full of HGTV, treats, and sister time. Yet, none of that really matters.

We wrapped up our hiking journey of rtxviii. It was sad for us all.

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