Next Trail

“I have a cunning plan”

Finishing the Appalachian Trail in 2012 was a thrill, but what is next? If health is good, yours truly would like to begin a long thru-hike, possibly on the PCT, to celebrate my sixtieth birthday in five years. Until then I want to continue some long hikes, so I turn my attention to the Continental Divide Trail.

I have looked at the CDT before and just shake my head– I simply do not have the technical skills or physical ability for a through-hike of such a challenging trail. But recently it hit me: The CDT runs through four states, similar lengths in each state. Why not do each state in order, one per year? I could start in New Mexico the first year, the state in which I reside, so the logistics would not be too bad. Hiking the first state would give me skills and confidence to try the next state, and so on. Finally, the fourth year in Montana I would be ready to cope with grizzlies, the requirement to reserve campsites in Glacier on specific dates, using an ice axe, and a really really really remote trail far from civilization.

CDT map
Continental Divide Trail (credit Wikimedia Commons)

Splitting the trail into four sections also means I will be away from home for less than two months at a time, which is less irritating to Base Support (spousal unit).

So, time to start planning CDT2013! (Or possibly 2014.) I want to use ultra-light gear, but expect to carry several liters of water at times because water sources are scarce and unreliable in southern New Mexico, so my Murmur pack is too small. And the trail is often not well marked compared to the AT, so I need a good solution for navigation. So much to consider. Exciting!

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