Final Leg of the Three-Year Triple Crown
What is up TREK people? I am Kevin, AKA Space Jam, and this summer I will be tackling the CDT to complete my Triple Crown in a quick three year time span. I know this isn’t as impressive as a Calendar-Triple but I am still pretty stoked to be able to make it happen. I love thru-hiking but also like taking my time and enjoying it. I also haul 3.5lbs of camera gear so that slows me down quite a bit. I’ll touch more on that on my next gear post. I am thankful for my friends and family who have remained by my side and helped out with things as I peace out for 5-6 months for the third year in a row.
My first thru-hike was the Appalachian Trail in 2017, April 6th through September 15th. I was the typical NOBO hiker who began the trail hiking solo but met tons of amazing friends along the journey which included two off trail vacations. I would link up with a few different trail families or form a rag-tag team of solo-hikers before we would split up for various reasons. Then in 2018 I conquered the PCT with my amazing girlfriend, Sea Lion, spanning May 7th through September 28th. Around Wrightwood (369 miles in) we formed a trail family with a hilarious crew that lasted the remaining 2,200 miles together. The two experiences were different but both very rewarding and in each case I loved the social aspect of the trails. Almost every thru-hiker has the same laid back and fun loving personality. Side note, here is some proof of my escapades:
However, this year on the CDT, I will be a dirty southbounder. Those of you already familiar with the hiking community know that there is a friendly rivalry between NOBOs and SOBOs and even before setting foot on trail some of my hiking buddies have been giving me shit. This year, my direction was just the way the cookie crumbled. First off, I had too many life things to wrap up before quitting life for 5 months to go hike (buying a car with Sea Lion, moving cross-country from Colorado to Maryland, getting my house rented, moving my step mom to her new home, squaring away health insurance, and the list goes on) The more I thought about it the less upset I became about being a SOBO because I realized that going southbound will provide a new destination, gunning for the Mexican border instead of the Canadian border. I will also be hitting Colorado when the Aspen trees are exploding with their yellow foliage instead of hiking the state as the 300% average snowfall continues to melt.
The price to pay will be solitude. I believe this will be the biggest challenge for me. On both the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail, there are about 4,000 hikers each year attempting a full thru-hike but only a mere 10% of those being SOBOs. The CDT has been growing in popularity but is still by far the least populated long trail. According to the CDT Coalition, only 85 people successfully completed a thru-hike in 2018 and most likely only a handful of them were SOBOs. Compare that to the 1000+ finishers on the other trails. Yikes. Anyways. Moving forward. Right now the plan is to take about a week-long to road trip to Glacier NP with my lovely girlfriend, Sea Lion, and begin the trail somewhere around June 23-25th. She is going to live in Austin, Texas for the summer and meet me for some sections hikes here and there. I have a wedding on August 31st that I plan to fly home for and another wedding on October 19th that Sea Lion and I will drive home for. Then we will get packed up for another winter in the Rockies being ski bums, drive out to Breckenridge by November 1st to start a lease, and then she will drop me off to finish whatever remains of the CDT. I just wanted to toss this post up to introduce myself and promise that my future posts will be more picture-ey and less wordy.
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