Choosing to Stop

Since July 13 of this year, Elaine Mahoney has been hiking the Colorado Trail. Every day she’s had a remarkable adventure, a new trial, and has seen enough flora and fauna for years of stories. We have been eagerly following her progress as she Solo Treks the Colorado Trail. Elaine has inspired us with her goals and has given us the pleasure of following along on her hike. And now she is sharing one of the most important lessons one can learn in life: deciding to stop.

Before Elaine left on her hike, she explained how she would ship her trekking supplies to locations along the way. One of the shipping locations being Monarch Pass. Monarch is located in the Sawatch Range of Colorado at 11,312  feet. It also crosses the Continental Divide, as a few other sections of the Colorado Trail do. From the Colorado Trail, there is a 6-8 mile trek to the Monarch RV/Tent park, where one can find some respite from the heavy winds that are common on this pass. And all this was part of Elaine’s plan. To trek to Monarch Crest, get resupplied, rest and prep for the next sections.

There are many sections of the trail that are not only high mountain passes, but extremely remote and dry. The three factors can have a huge cost individually, but when combined can make a dangerous triumvirate.

Friday afternoon, we received an update as Elaine made her approach to Monarch…

“Should be at Monarch Crest tomorrow to fetch my resupply. There should be good service there and I hope to arrange for a tent spot over at the RV center 10 miles over on Hwy 50. Hoping some nice person will give me a lift there. I’ll need a day or two there if possible for a real rest. Tomorrow starts the Leadville 100 High lonesome race. It will follow much of what I have covered these past 4 days or so. These people will be running up and down stuff I can just manage to hike on.

There is a lone guy fishing on the lake here and the fish are really biting. Tom would love this. Green cutthroat I believe. Circles all over the lake!!  He’s a good fly fisherman or they are ravenous. More later. Cheers to all.”

And then we received more as she arrived at Monarch.

“At monarch crest to get my resupply box. Staying at monarch RV/tent parknearby. Not sure about cell service for many days now. What a long high super windy trek over here. I’ll put my thumb out and hope for a ride to park about 6-8 miles away. Hope they have cell service.”

By Saturday morning, we received the text that let us know that we’d be seeing her soon. As a recent goal-related article stated “When done strategically, abandoning the pursuit of a goal may be a much healthier approach than perverse perseverance.”

Wouldn’t life be amazing if we all shared this self-awareness?

“Busted. Sorry to say it’s over. I’m on a bus back to Denver. My food for the 9-10 days to Lake City was too much weight so I had to make the decision I most tried to avoid. The lack of cell service with the now stretches of miles without water also added weight I could not sustain safely. But trail time was great in most every other way. My food, equipment and body was perfect for that special 3 weeks. I intend to complete the trail at some point. See you in a few days. Solo E.”





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