Preparation for the CDT, Colorado to Montana

Preparation for the CDT, Colorado to Montana

Embarking on a three-month long-distance hike entails considerable planning. As I gear up to hike the Continental Divide Trail from Silverthorne, Colo. to the Montana-Canada border, I'm in full-preparation mode.

My pre-hike planning usually falls into three categories:

  1. Conditioning — both physical and mental
  2. Logistics — such as resupply locations and permits in Yellowstone and Glacier national parks
  3. Gear — for example, does my inflatable sleeping pad still hold air?
alan carpenter continental divide trail

Filling five boxes for my first weeks on the Continental Divide Trail, starting July 1. Alan Carpenter photo.

In mid-March while shoveling snow, I tweaked my back and injured the piriformis muscle in my right hip. Physical therapy sessions have just about fixed that problem. This week, I made my first longish training hike (16.3 miles) with a full pack, gaining 3,400 feet of elevation. In spite of being pooped at the end, I feel I’ll be ready to start hiking on July 1.

Mentally, I think I've convinced my brain that I can hike all the way to Canada.

After lots of pondering, I’ve got my resupply plans sorted out. Due to COVID-19, I plan to go into town as little as possible. Happily, my wife Betsy will meet me a several places along the trail with food boxes (and her most-welcome company). I bought food today for my first five food boxes, which I’ll retrieve at various spots in Colorado and Wyoming.

As of yesterday, my gear situation looks to be mostly settled. However, after my long training hike, I noticed yesterday a slight tear where the left side of my hip belt attaches to my pack. I’ll sew that up before I leave.

So, with my July 1 start date looming, my to-do list of small tasks looks manageable. I’m excited and feel fortunate that I’m able to continue my long-distance hiking adventures.


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