Of course it all comes back to the end of my Pacific Crest Trail hike in 2012. I remember hiking those last few miles after the border into Canada, already dreaming of my next trail. I may have been tired, and physically ready for a break but I knew my thruhiking days weren't over. So I bided my time, boring my friends and family with constant reminiscing and plotted future adventures. The year after the PCT I kept busy, trying to go on at least one good trip a month and had some amazing times. In fact Zion and the Wonderland trail will be lifelong favorite places of mine, but the draw of a long trail just kept lurking under the surface. I felt like I was doing the responsible thing, trying to stay at a solid job for 2 + years and getting more specialized in my career, but life as usual threw some curve balls and here I am.
I debated pretty seriously which it would be, the Appalachian or the Continental Divide. But it really came down to one thing, what if I only get to hike one more big hike? And really, for me, there is no question. New Mexico and the Gila, Colorado with the San Juans and the Collegiates, Wyoming with the Wind River Range, and don't even get me started on the National Parks, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone and Glacier! Lets face it, there was no competition. So after 3 long impatient years I'm finally cutting the cord and setting out again.
I've been pretty sure about this being the year for the CDT and have been plotting away. But it all seems to have come crashing into reality over the last week or so. I've been procrastinating, perusing gear and trail journals, vaguely researching and making zero decisions. See the CDT honestly scares me. This trail has a big bad reputation. Winding its way through New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana the trail follows the Continental Divide. According to those in the know this sucker is only about 76% complete (check out http://www.continentaldividetrail.org/ for every detail you might want on the trail and its progress/history). That is not to say that there is no trail, its just not exactly where the trail is planned to be yet. I've heard tell of lots of road walking, old fire roads and OHV trails and at least in New Mexico lots of cross country travel. Unlike the PCT there will be no beautiful 30% graded well maintained trail for miles. Supposedly there is very little cruising on the CDT at all. The trail is often more of a general location than an actual tangible thing. I'm supposed to get real comfortable with just being a bit off track, misplaced rather than full on lost. Southern Colorado will undoubtedly have more snow than I've ever dealt with through the San Juans and Wyoming and Montana have Grizzlies. But the trail is getting more popular than ever and fear mongering and hype is just that, this is no longer the CDT of even a few years ago and who knows whats in store. I'm so excited I could just about bust.
Originally this adventure was going to start just like the PCT, a van full of strangers catching a ride to the border and me crossing my fingers I would find some kind souls who might keep me a bit of company in my early hike panic. So as I sat around procrastinating about start dates, direction of travel and a million other details I started subconsciously making decisions. I thought hey Northbound is the way I want to go, ending in Glacier National Park sounds perfect and why not start April 17th, I like that number, solo of course, but I would make friends right? Gear, well maybe I'll be struck by magical decision making skills in the next month or two...
And then my good friend from the PCT called me, Caveman would be hiking the CDT this year too. Only he couldn't leave until the first week of May which was way later than I wanted. Thats okay, I now had a good friend to geek out with about gear and all my general trail excitement.
|Caveman and I, July 4th shenanigans|
And then the truly amazing happened last week. Caveman called, plans had changed and did I want to start together? I may or may not have started jumping around like a lunatic and singing in excitement. We started talking in a million different directions and then got brought down a bit by reality.
|This sign was actually a bit of a mantra for me. |
Found in Lassen NP, it was my phone's screen saver
and always made me smile. Because lets face it,
it so worth it.