by Columbine Quillen
Once, a great long while ago, a donkey named Virgil and I hiked from Denver to Buena Vista on the pristine Colorado Trail. The Colorado Trail is a 486-mile footpath that traverses the state from Denver to Durango through the rugged foothills and the Rocky Mountains. Finding myself in Colorado this summer with a couple of spare weeks and the need for solitude, I thought I would start up where I left off and walk until it was no longer an option to ignore my pending responsibilities. I went deep into the backcountry seeking solace and isolation but, surprisingly, I found a gregarious band of appealing souls that made me reconsider having only myself as company for two weeks. During a short time each year, high up in the Colorado Rockies, is a wandering band of wayfarers that keep an eye on one another and form a short-term community.