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Voyageur - Continental Divide Trail Journal - 2011

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Scott "Voyageur / Voyager" Piddington
City: Sanbornton
State: New Hampshire
Country: United States
Begins: Jul 13, 2011
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Sun, Mar 6th, 2011
Start: Sanbornton, New Hampshire

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 1,628
Journal Visits: 15,147
Guestbook Views: 695
Guestbook Entrys: 19

Continental Divide Trail Map

(Click image for full size)

Wyoming State Line - 11 days befor the end of chunk 1

And so it begins!

Two days ago the airline tickets were purchased. That is how it always begins. Until then an adventure is just a dream. It flips around in my head from yes to no but mostly maybe. Once the tickets a bought, the game is on. I'm psyched. While I was out on the CDT last summer, my thoughts were leaning to spending the summer of 2011 back at Hidden Valley working with the Valley Voyageurs program leading tens on week long backpacking trips. Well, actually following. We, staff, teach through many teachable moments with lots of Leave-No-Trace ethics thrown in. They, older scouts, lead. We follow. They make wrong turns. We follow. At the end of the day, we talk about it. It's great. There is no better way to really learn than to make mistakes. I've always liked this quote:

"To have a great adventure, and survive, requires good judgment. Good judgment comes from experience. Experience, of course, is the result of poor judgment." - Geoff Tabin

Speaking of poor judgement, that is what ended my hike last year. I know I am susceptible to altitude sickness. That is why I carry Acetazolamide. You see, you take 2 tablets the day before you climb to altitude and continue with 2 tablets a day for a total of 4 days. It helps keep the headaches, nausea and total exhaustion away. The big side effect is that you have to pee a lot. Which means drinking a lot to keep the altitude sickness away. It's a vicious circle and can get me up 4 times during the night, a small price to pay for surviving.

The thing is, I had been living at 12,000 and 13,000 feet for quite a while in Colorado, so it didn't occur to me that altitude would be a problem. Having just checked before writing this, I now see that Rawlins, WY is at 6,700', South Pass is at 8,100' and Lander is at 5,400'. 9,000 is typically where I start to have problems unless I get there slowly of a number of days like 3. It never occurred to me that I had lost my acclimatization. I had no idea what altitude I had been at as I crossed the divide basin.

Back home in New Hampshire, the longer I was off the trail, the more I knew I had to get back and finish it. Waiting another year, it would feel less like a thru-hike. I might feel the need to start back at Crazy Cook again. I know there is nothing wrong with section hiking but fear it won't feel the same. It was somewhat comforting when Yogi suggested that a hike in two big pieces like this shouldn't be called a section hike but a chunk hike. Yeah, it doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but sure. This isn't a couple of weeks or a month at a time. This is 1,500 miles in 2010 and 1,200 in 2011, I hope.

So here's the plan. Find a ride to Concord, New Hampshire to catch a bus to Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts. Fly to Denver, Colorado and from there to Riverton, Wyoming. There is a bus from Riverton to Lander but it doesn't leave for a while so a hitch might work better. I'll probably spend the night in Lander and buy my food for South Pass to Togwotee Pass. I will also start my 4 day course of Acetazolamide to help me survive adjusting to altitude. That should put me on the trail on July 13, about 51 weeks after I got off.

I really can't wait! New tread, new vistas, new people, new adventures! It's going to be a great hike!!

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Journal Photo

CDT Thru-Hike 2011: Chunk 2

"The road ahead leads ever on
Down from my door where it began
to where many pats and errand meet." - JRR Tolkien
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