Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Through the Big Burros In New Mexico

I walked 56-miles in 36-hours. Maybe not a smart thing to do, but I wanted to catch my friends. I got a new pair of Altra Olympus 2.0 shoes, which are a delight to my battered feet. Still, new shoes different set of blisters.
CDT trail sign leading toward the Big Burros

CDT follows old dirt road through the Big Burros

The path out of Lorsdsburg continued through hot, dry desert, and I am glad I did most of it in the cool, early morning hours. The CDT ascended the Big Burros monotonically, occasionally visiting stock water tanks, providing the water I need to survive. I climbed to the high point at Burro Peak, which is just above 8,000-feet, and delighted in the exercise and occasional views through ponderosa pines and juniper.

 Taller brush provides ample, cool shade for breaks during the day through the Big Burros

I descended the Big Burros via the "old route" of the CDT, which followed forest service roads, and eventually a semi-busy highway 90 to Silver City. I rejoined my friends, and am taking a zero day to allow my feet another rest before pushing on to the Gila River. The next two weeks will take me through some remote portions of the CDT in New Mexico, and I am eager to bathe my feet in the cool waters of the Gila!

Looking back to the 8,000-foot peaks of the Big Burros

Saturday, April 23, 2016

85-Miles of Pain

The first stretch of the Continental Divide Trail from Crazy Cook to Lordsburg was... a cooker, literally. With temperatures in the mid-80s and few places to seek shade, I felt like I was in an oven. My feet swelled beyond the capacity of my experimental shoes, and I hobbled into Lordsburg with terrible blisters and foot pain. I am taking a day off to heal up, and am missing the company of my friends, who hiked ahead - I will rejoin them in Silver City.

The Bootheel area of southern New Mexico is an amazing, but harsh landscape. The ocotillo, barrel, and cholla cacti were all in full bloom, and sunrise and sunsets sublime. Enjoying it!

Our crew at the Crazy Cook Monument

Ocotillo bloom at sunset in the Big Hatchet mountains.

Ocotillos in the morning

Cholla cactus welcomes hikers leaving the Big Hatchet Mountains

Hikers walking towards the Coyote Hills

Sunday, April 17, 2016

CDT Kickoff in Silver City

Arrived in Silver City, New Mexico on Thursday night, and got settled into the Carter house. There has been a host of activities throughout the weekend, and I got to sit in on a thru-hiker panel. Yay!

Leaving for the border tomorrow at 6:15 am., and begin my section hike of the New Mexico portion of the CDT.  I am looking forward to stretching my legs!

Billy The Kid's childhood home was located in this spot in Silver City, NM. Ron Howard
donated this replica cabin to sit in its place, which is located right near the visitor center.

Continental Divide Trail Coalition Executive Director, Teresa Martinez, at the CDT Kickoff in Silver City, NM.

Ran into Tony (from TOAKS -Titanium cookware) and Pi, who
hiked the CDT with my housemate So Far in Wyoming in 2010.

These folks led a parade of hikers through the town of Silver City. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Hiking New Mexico in 2016

I am excited to be hiking on the CDT through the state of New Mexico in April and May of 2016. As with my 2009 hike, I will not be alone, as I set out with Whitney "Allgood" LaRuffa, Brian "Sweet Potato" Mosley,  John "Big John" McCune, and Roger "Greg in Wild" Carpenter. Of course, there will be others starting the same day.

A lot has changed since I hiked the CDT in 2009: My hair is thinning, and turning gray. I now live in Portland, Oregon, and own a general contracting business. I rent a house with friends (So Far CDT 2009), I have a dog, and I own a car. Some things have remained the same: I love long-distance hiking and the community, I remain a bachelor, "American Idol" is still on TV, and Barack Obama is the President.

The Continental Divide Trail is largely the same still winding from Mexico to Canada, through hot deserts to cold, barren, high peaks in the Rocky Mountains. However, the trail has seen a lot of change over the last seven years. The Continental Divide Trail Alliance has dissolved, and from the ashes the Continental Divide Trail Coalition has emerged as the prime advocacy/protector organization for the CDT. Trail angels have come and gone, and the trail itself has been re-routed in several places.
Near the Rio Chama in New Mexico

I will only see the portion through the Land of Enchantment. However, I will experience nearly 180-miles of trail I did not hike in 2009. In southern New Mexico, the trail branches off through the Black Range, winding through Mimbres, Deming, the Florida Mountains, and eventually Columbus/Palomas. That's the route I hiked. This time, I will be starting from the official starting point at Crazy Cook, hiking through the Big Hatchet Mountains up to Lordsburg, then through the Burro Mountains up to Silver City, and then I will hike through the lower Gila River up to Doc Campbell's, where I split off from the official route in 2009. I look forward to this unexplored territory.

I leave Portland in about 10-days, and I am mostly prepared to go. I don't plan on doing to the full digital diary that I did in 2009, but I will make periodic updates to the blog while out there. Those periodic updates will be mostly in the form of pictures with some text. Last time out on the CDT, I found that I spent hours uploading pictures, movies, and typing updates to trailjournals.com. This time around, I plan to enjoy my time in town, and not make many digital commitments.

