We kept up a good pace, but stopped frequently to investigate interesting sites along the way: large, tan-colored fungi growing from a dead log, a blue spotted beetle, a marshy pond with tall, deep green reeds. We also stopped to relax and enjoy the view at Gudy's Rest, a scenic overlook (pictured below) on a sandstone cliff. Numerous day hikers and mountain bikers passed by, enjoying the sunny Saturday morning before the thunder showers sure to strike later in the afternoon.
We continued down the trail parralleling Junction Creek. Catching a glimpse of cars through the trees ahead, I knew the end was in sight. And then we were there. The Junction Creek Trailhead in Durango, Colorado. The official southwestern terminus of the Colorado Trail.
My father had graciously offered to pick us up and drive us back home to California, but his familiar white truck was not among the many vehicles crammed into the tiny trailhead parking lot. We spread out on a comfortable, flat rock to wait. Many hikers and bikers stopped to congratulate us or to offer rides into town. The family of Joe, the 79-year-old hiker we had met yesterday, stood and talked with us while they waited for him to arrive.
Dark thunderclouds began gathering over the mountains. As they slowly moved toward us, my father's truck pulled into the lot and we piled in, heading for home.