Woooooo boy! We are BACK IN ACTION, folks. At 7:30am on Monday, April 22nd, I pushed off from the Mexico border to begin an incredible multi-month expedition to Canada.
The past five days on the Continental Divide Trail have been some of my favorite, yet most aggressive days of hiking yet.
At a 29.1 mile/day average, I believe this is the most amount of miles I’ve ever done in five days, and man oh man. I’m paying for it. I’m taking my first Zero* of trail, poster up at the Drifter Motel in Silver City, NM. My ankle resembles a small balloon, but it will allllll be okay. I’m surrounded by friends new and old, and my heart is leaping.
As I write this, I’m a little disappointed in my lack of writing and photo capturing in this first stretch of trail. I’ll chalk it up to walking 12 hours a day, and intentionally resting the other 12... but, still. I’ll get better.
Regardless, here’s a brief update!
THIS TRAIL IS AMAZING.
As I expressed on IG, in the back of my brain, I had a slight worry I’d adapt to trail life again and really hate it. “Maybe the PCT was a one-off. Are you reeeeeally built the CDT? You’ll probably wish you were back home,” my brain told me last week.
Fortunately for my next five months, that’s not the case. Every moment out here is a gift, and the trail is teaching me all of her ways. Even when she disappears for a few miles. 🤷♂️
Up until mile 100, the trail was more of a route. I followed cairns through open, rocky desert for days, and had little single track trail (which is a respite for hikers, allowing for a steady pace and high mile days). In this section, I only saw a few other hikers — on my first day, I didn’t see a single other thru-hiker. On my second, I saw three. By day three, the total number was at seven. This is true, true desert with water sources either provided by the Continental Divide Trail Coalition at a few different water caches orrrrr in cow troughs. No natural water sources yet. Just cacti and dead cows (no, really).
For reference, on the PCT I saw over 100 people on my first day. As I’ve said before, this is a whole different ballgame.
I was lonely on trail. The solitude was refreshing and needed, and it definitely helped resharpen my senses. But. There was something Bigger at work, knowing just what I needed.
While topping off on food in Lordsburg, a hiker named Nomad approached me at a restaurant having recognized me from one of Gossamer Gear’s posts. We quickly became pals, and he introduced me to his crew, Rattles (his wife) and Ricky Bobby. They are all pulling for their Triple Crown this year! Incredible people.
Like a new kid to school, I nervously asked if I could hike out with them. They graciously said yes, and we were a team. Heading out of town, I was inches from stepping on a Rattlesnake. This was one of the scariest moments of my hiking career. Rattles and I danced and hollered (okay, I squealed). The snake was PISSSSED and held striking position until we hiked a good bit away. Oof.
Following mile 100, the trail turned into single track goodness. And it turns out my new friends and I hike the same pace, which is a DREAM and an answered prayer.
The trail even went up to 8,000 feet, where we enjoyed crazy views, big trees, and plants that don’t put up a fight.
Every year, current and former hikers gather to celebrate trail at Trail Days. This event happens on all three National Scenic Trails, and this weekend happened to be CDT Days, hosted in Silver City (the town we just hiked into). This event brought SO many friends together. If you followed along my PCT ‘17 journey, you’ll recognize some of my trail family (Bamboo, Unger, and Neon) in the photos below. My friend Blue drove in from El Paso with her doggo Burley to provide trail magic and love on some hikers. It worked.
I also caught up to my girl Giggles! In case you missed it, she and I will he linking up to hike the GDT together! We’ll also ski the San Juan’s if conditions call for it. She’s amazing.
Y’all. Good gosh, this trail is INCREDIBLE. My heart is grateful, even if my ankle is the size of a small cow. This next stretch will be very remote through the Gila River, and at the end of it my MOM will be waiting in Pie Town! I am so, so stoked.
Anyways, thanks for following this little journey and for providing unending support. I promise next post will have quite a few more photos and organized thoughts, trail willing!
Until next time,
P.S. In case you missed it, I wrote some words for Kammok this week! Check it out here.
* A Zero is a day where you hike zero miles.