CDT Conclusions

My hike on the CDT was not what I expected or even what I would have chosen for myself, had I the power to arrange all events and hiking conditions.  But, I guess with that kind of control, I wouldn’t have had much of an adventure. 

And so, just as it was, there are many things I take away from the hike: 

Gratitude over support from family/friends.  This was a very challenging hike at times, and I often made decisions to skip parts of the trail and ultimately, to leave the trail early.  I was grateful to have family/friends to call when I was coming to terms with changing my original plans, and was also touched when friends/family and others following my journey voiced support for my decisions which valued safety over achievement.

Gratitude for the kindness of strangers along the way.  Whether trail maintainers, trail angels, strangers who stopped to give me a ride into town, or strangers who saw my pack and asked me about the trip, there were many locals along the way who supported my trip.  I’ll always remember the town tailor in Lander, who rode his bike back to his house, from his stand in town during a climbing festival, in order to gather supplies to fix my tent.  It was quite generous.  I’m thankful for all who played a part in my hike, both those I met and those who remain unknown but appreciated.  

New landscapes.  Anyone who has hiked the CDT will mention the remote, expansive landscapes, and the opportunity to see wildlife, like pronghorns, running across remote habitats.  I will carry some of those views with me for the rest of my life.

“Wild West” history and culture.  Eating with ranchers, observing a cattle drive, learning more about gold mining, wagon trains, the Native Americans who lived here, small western town culture today.  All rounded out the hiking experience and added to my limited knowledge of this swath of the country.

A character building experience.  The trip was nothing if not an exercise in adaptability and making my own decisions, independent of what the hikers around me were doing, whether foregoing a snowy traverse or hiking lower routes to avoid weather exposure.  

Ultimately, peace.  I recognize my good fortune and blessing in the fact that I was able to hike these three trails (Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and a large chunk of the Continental Divide).  There’s a common understanding that once you hike one or two, it’s difficult to stop there.  I’m glad I was able to see all three, and satisfy the dreams I had to experience each of them.  

I’m also glad I hiked on the CDT as the final of the three- I often felt a yearning for the thru hiking lifestyle, after returning home from the first two trails.  After a more challenging experience on the CDT, I find great peace and appreciation, at least for now, for home and all that my home place has to offer.  

Further takeaways yet unrecognized.  No doubt the experience has impacted who I am and decisions yet to come, as a positive force, I’d like to believe.  For one thing, the time that one has for self-reflection on a long hike such as this one is invaluable.

I hope that this blog has given readers an idea of what it might be like to set off on a hike on the Continental Divide Trail.  Thanks to all who have supported me in pursuing this particular dream, and cared about how it was going for me.

Happy Trails to you in your own hikes to come, whether a literal hike or a different kind of endeavor, 

Katie/ “Old Soul”

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Comments 12

  • Jeffrey Peté : Sep 2nd

    I understand the attraction of long hikes as a way to focus life. They are only a metaphor for the greater journey of life itself. Every day we are exposed to something new and worthy of our notice. If we expose our vulnerability and our interest there will always be people that will help. Keep yourself awake to the moment and you will find the moments always have something to offer

    • Katie Eckman : Sep 4th

      Well said. Thank you for your comments, Jeffrey.

  • Efrain Cardoza : Sep 3rd

    First of all thank you for sharing your experience.
    This was a life changing journey that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
    I wish you nothing but the best as you continue thru life.

    • Katie Eckman : Sep 4th

      Thank you for your comments along the way! And thank you for the blessings.

  • Ruth Anne Collins : Sep 3rd

    So proud of you, Katie! What an epic adventure! Happy to know you are safe at home these days. Sounds like you learned a lot about yourself on this trek, and sounds like you are glad of your accomplishment as well. Kudos! The photos you have posted have let me know I definitely want to see these places, but perhaps via a car camping trip!

    • Katie Eckman : Sep 4th

      So nice to know you were following, Ruth Anne! Thank you for caring and your kind comments! Blessings.

  • ELS : Sep 3rd

    Great job Katie! I’ve thought from reading the blogs that the CDT is a trail unto itself. Glad you experienced it but finished when you were ready. Enjoy being at home and thinking about your next adventure!

    • Katie Eckman : Sep 4th

      Thank you! Thank you for reading, and your comments along the way!

  • Scott "Voyageur" Piddington : Sep 5th

    Congratulations Old Soul!
    A fantastic adventure of about 1,960 miles. Everyday the trail presents us with tough choices and whichever path we take has to be the right one. It’s so great that you got to experience the Wind River Range. Your writing here is wonderful and the photos you chose to post are just great.
    “The road ahead leads on and on to where many paths and errands meet.” -Bilbo- JRR Tolkien

    • Katie : Sep 8th

      “…whichever path we take has to be the right one”. Thanks Voyageur! I love that, I’ll put that line in my book of good quotes.

      Thanks for taking the time to read through my posts, and your kind words! I’m honored myself!

      I’ll be in touch!


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