The Continental Divide Trail runs 2,800(ish) miles along the spine of the US, from the Mexican border in New Mexico to the Canadian border in Glacier National Park, Montana. The CDT is only partly “finished”, which means that a good chunk of the route is jeep roads and cross-country navigation. Hiking the CDT is a bit like what I imagine hiking the PCT was like in the seventies- wild, remote, arduous, not a lot of trail or infrastructure. Sections of the CDT have various “alternates”, so the trail varies in length from 2,800 to 3,100 miles, depending on how you hike it. My intention is to have the “full CDT experience,” so I’ll take the most scenic and challenging routes available to me. I also hate (paved) road walking.
The saying for the CDT is “Embrace the brutality.” I start the trail May 5. I’ll write a blog post for each day, and you can see those posts by clicking the “Home” tab in the menu. You can see my gear list for the CDT by clicking the “gear” tab. I’ll be using Guthook’s CDT app on my phone for navigation, as well as Jonathan Ley’s paper maps.
I imagine that my biggest challenge, on the CDT, will be the solitude. Although I’m starting with three friends from the PCT 2013 (Spark, Track Meat and MeHap), I’m not sure yet what our hiking styles will be like and whether or not they’ll be compatible. The more I hike, the more I figure out how it is that I like to hike, and the less I want to compromise for other people. Only a few hundred people attempt to thru-hike the CDT each year, compared to over a thousand on the PCT. This means that if I don’t end up hiking with the people I’m starting with, odds are that I’ll be hiking solo for much of the trail. I don’t have a lot of experience hiking solo- on the PCT I made friends both years, and although I’ve never had a hiking “partner,” it would be ridiculous to say that I was solo- there were only a handful of nights each year that I camped alone. Although my only experience with cross-country navigation was on the L2H, that part doesn’t scare me- I loved the navigational aspect and I’m stoked to do more of it! The solitude of the CDT is definitely the thing that is newest/most intimidating for me. Time to face more of my fears. YAY!
NOTE: If you haven’t heard from me in a couple of weeks, this does not mean that I have died. On the CDT I’ll go long stretches without cell service, and I’ll also be conserving my battery. I’ll be saving the daily posts to the app on my phone, and I’ll upload them when service is available. Expect up to two weeks between blog posts. I’ll also be scheduling my blogs at least four days behind, for my own privacy and safety on the trail. Which brings us to…
Do not ever, under any circumstances, come “find me” on the trail without my consent. Last year, on the PCT, two male blog readers tracked me down in the middle of the woods without my consent. While both dudes were ultimately well-meaning, they were seemingly oblivious to the fact that their behavior was incredibly, incredibly creepy and inappropriate. It is never, ever ok to track down a stranger from the internet in the middle of the wilderness without her consent. Ever. If you do this while I’m on the CDT, I will call the police. If I don’t have cell reception I’ll wait until I do, and then I will call the police and file a report against you.
Even if you have watermelon.
Let’s go hiking!
Also! The CDT is still a work in progress and needs our help. Click here to donate to the Continental Divide Trail Coalition.