I’ve decided. I’m going to through-hike the Continental Divide Trail from Mexico to Canada starting April 30 at the Crazy Cook monument in the boot-heel of New Mexico. If I can average 21 miles per day, I’ll finish in mid-September.
The CDT is different in several important respects than other long-distance trails I’ve hiked. First, the trail is often poorly marked or even lacking a well-defined tread. In the past, CDT hikers would spend several hours each day scratching their heads wondering where the trail went. Now, the Guthook CDT cell phone app makes finding the trail much easier but still not completely routine. Second, the trail passes through remote country. Cell phone coverage is spotty. Third, many fewer people hike the CDT than the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail. Solo hikers, like me, comment that the CDT can be a lonely place. But maybe I’ll find a compatible hiking partner this time.
I’ve also decided to attend Trail Days in Silver City, NM, before I start hiking. This celebration is sponsored by the Continental Trail Divide Coalition during the last weekend in April. I’ll fly from Denver to Albuquerque on Thursday, April 26, and rendezvous will fellow hiker Rob at the ABQ airport. We’ll drive four hours to Silver City. I assume that Trail Days will be something like the former ADZPCTKO (Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick-Off) at mile 21 of the PCT in southern California—but with fewer people. It will be nothing like Trail Days in Damascus, VA, on the Appalachian Trail with up to 20,000 revelers in a town of 800 residents. I plan to camp at the Silver City RV Park, where Betsy and I camped this past September on our Southern Tier bike trip.
On Sunday, April 29, I’ll hitchhike 42 miles on State Highway 90 to Lordsburg, NM, on Interstate 10. At 6:30 a.m. the next morning, I’ll be at the Econo Lodge in Lordsburg with other hikers to catch the shuttle for a three-hour ride to the southern terminus of the CDT. I’ll walk 85 miles back to Lordsburg for my first resupply then north for 80 miles to Silver City for my second resupply. And so it will go for 3,000 miles to the Canadian border at Glacier National Park.
Along the way, I‘ll walk through Colorado on portions of the Colorado Trail, which I hiked in 2009 and 2011. If the snow cover in the San Juan Mountains allows, I’ll hike past the point on the Colorado Trail where I got drenched in a thunderstorm in 2009.