Logistics almost ruined my CDT hike

Going into the last leg of my Triple Crown, I wonder why I’m not feeling anything anymore.

In my first CDT blog, I wrote that I was scared of the CDT. Well, I used a clickbait title and wrote that there were a few things that I needed to be cautious about.

Now, I’m on a flight from London to Tucson via Atlanta, heading to start the CDT in a couple of days, and it feels strange.

I feel as though I’m on a commute to work.

I’ve been saying I was going to hike the Triple Crown for so long that it doesn’t feel like I’m on my way to the start of another life affirming six month adventure. I feel numb, and I’m not sure why.

Last week, while recording the latest episode of the Trail Therapy After Dark podcast, I explained to my co-host, Low Gear, that I had been looking forward to the CDT before I had ever step foot on any of the North American trails. I had deliberately planned to do the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail first in order to prepare me for what people were saying was the most difficult of the three hikes.

I think it this odd mood might be because I’ve hiked the two previously. The unknowns are far less than before. I’ve dealt with heat, snow, fires, river crossings, wind, rain, elevation, 9 day food carries, swimming through ice water, weird people on trail, less than desirable water sources, reroutes, and the rest. Maybe I’m not feeling the buzz of anticipation because the fact I’m finally starting this hike now, feels so long overdue.

Or, perhaps it’s due to doing the three hikes in three years. I might have reached a point where it feels like, “Another year, another thru-hike.”

No, that’s not it. I know exactly what it is. It’s because I haven’t had to plan for the unknown. With a first thru-hike, and to some extent, a second, we find ourselves nervous about what it will be like to live outside for so long. Will it be cold? Do I need all of the gadgets and tools I see on gear pages? Will I make friends? Will someone give me a trail name? What if this or that happens?

There are so many mysteries that we find ourselves obsessed with seeking knowledge from previous and experienced hikers.

This time around, I’ve only focused on the logistics. Flights, insurance, resupply strategy, have all been at the forefront of my planning. I already owned all of the gear I’m using on the CDT from the previous two long hikes.

I should be very much looking forward to starting this hike. I know how much fun, joy, and pride a long-distance hike brings. I know that I will love it, and although it’s going to be a gruelling challenge, I’m going to be so happy to be out there again. If I’m successful in completing the CDT, and my Triple Crown, it will be one of my biggest accomplishments. I know it will change my life and how I feel about myself.
I don’t know if there are many people outside of the hiking community that would understand why walking over 2000 miles isn’t just a dream for many. It’s a defining moment in our lives.

“But, why?” People ask us.
“I could never…” They say.

I can’t explain why. Maybe it’s that being out there, connected and silent in nature, with just enough home comforts to survive, but not too many to where we’re unable to lift our packs, helps us feel at peace. We can concentrate on some mundane things, like the next resupply, what we’ll eat in town, how many miles to camp, the distance to the next water source…
Perhaps the lack of burdens and stress helps us to focus on our mental health.

And yet, a thru-hike is no picnic. We all know that it’s tough, painful, exhausting, at times mentally taxing, and extremely difficult.

But maybe writing this blog is what I needed. I needed to acknowledge everything that was about to come. I needed to concentrate on the experience before me, instead of organising the preparation for it. I needed to take my mind off of logistics and way points, and instead focus on the reality of what a long-distance hike is.

I’m feeling better now. Not nervous or numb. Simply feeling a growing excitement. This is it. The start of another incredible adventure. The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, here I come. I hope I’m ready.

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Comments 1

  • Refill : May 2nd

    Don’t worry Dude. Honestly, I wasn’t even feeling much before my first hike last year. Sometimes we expect too much from our feelings. You go and get that crown after having amazing 6 months out there, son.
    Hike on.



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