Monday, October 22, 2007

CDT (Continental Divide Trail) here I come!

I know I said, "No more long hikes." But the trail calls again.

The following email has just confirmed some plans, and dates for hiking I've been discussing with a man named TrailDad. TrailDad is the father of Brian Robinson. Brian was the first to hike all three long distance hiking trails (AT, CDT and PCT) back to back in one calendar year. Here is a link to TrailDad and Brian's website.

TrailDad, Brian and Yogi

TrailDad and I are teaming up to hike half of a long hike, half of the CDT northbound, starting at the New Mexico/Mexico border - from a border town - maybe Antelope Wells or maybe Crazy Cook Monument on the eastern border.

Here is the latest email I just received from TrailDad containing and confirming the dates I'll be hiking. I'll be away for a month then return for a month before heading back out on the trail again. (I had posed some questions in a previous email to TrailDad that he responds to in the email.)

By the way, for those of you who don't know me, my trail name is Gottago......

Hi Gottago,
I've penciled in March 21 - April 20 and May 26 - July 26 on my calendar. Let's consider those as firm dates for present planning purposes.
I have a friend in Albuquerque whom I think I can impose on if he's available. We get to Albuquerque and he could take us to the Mexican border. We do the water drops on the way and hike back as far north as we can. Brian didn't cache any water but he had to carry a lot to avoid the possibility of running out. Water caches sound like a good idea.
Getting to NM: Assuming we go into Albuquerque, this should be no problem. Fly, bus, train or drive. I wouldn't mind driving if I can leave the car in Albuquerque. I could pick you up on the way through the Palm Springs area. Driving keeps the schedule flexible. All this assumes my friend is available, of course.
Re food maildrops vs. resupply on the trail: I will get a list of Brian's mail drops, but we will be going a lot slower than he did so they may be of limited use. On the CDT, resupply can be a tough problem whether at the store or the post office. Hitchhiking can be difficult and in at least one or two states, illegal. It's a problem.
Re our starting point: Are any of the three places you mentioned near Antelope Wells?
That's where Brian ended his NM section on the Mexican border. I have no preference, really, mostly because of ignorance of the territory. Why don't you make the call on this?

Here are a couple excerpts from Brian's trail log that you might find interesting:
April 19 [2001] 8:30 PM. Highway 81, 10 miles north of the Mexican border.
For those paying close attention, no, I didn't do a 60-mile day. I did a 34 miler with a flip-flop. I've been worried about how to get back from Antelope Wells border crossing because it's such a lightly traveled road. So when I got to Hachita, where my last resupply box was waiting for me, and met Sam Hughes, a new plan formed. Sam drove me to Antelope Wells from Hachita, a distance of 45 miles. Now I'm hiking north from the border back to Hachita. No more nasty hitchhike problem! And there's just 35 more miles to town, so I'll probably get there tomorrow.
Today was another beautiful spring day in the desert. Warm and sunny in the morning, but a little cloudy in the afternoon. It's been hot enough to drink 6 liters of water today, but not too bad, really.
A 2-1/2 inch long tarantula just visited my camp spot. Really beautiful, but I hope it doesn't want to share my sleeping bag tonight! If it's as warm as last night, it won't get below about 60 degrees. That's warmer than the high temperature on all but a couple days on the AT this winter! I sure don't need all my winter gear right now!
Earlier today I saw my first rattlesnake of the year. It was sunning itself on the road as I walked by. This is real desert down here. The last couple days I've seen lots of Joshua trees, cholla cactus, prickly pear cactus and beavertail cactus. But it's definitely spring; there are lots of wildflowers in bloom, too. It's really lovely to walk in the desert at this time of year. April 20 6:00 PM. Sam Hughes' house, Hachita, NM.
Today I finished New Mexico! I hiked the remaining 35 miles back to Hachita and I'm awaiting Sam's return. I'm a little early he isn't expecting me until 6 or 7 PM. But today is very windy and that made it feel cooler, so I could hike faster. Since I was going north today, the wind was at my back for a change. That was a pleasant turn. It's blowing up a lot of dust, though.
On the side of the road today, I saw the body of a dead eagle. I stopped to admire the once great bird, when I noticed a tuft of three feathers at my feet. The three eagle feathers immediately made me think of the three great trails I'm hiking. It seemed to me that the feathers were a gift to me, and a symbol of my hike. I'd like to carry them with me for the rest of my hike, but I'm afraid they're too fragile for that. But since I'm heading home tomorrow for a brief rest before beginning the PCT, I'll leave them there. They are very special to me.

Fellow Hikers: It sounds like you're gathering an interesting group. I don't think I've met either LaZorra or Alice Tulloch. Hiking with No Way Ray's wife would be a privilege. I haven't heard back yet from Mark, my friend's friend who lives in Seattle. We'll see about that.

I'm back.....So my training begins. I mentioned this hike to LaZorra and Alice (my PCT hiking partner aka StoneDancer) asking if they would like to join us for all or part of our hike. I'm waiting to hear from them.



Joanna said...

Here you go again! You are an you

gottago said...

Thanks for leaving a comment. It's fun getting comments.

I'm a little gun shy about planning a long hike again as my past history of leaving the trail sooner than planned is fresh in my memory.

L, Linda