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Snorkel - Continental Divide Trail Journal - 2010

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Begins: Jun 25, 2010
Direction: Southbound

Daily Summary
Date: Thu, Jun 24th, 2010
Start: Newark, NJ
End: West Glacier, MT
Daily Distance: 0

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 591
Journal Visits: 5,047
Guestbook Views: 159
Guestbook Entrys: 0

Gear list

Continental Divide Trail Map

Can you take a potty trowel as carry-on?

For those of you wondering whether ULA Potty Trowels can go on flights as carry-on, the answer is maybe. Frogs and I spent the night in the Newark, NJ airport, which surprisingly lacks the all-the-time activity you'd expect from an airport that close to NYC. All the check-in counters were closed. Yes, Newark sleeps at night--except for an incessant fire-alarm that went off every 5 minutes between the hours of 2 am and 4 am which made it impossible for thru-hikers to sleep on the bumpy chairs! Tired, and with no desire to pay for check-in bags, we were first in line for security(it opens at 4:30 am). Strapped to the back of my pack, I put my pack and trowel on the conveyor belt, willing to take the risk.

I quickly went through the gate, trying to look confident, and to my surprise, the trowel went through the x-ray machine all right. I was free to go to the gate, potty trowel in hand! Frogs, my hiking partner turned boyfriend, got stopped for having tent poles. While I was waiting for TSA to manhandle our ultralight gear ("Sir, do not touch the item."), the TSA lady discovered my Potty Trowel peaking out from behind my pack.

"Is that one of those rock climbing things?" she asked, horrified that I would bring a sharp weapon onto the plane. "No, it's a potty trowel! You're not supposed to use it for that." It took about 5 TSA guys 15 minutes and multiple trips through the X-ray machine to determine whether indeed it could go through. Finally, a man came up to me and said, "This can't go on," and I was escorted back to the entrance--completely unable to touch my ice axe, even to pack it into a backpack so I could check it in.

Frustrated, I spent ten minutes trying to get the potty trowel in my backpack, but it was too long. I imagined the sharp handle piercing my backpack during the flights. Visions of starting the trail with a gaping hole in my pack, items falling out and water and snow creeping in, crossed my snorkelly mind. I I ended up wrapping it in a garbage bag and shipping it off, signing away my right to sue Delta if it was destroyed at all.

Thus began our flight to Kalispell and the 40 hours of sleeplessness that got us to West Glacier, MT.


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Snorkel's CDT 2010

The Continental Divide Trail is a national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada via New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. This unfinished trail can potentially span up to 3,100 miles. Learn more:


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