Continental Divide Trail – 2020
Embrace the What?!
Embrace the brutality!
Yep, I said it. Of all the trails that make up the Triple Crown of thru-hiking, the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) is supposedly the most “brutal.” At the long end of 57 and 60 years of age, that is what my husband and I plan to do. Thru-hike the CDT this year.
This trail stretches +/- 3,000 miles, with a smorgasbord of terrain and “approved” routes that allow you to “pick your adventure,” which more often than not is weather dependent, or driven. What is great about this trail is that there is apparently no “wrong” way to hike the CDT (unless of course you hitch a good portion of the road walks aplenty). CDT thru-hikers complete the trail, one of three ways: NOBO, SOBO, or SNO-BO (those who skip around the bulk of the snowy terrain and return to finish those sections; usually the High Route of the San Juan mountain range in Colorado, when conditions are not so dicey).
Initially, my husband wasn’t a fan of thru-hiking the CDT. Countless times he has told me, “Until someone describes the CDT as fun, there’s no point thru-hiking it.” Frankly, if it wasn’t for YouTube vloggers and The Trek contributors, I don’t think I would have been able to convince my husband (Just Paul) to do this trail, and be as “game” for embracing the brutality. The fact that I told him that I was going to do the CDT either with him walking with me, or as my trail angel, might have been a bit of a motivator too.
Aren’t You a Little Old for This $#^+?
Old? Who us? The operative word is “old.” Now in our “younger” years, we thought people our age had one foot practically in the grave. Can you believe that? We, however, are now firm believers that until BOTH feet are IN the grave, one is NEVER too “old.” Granted, this won’t be our first “rodeo.”
In 2014, we thru-hiked the PCT. We will admit, however, that it’s been awhile since we’ve hiked something this challenging for an extended period of time. While it’s been five years since we’ve done the PCT, the draw of thru-hiking has not waned.
We’ve completed significantly shorter hikes, like the Camino de Santiago, the Chilkoot trail, Mount Whitney (via a western approach) and Half Dome (via Cathedral Lake route), to name a few. We have, for a lack of a better term, been “snakebit” by long-distance backpacking, and specifically thru-hiking. With many other adventures in-between, it’s time for another thru-hike.
After careful deliberation we have chosen the CDT, cognizant that our window of “opportunity” to tax our bodies like this shrinks with each passing season. We are also aware that we, in fact, are older than the majority of those who embark upon a thru-hike of this magnitude and difficulty, but we are confident in our abilities and drive.
We are mostly prepared. Our gear is in the final collection/selection stage, and we are working out some body kinks. We launch on this adventure mid-April. Until then, we will be training diligently on the hills behind our house.
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