Ten Reasons Why I’m Hiking the CDT
I’m about to head out on my second thru-hike, after the PCT in 2017.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s driving me to get out there again.
1. Because I love carrying potato chips around on the outside of my pack… and then finally eating them! (Pro tip: If they don’t fit inside your Opsak, and there are no bears around, the crinkly bag makes a great mouse alarm. Place it blocking the opening of your food bag right next to your head.)
2. I love exploring small mountain towns. What better way to get to know a new town than by wandering around? Doing laundry, charging devices, eating everything, loitering with an open container (of soda, obviously).
I like talking to locals and getting a sense of the place, even though I’m just passing through.
3. Town food. Duh.
4. I want to see sunrise and sunset every day, and notice the phases of the moon.
5. I’m looking forward to learning the names of new plants.
6. Trail community! Because there’s no trash like hiker trash.
7. Climate change will alter the natural world as we know it. I want to experience wild places the way they are now. It’s heartbreaking to think of the massive shifts that will take place in mountain ecosystems. (And within the oceans, along the coasts, rivers, at the poles, all over the earth.) However, I think there’s something positive in recognizing the adaptability of nature, and bearing witness to changes as they happen.
8. I like pushing my body toward a goal. Even if the goal is just to walk forward one step at a time, and catch myself when I inevitably trip over my own trekking poles.
I want to feel the miles slip between my fingers as the landscape changes before my eyes.
9. So that I can wonder if I’m lost every 20 minutes! I mean, to get better at route-finding. I love a good single track, but I want the confidence to make my own routes.
10. Because when I finished the PCT I was afraid I would never do anything like it again.
I’m excited to embark on another long-distance adventure. I’m also anxious about things that could go wrong: injury, high snow in the San Juans, what if I don’t even like walking that much anymore? My trail partner from the PCT reminded me that the things I loved about the PCT are a big part of what’s drawing me to the CDT, and I know the trail is where I want to be.
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