The B-52s sing “Roam, if you want to.” And I do! I am down to just over a month before I fly west to begin my next adventure and I.can’t.wait!!! I feel like a kid waiting to go to Disney. My long anticipated adventure is starting soon and I am just zinging with excitement! At the same time, I want to savor the last weeks with my family and students, because I know I will really miss them.  In the next weeks, I have visits with two of my three adult children and their families (the third adult kid lives overseas). I also have meetups with friend groups, a crafting weekend with the women in my extended family, a few more tutoring sessions, and a few more knitting classes for a complicated sweater I’m making for post-hike.

Resupply strategies

Resupply options in NM.

Regardless, I still have so much left to do to prepare for this hike. The CDT is much more remote than the AT, so resupply strategies need to be more carefully planned. Along the AT, you went through or near a town every 3 to 4 days and could usually get enough food for the next section, even if it was an expensive convenience store with minimal resupply available. You could still find ramen, snack bars, candy, instant rice, and the like at every stop. Towns are fewer and further apart on the CDT. Sometimes, you pass a convenience store or tourist souvenir shop with only candy bars and soda. Additionally, road crossings are less frequent and more sparsely traveled, so getting a ride to town can be more challenging. And, the nearest town is often 20 or more miles from the trailhead. It all adds up to logistical nightmare.

On the AT, I got away with carrying just a few days food at a time. On the CDT, I have 5-7 day food carries, with many miles to get to the next potential resupply. In my tentative hiking plans on those numerous spreadsheets, it looks like the longest distances will be upwards of 150 miles. I’m going to have to book it to get to the next town! Because my food and water carries will be longer, and therefore heavier, I have reduced my pack weight as much as possible. More on that later.

I have taken notes on which towns have good resupply options, based on hiker surveys, books, and FarOut comments. I’ve also noted which restaurants are “must eats” according to these sources. I found on the AT that I ate around 3000-3500 calories on trail, but upwards of 6000 calories in town. Every time I stopped in town, I ate every meal like it was Thanksgiving, busting my gut until it was nearly painful. Then eating that much again as soon as I had room in my stomach. I plan to use this strategy on this hike, too. Plus, I will carry out fresh food as much as possible for the first day back on trail each time. Since I’ll be eating it all before dark, I won’t need to worry about space for it in my bear can.

Mail drops

Resupply and gear ready to drop into boxes and mail.

Last weekend, I visited my daughter and brought supplies and gear for her to mail to me along the way. We organized the supplies and gear into 5 shipments based on when I think I may need them. As I hike, we will talk a few times to determine precisely where she should send the next box, and what I anticipate needing. Even my grandson got involved and helped distribute high-calorie snacks into each bag. My daughter is so organized and did an amazing job on this task for my AT hike.

From what I’ve read in hiker surveys, books, and blogs, many thru-hikers utilize mail drops as part of their resupply strategies. If you followed me on my AT blog, you may remember that I used that strategy and put it on steroids. I’m planning the same for this hike, of course. Not only will my daughter be sending resupply and gear, but I will also receive care packages from other family members and friends, just like I did on the AT. When I first announced my plan to hike the CDT via social media, several people who had supported my AT hike with care packages immediately commented or messaged me to let me know that they wanted to support this endeavor, too. A few others who didn’t get to support my AT hike also asked to help this time.

I feel so loved! I know from my last thru-hike that these packages and the accompanying notes are a big motivator for me. When I know I have a package waiting at the next town, I can’t wait to see what they sent. Likewise, I know my aunt is planning a box for me, so I don’t want to bail hundreds of miles before she, or anyone else, sends their package. So, I’m motivated by the promise of a package up ahead. And after I open the package, I am encouraged by the kindness and thoughtfulness that was put into compiling the package. The notes they send are the best part. I carry them with me for hundreds of miles before putting them in my bounce box. I pull these out to reread for encouragement when I hit tough times on the trail or really anytime I want a little boost to my spirits. (I still have all of my letters and notes from the AT and love looking back at them.)

I have a bounce box ready to go, as well. This will hold extra vitamins, toothpaste tablets, extra journals, and other small consumables that I don’t want to carry hundreds of at a time. It will also have maps for upcoming sections, nail clippers, ear buds (for music in town), and other items like that which I won’t need on trail, but would be helpful in town.


Snow-covered rail trail

When I prepared for the AT, I did a several shakedown hikes in the year prior to test my gear, foods, and routines. I really didn’t do any other physical training, though. Even though the CDT is supposed to physically less challenging than the AT, according to several people I talked to and books I’ve read, I am training rather intensely this time. I meet with a personal trainer at the Y twice a week with the express goal of getting stronger and more fit for this journey. She knows I will be taking on this challenge and works with me on strength, flexibility, and balance to help me prepare.

I’ve been hiking with the intent of building endurance. I wrote more about that on my last post. And I’m taking long walks on the local rail trail several times each week. The trail has a long, gradual elevation change that seems to mimic the elevation change in the first part of New Mexico. Two of the walks each week are after my workouts with my trainer, so my muscles are warmed up, but also slightly tired. I figure that’s good practice for hiking every day. My goal each week is to increase mileage so that when I leave, I am walking at least 12 miles at a go. All these miles without dropping below 3 miles/hour pace. I know that when I get to New Mexico, I will have to hit the ground running to cover the miles so I finish before Glacier closes. Additionally, I’m hoping to prevent an overuse injury by hiking too far, too quickly.


I find it difficult to put my emotions into words as I get ready, but I’ll try. I’m thrilled. I’m terrified. I’m ready. I’m in over my head. When I stop to think and feel, I’m all over the map. I can’t wait to see the night sky in the desert. I can’t wait to hike and camp in new climates. I can’t wait to hike through this part of the country. I’m terrified of the distances between water and resupplies. I’m terrified of the remoteness. I’m looking forward to the solitude and challenges. I’m worried I’m biting off more than I can chew with this trail. I’m excited for the wildlife of all sizes that I’ll see. I’m worried about potentially dangerous encounters with wildlife of all sizes. Mostly, I’m zinging about all of it. Everything. All the time. And I know that it will be here in the blink of an eye and be over before I’m ready, but at the same time, well-beyond when I want to be home to my family. It’s quite the dichotomy.

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