Hiker Intro: How I Became a Metalhead Hiker and Why I’m Hiking The Colorado Trail/CDT

How I Got Into Hiking

Hello fellow hikers, my name is Chris, aka Slowride.  I’ve been hiking steadily in recent years and I’m ready to take it to the next level.  Although I’ve been on some overnights and longer day hikes, this will be my first thru hike.

Technically, I’ve been hiking since I was a little kid. I grew up in northern Arizona, so I was always outside hanging out with friends. exploring the desert.  My parents also made it a point to get me outside and away from the television and video games.   Being into outdoor activities since I was young, getting into hiking, backpacking just came naturally.

Like a lot of young people, I hit a rough patch in my 20’s.  A friend of mine suggested just getting back outside, going for hikes.  It made a world of difference and became my favorite hobby by a long shot.  Eventually, I discovered more trails, acquired more gear, and really got into it.  It really made me feel good and changed my mentality and perspective.

  Why I Hike

Picking one reason why I hike is hard for me. It’s kind of a combination of things.   Mostly, though, it just feels good and it’s pretty cool to just walk through trees and by rivers.  The views, too, of course. It’s also a great form of exercise and I was tired of lifting weights to stay in shape.   Hiking is also infinitely better than a treadmill.

That’s a superficial answer, though.  Hiking means a lot to me because it means freedom.  Having not been able to walk before due to leg surgery, hiking means independence.  Being able to walk, hike, and be outdoors has more meaning because I’ve had the ability to walk taken away.

Hiking became a hobby that helped me turn my life around, as well. It gave me a direction, literally. This new activity gave me something to focus on that changed the entire way I think.

   Nothing Destroys The Metal

At the beginning of my senior year of high school, I injured my left leg.  Goofing around at the gym after school, I jumped up and landed on it wrong. Really wrong. The resulting doctor’s visits revealed a tumor on my femur bone and some fractures and sprains.  Every part of my left leg hurt.   After the surgery, I had to use crutches for nearly 5 months, right up to a week before graduation.  My leg was now filled with metal screws and plates holding my knee area together.

Every night while doing homework into the wee hours, I had music on.  My walkman always had a hard rock or heavy metal cd in it. Headphones on, music going late into the night, it seemingly took the pain away.

As an ode to my favorite genre of music, I always have at least one shirt in my hiker attire. It just kind of reminds me to stay with it and keep going.

Why I Chose to Hike The Colorado Trail…and Some of the CDT

Among other reasons for choosing the Colorado Trail is its proximity to home. It’s very close to where I live, so some of the logistical issues take care of themselves.  From the 2 places I’ve been on the Colorado Trail, it’s also visually stunning.   The distance is also perfect for my first thru hike.

Hiking on the Continental Divide Trail before the Colorado Trail allows an early start a bit south of the CT. Desert hiking before the heat hits and biding my time until more snow melts is a win. Post-Colorado Trail, my intentions are to hike on the CDT north to the Wyoming border.

Well, that’s about all I’ve got for now.  I’m really looking forward to sharing my first thru hike and can’t wait to get on the trail.

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Comments 1

  • pearwood : Apr 7th

    Go for it, Chris!
    I understand the part about coming back after surgery. I had major surgery in August 2019 to clean out an infected disk. Surgeon says I’m good to go. I’m planning on hitting the AT NOBO next February.


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