Colorado Trail 2023 Announcement!

In which I outline my future plans in public on the internet, so they’re no longer just another daydream in my head.

Escapism, or a needed change?

In the weeks and months after my hike of the VIT, I would read back on my blogs and look at my photos more frequently than I’d like to admit. I never really settled back into the groove of the new school year, for various life reasons, and I found myself daydreaming about what my next adventure could be quite quickly. Really, I think I decided I wanted more before I even finished my first long-distance hike, but I tried not to get ahead of myself too much in the moment. I still had a whole school year of learning and experiences ahead of me, and I still wanted to try and make the most out of that.

I quickly realized though, that however much I tried to smother it and get on with my responsibilities, the urge to escape only grew stronger. However much I tried to distance myself from the desire for something drastically different to what I was experiencing, it only tugged at my consciousness more and more strongly.

And, not to say that everything was terrible. I lived in a city I liked, was studying a subject I was passionate about, and had ample free time to spend in nature when I needed to.

Section hiking the Sunshine Coast Trail on the weekend

But the deep fatigue resultant from being in school my entire life, on top of navigating relationship challenges, made me feel like I wanted some kind of a break or change.

So I decided to take the next fall term off school and go travelling instead. This year, after making some money at my seasonal job, I’m going to kick start that whole (daunting) adventure with a thru-hike of the Colorado Trail! (Since, my favourite way to travel seems to be on foot, at walking pace, apparently).

Why the CT?

I live in Canada, and my seasonal job is treeplanting, which usually runs from spring-summer. Because of the time commitment of work, I was looking for a shorter hike that I could fit in the window of August-September. Also, my last hike was a similar length to the CT (500 miles ish), so I kind of know what a month of continuous hiking can be like.

When I was researching, I thought I might like to go to America and experience a more established trail. I loved my VIT experience for the solitude and how I could explore the island where I lived in new ways. After that, I was curious what a more social trail would be like, and to experience a little thru-hiking culture in real life (not just on the internet).

That, and the feeling that my heart was drawing me towards the beautiful Rockies, lead me to the CT. The elevation and the terrain would be super different from my last hike in the wet coastal forests of BC. Though we do have the Great Divide Trail in the Canadian Rockies here, I feel that it might be something I do a few more years down the road. (The remoteness, the grizzlies, and the amount of planning required for logistics and park reservations is not something I am ready to take on just yet).

Day hiking the Canadian Rockies this winter

Planning, anticipation, excitement

So, my flight to Denver is booked and my tentative start date is set for August 19th!

And to be honest, I have not planned nearly as much for this one compared to my last hike, nor have I been really interested in doing so. I think overplanning for my last hike was just me needing something to do because I was so excited and could not stop thinking about it. This time, I’m a little more chilled out about that stuff. I know from experience now that things rarely go according to plan anyway, and they even seem to work out in ways better than you could have anticipated.

There would have been a lot more snow here on the VIT if I followed my original plan and didn’t flip…

I’ve downloaded the guidebook and the FarOut guide, and have a general idea of my resupply points. I’ve read up on some of the new hazards I’ll be dealing with and how to manage them (Altitude! Thunderstorms! Cow poop water!). I’ve watched some videos and read a blog or two of thru-hikers past to get more of an idea of what I’m stepping into. That’s kind of the extent of the planning right now. Maybe I’ll get a bit more obsessive about the details closer to the date, but for now I’m content with my level of preparation.

And speaking of prep…

I know that the higher elevations on the CT are going to be something new for my body to adapt to. I’m going to be starting the trail with a pretty good level of fitness already though, which I’m hoping will help a bit with the adaptation. Since the end of April, I’ve been carrying 20-40 pounds up and down steep hills and bending over thousands of times a day to plant trees in the forests of southern BC, for 8+ hours a day, six days a week. My cardio and leg/back strength have really been kicked into gear at this point.

Planting trees near Adams Lake BC (2020)

Going straight from this to hiking, I feel like I might be able to start off with a bit higher daily mileage than I would have otherwise. But, I might still take it slower the first few days anyway, to be mindful of the altitude adaptation – I’ll see how I feel.

(On another note, I’ve been thinking about making a post/article comparing treeplanting and thru-hiking, since there are so many similarities, from the hard physical exertion outdoors to even the culture surrounding them. Lmk if that would interest anyone!)

And so, in the meantime…

I am really enjoying what it’s like to experience the mountains and forests of my home country and province. I love BC and its beauty never ceases to move me.

Work views of the Monashee mountains 😍

But, I’m also really interested in experiencing something new, in a new country, in a new environment. It’s been a long time since I’ve travelled internationally, and this fall is definitely going to be an adventure for me – after the CT I’ll be making my way to Central/South America, which is really going to be a trip! But I shouldn’t get too far ahead of myself…



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Comments 8

  • Dave Svoboda : Jun 16th

    Hi Carly! Congrats on your plan to hike the CT. I’m born and raised in Colorado and will be starting my first through-hike of the CT on Sept. 1st! Hope to see you out there!

    • Carly Wiechnik : Jun 21st

      Thanks Dave! That’s really exciting you’ll be hiking out there too! Not sure if our timelines will meet up but it would be neat if they somehow did. Good luck!

  • Matt : Jun 16th

    I could relate in a couple ways! I worked seasonally at a ski resort this winter and came back to “normal life” in the city and working and it’s been hard to adjust. So im doing the same as you and hiking the CT early August! Best of luck

    • Carly Wiechnik : Jun 21st

      Hi Matt! Spending the winter skiing sounds so cool. I feel there’s something about having your work/routine/etc change with the seasons that feels right – like harmonizing with nature or something haha. Have an awesome hike!

  • David Webb : Jun 16th

    Looking forward to hearing about your new CT adventure. Sounds like you’re getting all the ‘nuts & bolts’ screwed together in the right order. Good luck and all the best!

    • Carly Wiechnik : Jun 21st

      Thanks so much David, hope you’re doing well!!

  • Robert : Jun 16th

    Looking forward to reading about your adventures! Curious what your thoughts are regarding the Northwest Scenic Trail also…

    • Carly Wiechnik : Jun 21st

      Thanks Robert! It’s funny you mention the PNT, as I was seriously considering it! But I decided it was a little too close to home (I live in the PNW) and I wanted to experience something different. Looks like another fun adventure that might be on the list for the future though!


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