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.

Just Paul atop Mount Whitney, after our three-day “leisurely” western route to the summit in June 2016.

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.

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 8

  • David Odell : Feb 22nd

    Good luck on your CDT hike this year. Will be looking forward to following your journal.

    David Odell AT71 PCT72 CDT77

    • Dee : Feb 22nd

      Thank you. I hope you’ll enjoy our exploits. It’s quite the honor and motivator, coming from an ORIGINAL Triple Crowner. With that in mind we will keep our whining about trail conditions to a minimum.

  • Tosha Kowalski : Feb 22nd

    Dee! I love this so much. Good luck and hopefully I’ll see you guys out there!! ~ ODR

    • Dee : Feb 22nd

      Thank you. Hope to see you as well.

  • Michael : Feb 23rd

    Looking forward to the stories and count me as a trail angel!!

    • Dee : Feb 23rd

      We will hold you to it…that’s for sure!

  • Richard Guenther : Apr 7th

    This is great to see, though I assume your hike is on hold due to coronavirus. I am 59 and was scheduled to start my AT thru hike this week. Your point about the decline in the number of seasons that you are going to physically be able to do this kind of thing. That is one of the reasons why I retired early. One good thing about the quarentining going on is I have watched a number of videos about thru hikes and can’t wait to do more after I complete the AT! Best of luck on all of your hiking adventures and may we be able to get out again soon!

    • OneSpeed : Apr 9th

      Having both our respective thru-hikers on “hold” is somewhat problematic for us in our “golden years”. While all our friends were adventuring in their 20’s we were working, which allowed us to retire “early” as well. I dare say that if we had discovered thru-hiking in our youth, we would have been “ruined”, and become world wandering nomads. Somehow, someway we are going to minimally get a portion of the CDT done this season…we can only hope and plan. I hope you are able to do so as well on the AT. As you are well aware…the clock is ticking. Hope to meet up on trail sometime.


What Do You Think?