These next few weeks will be about relaxation, reconnecting with the trail environment, losing a few pounds, getting in shape, and regaining some focus. I look forward to hiking with friends, and making new ones out there. Long-distance hiking is experience life at its fullest, and I intend to do that.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Precarious Hike Up Lava Mountain, Wyoming

I was asked to write an article for the Continental Divide Trail Alliance about some event that happened on the trail.  The article will appear on Backpackinglight.com in the next week or so.  In conjunction with the release of the article, I thought I'd go ahead and upload a video from that day, and here it is:

If there was ever a time where I thought I might die, it was on the CDT on August 14, 2009. I am thankful to be alive.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hiking the Appalachian Trail Confirmed

I have booked my travel to Georgia on March 9th, and I just ordered the AT Guide, written by David "Awol" Miller.   Yep, I am hiking north on the Appalachian Trail for a few weeks!  I still have maps from my 2000 southbound hike that I will bring with me (not that I necessarily need them!) so that I might plot out some possible blue blaze routes.  My goal is to get up to central Virginia, and then head back to California to be the Presentation Coordinator for Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kickoff (ADZPCTKO).  More to come later on!
Freefall and Patch (CDT 2009) at Newfound Gap on the
Appalachian Trail in September 2010.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Memories of the CDT and Hiking on the AT

I was going through some pictures, and I found this shot taken from near the top of Parkview Mountain in northern Colorado.  I miss the CDT.  Tomorrow, I am hoping to meet up with Luna, who just moved up to the Bay Area.  He is looking at hiking the Appalachian Trail starting in June, and he's hoping to do it in just 2 1/2 months!

View of the Divide from Parkview Mountain
I am also looking at a hike on the AT starting in March.  I am thinking about starting in Georgia with the rest of the pack, and walking north to Damascus, Virginia, but I am still open to doing something different.  My interest in the Appalachian Trail has been rekindled following a 70-mile hike back in September 2010, and I am eager to do some hiking before getting serious with an upcoming career opportunity.  Happy Trails!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

One Year Later...

Are you kidding me? I just realized that today is the one year anniversary of my completion of the Continental Divide Trail. I guess I am now a 'has been' in the thru-hiker world of the CDT. Ugh! Nonetheless, I have been reflecting on my life over the last year, and mulling the post-trail dreams that have come to fruition, or have yet to be accomplished. Here are a few of them:

  • My CDT video.  I have 26 hours of footage that I have uploaded to a hard drive, so where's the movie that I am supposed to produce?  Well, ummmm... it's not done... Heck, I have not even stitched on clip together.  I did get some footage from So Far three weeks ago, so I guess that I can say it is in progress.  That said, I need to get my butt in gear, and produce the video.  It will be a long, dark winter up here in Portland, and I will have a lot of evening time to work on it.  Until then everyone has to entertain themselves with my collection of videos here.
  • Trail maintenance.  When I was on the trail, I expressed interest in doing trail work when I finished, since I felt that I needed to give back to the trail, and maintained I did!  During the month of July, I joined up with a Northwest Sevice Academy crew at McArthur-Burney Falls State Park in Northern California, where I helped maintain a 3-mile stretch from Peavine Creek to Red Mountain.  I had a great time, and one can read about my adventure here.
  • Print, mount, and display pictures of the CDT.  Since I have little to no expendable income, I have not done that.  However, I sent my best pictures to the Continental Divide Trail Alliance (CDTA) for their photo contest.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that I win.
  • Renew my commitments with the Continental Divide Trail Society and the CDTA.  I will renew memberships in December.
  • See my friends from my hike.  After the hike, I got to spend time with George and Luna in California, and I saw Luna again at ADZPCTKO.  Also at the Kickoff, I spent some time with Toothfairy, and later saw her up at McArthury-Burney Falls State Park when I was doing trail work.  I also spent time with So Far when he visited California, and now I get to see him weekly as I moved here to Portland.  Panda also lives up here in PDX, and I have yet to visit with him now that I am here.  Finally, I got to see Patch down in Tennessee-North Carolina when I did a 70-mile hike on the Appalachian Trail.  I'd say I have done a good job in this category!
  • Build a hikethecdt.com website.  I just bought the domain last week, and I have started to put the site together.  I look to publish the site in the next week, so be on the lookout for it!
  • Hike.  I'd like to get back on the CDT next year.  Where?  I don't know.  It sure would be fun to do a northbound hike starting in southern New Mexico, as I would love to see that state in blossom in the spring, especially the Gila River Wilderness.  However, I did manage to hike several chunks on the PCT this year... about 150-miles.  I also did a 70-mile Sierras loop hike with my friend Wes, a 20-mile hike at Point Reyes National Seashore with my mom, and a 70-mile hike on the Appalachian Trail.  Not bad for an off year.
  • Get more involved.  I continue my service as the Presentation Coordinator for ADZPCTKO, and since I moved to Portland, I am now involved with the Mt. Hood Chapter of the PCTA as a trail volunteer, and as the chapter secretary.  I am also in the works of applying for a job with a certain trail organization that must remain nameless at this time.  Again, keeping my fingers crossed!
There you have it - my post-CDT trail recap of the year.  Here's to another year of living off the trial... Ugh!  Until next time, enjoy this little video from the bone cave in Montana.