Top 3 Questions Ordinary People Ask Me about the CDT

I don’t hang out with thru-hikers.  No one in my day-to-day circle has ever hiked the AT, PCT, or CDT from end to end, so the questions I am asked are pretty basic.  I’ve never been asked about what shoes I’m going to wear or what alternates am I going to take if/when there are forest fires.  Here are the top three questions I am asked when I tell ordinary people that I’m going to thru-hike the Continental Divide Trail:

Are you going alone? 

I thought this question was pretty stupid the first few times I was asked.  When I voiced my frustration to my wife, she enlighted me that people want to know if I’m going with a group of friends and that I should just answer that I’m going alone. So I answer yes, but I add that I expect to find a trail family of some sort along the way.  And while I look forward to that, I really look forward to the enormous amount of time I get to spend alone. 

Are your family and wife going along?

No.  I hope to bring them out once or twice to meet up, as I’d love for them to see Yellowstone or Glacier NP.  But my wife doesn’t go a day without a shower and my youngest kid hates hiking.  Leaving my family for a decent stretch is familiar after years of deployments and Air Force assignments away from my family. I use this question as an opportunity to share my aspiration to do something extraordinary at the end of my Air Force career. I tried to convince my family to take a year and drive around the country in an RV but they weren’t interested.  My kids didn’t like distance learning and my wife wasn’t up for the adventure. They’ve been nothing but supportive and know that this is an important milestone in my life.    

What about food?

 I love talking about logistics!  I think the average person thinks about Bear Grylls eating bugs or squeezing camel poop for water when they think of thru-hiking.  But the food situation is pretty straightforward.  You buy it at the towns you meander through along the trail or you have it sent to you along the way.  You can expect to resupply every 3-5 days.  I expect to lose weight on the trail, but I don’t expect it to be anything crazy. I’ve survived on Meals-Ready-To-Eat for weeks, so I’ll eat just about anything with no complaints.  Like most thru-hikers, I expect to be sick of peanut butter and granola bars by the time I’m done.  

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Comments 1

  • Chris Peterson : Dec 31st

    I live outside Glacier and have done a couple of 100-mile hikes through the Park and the Bob Marshall. If you need anything like decent food or a ride and I’m around, let me know. (I might be in the woods myself by the time you get here.) My only advice would be to come out the Belly River rather than Waterton. Good luck!


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