CONTINENTAL DIVIDE TRAIL
The Continental Divide Trail(CDT) winds its way north from the Mexico border through New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. It encompasses 3,100 miles, but the mileage generally walked by thru-hikers is between 2,600-2,800 miles. Scenic highlights include the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, the Great Divide Basin of Wyoming, Yellowstone, the Bob Marshall Wilderness of Montana and Glacier National Park.
The miles in which I walked were far different than those of the other trails. They were longer, harder, lonelier. But the challenges always provided the fuel for the next footstep, as there was always a reward waiting around the corner—even if that corner was fifteen miles away. Personally, I don’t like to compare trails to one another because each is special in it’s own, unique way. But it must be said that the CDT was my favorite trail in regards to the three big trails of America (Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails being the others). It pushed me beyond what I thought was capable of, and amongst all the challenges, it pushed me to evolve as a person. To this day, I am still learning from that trail.
COLORADO: PART II
From June 20th through September 13th, I hiked the CDT solo. When I say solo, I mean solo. I met three other northbound thru-hikers: one I shared a campsite with while in Yellowstone NP for one night, one I met in a restaurant in Lima, Montana and conversed with for one night, and the third I hiked with for a mere few miles before getting separated at a creek crossing. (Long story short, there was a haze of mosquitos and a creek crossing and Handlebar had to unlace his bulky boots and I wasn’t sticking around in the swarm of blood-thirsty vampires. Did I think I’d never see him again? No. But this was the CDT and not a customary trail).
In years prior, I had never experienced such solitude. There’s a huge difference to be alone for a day, a few days, a week. But two and a half months spent solo is a lot of time by oneself. It’s a topic for a later time, no doubt. Regardless of the freedom and loneliness that entailed, the time spent by myself in the northern half of Colorado was superb. It’s something that I’ll never forget.
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