I am currently writing this in route to the southern terminus of the Continental Divide Trail!! Whaaaaaat. Tomorrow morning I begin the ~3,800 mile, 5-month expedition to Kakwa Provincial Park in central Canada. The gratitude is real, and I’m stoked to share the journey.
Oooooof. Like after meal-comparable appetizers before an AYCE buffet, I’m not my strongest heading into what’s next, but I feel stretched and ready to crack the whip to maximize my full potential.
Physically, my body is accustomed to rolling chairs and neighborhood walks. Emotionally, my heart is in Austin with my best friends. Mentally, I’m looping through itemized to-do lists, resupply strategies, and updated avalanche conditions.
I’m tired. This is going to be GOOD, but I’m tired starting out, and I’m understanding that is okay.
ICYMI : The route
My route exists in the link of two scenic trails, the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) and Canada’s Great Divide Trail (GDT).
Together, the 3,800 mile route hugs the spine of the Rockies through New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, British Columbia, and Alberta. If all goes as planned, I will also add an alternate on Wyoming’s Wind River High Route.
Those familiar with any of the above places understand the grandeur I’m heading into - this is truly the creme de la creme of alpine Wilderness.
How is it different than the PCT? Pretty dang different. More on this in later posts, but the PCT has black bears and the CDT/GDT has Grizzlies. ‘Nough said.
If you’d like to follow the journey, you can catch real-time action on Instagram.
Gear for the journey
My “Gear” page still isn’t up yet (my bad!), but I have had a few questions about my set-up.
Real talk: 3,800 miles is a TRIP. To go the distance, my gear has evolved from a 28 lb base weight to one that’s sub-10.
To make this happen, I got creative in 3 main ways:
Ditched the tent: I’ve traded a tent for Kammok’s latest UL Tarp. Even with those temperamental Rocky Mountain showers, this tarp is the way. to. go. It’s only 10 oz (a whopping 2.5 lb lighter than my starting shelter for the PCT).
Got strategic with insulation: As an alternative to a traditional sleeping bag, I’m gear testing a 20 oz, 15° UL quilt due out this fall. This will be Kammok’s third addition to their Trail Quilt lineup. It is AWESOME, and it will be even better after trying it out on trail.
Convinced myself cold ramen is A OK: A cringe-worthy move for those wanting steaming coffee or a hot dinner, I’ve (purposefully) left my stove at home. I will be cold soaking all of my meals, a rehydration method used by some hikers to save weight. Lukewarm couscous, let’s go!
Because of the cut weight and volume, I’ll be rocking a Gossamer Gear Kumo 36L pack. This is half the size of my first Osprey backpack, ha!
In choosing to thru-hike the CDT to the GDT, I kept a steady pulse on my motivation. Am I seeking the Triple Crown of hiking (PCT/AT/CDT) or the completion of a cool project? Am I trying to recreate my expedience on the PCT? Do I even want to do this?
Here’s where I’ve (currently) landed:
The world of long-distance hiking gathers all types of individuals on trail. While thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, my community was diverse, reflective of the uniting force of choosing wilderness. My new friends consisted of lawyers and climbers. Grandparents and teens. Those seeking life-change and others welcoming it with open hands, all migrating north on a 2,650 mile journey to Canada.
Trail just feels like home. Time slows, and suddenly simple activities such as walking and sleeping become catalysts for growth and reflect my decision to actually live outside for 5-6 months.
It’s difficult to articulate my motivation for this thru-hike. It lays somewhere between a simple love for hiking and a beyond-language understanding of the pushing comfort zones with others. It’s the slow, sore starts and nights spent cowboy camping under the canopy of Cosmos. It’s the stories I can’t wait to share, and the ones I don’t know how to. It’s all of that (and more).
Tomorrow morning I will push off from the Mexico border to hike 27 miles North. I’ll do the same on Tuesday, Wednesday, and every day after, until October.
This season, I invite you to spend time outside with me. Get the feet muddy, and then rub some dirt in it. Bike to work. Sleep somewhere new. Hang your hammock in a dream spot. Camp on a week day. Take pride in every mile and minute spent outdoors this summer, and invite others in to experience it with you.
Annnnd let’s have some fun, yeah?
Happy trails, gang!
Andrew “Peanut” Glenn