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Mark "SlowBro" Hurd
Begins: Jun 28, 2019
Date: Sun, Sep 22nd, 2019
Daily Distance: 0
Trip Distance: 998.1
Entry Visits: 245
Journal Visits: 23,885
Guestbook Views: 407
Guestbook Entrys: 34
A Thousand Miles-Thoughts On The CDT
It is early morning here in Eugene. The sunrise is only 15 minutes away, but the rainy skies have yet to acknowledge it. A cool moist breeze blows though the darkened window as I type this. Two weeks ago, wet and cold from a near drowning in my tent, it was hard to imagine I would be dry and warm sitting in my study with a cup of coffee just 14 days later. But here I am, like it never happened.
This years trek on the CDT was much different than last years. Last year there were no falls, no injuries, no tents, no air mattresses, no blood in my urine, and no threat of bears. There were fires, and dismal water sources, and bad trail, and no trail, and long road walks, but that was true this year, too. To be fair, this year there were glorious days and sparkling nights and flowers of extravagant color. There were crystal blue lakes and verdant meadows. There were immense landscapes that stretched on forever and intimate glimpses of a doe and her fawn at sunrise. There was much to fill your heart and strike you with awe. But also, this year, the trail just seemed harder.
It started with the deep snows in Colorado, which forced me into a 150 mile asphalt road walk. In the first mile a misstep into a hole led to a fall and a dislocated right shoulder. Maybe an omen, if you believe in that sort of thing. I soldiered on with Nancy and her sisters giving me rides to a condo at the end of each day for the first week.
After they left, I held my tarp down in 60 mph winds, carried water past alkaline creeks, and walked up to Rawlins, WY. From there I trekked across the desert of the Great Divide Basin, saw wild horses, bad water, and walked along the Oregon Trail, ending up in Atlantic City, WY (a real place).
Continuing, I journeyed through the Wind River Range with its many fords, icy water, cirques, lakes, snow fields, and lofty peaks. I dropped two thousand feet into the Green River Canyon which reminded me of Yosemite Valley.
I rambled up to Yellowstone and once again marveled at geysers and hot springs. I saw cougar tracks and watched elk graze. It was in the Park that I noticed I had hematuria. And I hitched to Old Faithful for a clinic visit and an expensive hotel room.
Pressing on west along the Divide, I hiked through forest and valleys into Idaho and spent a night in Sawtelle, ID before striking out for Lima, MT along a bushwhack trail.
A long water carry, steep ridge walks, and dodging massive thunderstorms on a 28 mile day were all part of my experience going into Lima. Since there was still blood in my urine, I decided to leave the Trail and go home for a cancer work up. I just had time to greet my internet friend Slinky and then catch the bus out the next day.
Once I got home two of the three test I needed were done quickly, but the third test was scheduled a month out. So I returned to the Trail and joined Slinky.
We hiked from Anaconda, MT to Helena and then on to Lincoln, MT. Forests, burns, logging roads, confusing old and new CDT tread and trail closures due to fire were part of that experience. And throughout Slinky was a great hiking partner.
In Lincoln we slackpacked 18 miles of road then headed off to Glacier, a 9 day trek. A fortuitous resupply by Slinkys friend, Nathan, made it all possible. Immense burns, cloudless skies, big views, the Chinese Wall, another dislocation of my shoulder, days of rain, dense foliage we dubbed the car wash, and the total failure of my tent in the rain punctuated the journey up to East Glacier Park, MT.
I decided to stop there and Slinky went on to Canada. Nancy came out and she and I flew home. My third test was done and all test were negative. Whew! What a story.
My journey this year was so much more than I expected and maybe more than I was prepared for. It certainly tested my limits. And I am still not finished with it. I have about 400 more miles to hike before I am done with the CDT and it is done with me. Next summer I plan to hike the 300 miles between Lima and Anaconda first, then skip up to Glacier and complete the darn thing there.
The CDT is a hard task master. It is grand and long and unforgiving. It is beautiful and wild and stunning in so many ways. Like the other long trails, it has taught me a lot. Mostly about myself. The CDT has been an amazing journey and as I always say, “The journey is the reward.”
Thanks to everyone for following along. Thanks for your comments and good wishes. I have been humbled by everyones concern. This is the last entry for this season. The blog will go on vacation until January when I start planning for next summer. Check back then and...
- Safe Travels my friends...
SlowBro's Continental Divide Trail Journey
"I can't say as ever I was lost, but I was bewildered once for three days." -Daniel Boone
"The Journey IS The Reward" -SlowBro
"If you feel like quitting, just keep walking." -Gypsy Spirit
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