T-Minus 12 Hours til Hike Time!!!

New appreciation for quiet nights out on the trail.

Gina’s thoughts of the day: Well, we were hoping to get some sleep last night, but we really didn’t. Keith called that one right. He was not surprised at all – especially when the hotel supplies ear plugs right in the room! The hotel also has a restaurant, bar, and dance club, so they put us on the other side farthest away from the activities. But they didn’t mention that right across the street from our room, was another restaurant with live music… all night… until 2:00 AM, outside. Oh well! It was Friday night and from the sounds of it, everyone (but us) had a great time it seems.

This morning we caught the 8:15 AM Amtrak train and met some fellow hikers. The train ride was so smooth and so quiet! I loved it. Looking out the window at the harsh, very dry environment that we will be hiking in tomorrow. But I am ready. Let’s do this!

Peak of the day: Very nice train ride where we met some nice CDT hikers who are also as nuts as we are.

Valley of the day: Realizing that without fuel (there is not one bottle in town to buy!), we will be eating cold dinners for the first 5 nights on trail. 😪

Keith’s thoughts for the day: The train ride provided a great opportunity to really get our heads into the game by passing through many miles of barren desert terrain and giving us a real idea of what we are in store for over the next couple of weeks.

The train stopped at a railroad crossing and literally dropped us off in the middle of the road. Only one more leg of the journey left before we actually start hiking.

Peak of the day: Getting out of civilization (Tucson) and into a trail town (Lordsburg).

Valley of the day: Not finding any stove fuel… Guess we are going stoveless for awhile.

T-Minus 36 hours

The flurry of preparation at home and work for the past 2 months is done, or at least as done as it is going to get before we start putting one foot in front of the other.

We have found that hike duration and prep time are inversely related so in general we spend little time planning the micro details (the accuracy of which is about like planning whether to take an umbrella on a walk 3 months in advance).

Instead we focus on having a rough resupply plan, where we have to send food boxes ahead, and knowing where to get / return snow gear.    That strategy worked well on the PCT.  Exception for this trip – I spent time looking at route options through Colorado to be ready for whatever late spring snow shenanigans mother nature pulls on us.  At this point the snow in the San Juan mountains is about 50% of normal, so I will probably regret not doing this for Wyoming and Montana given the near / at record breaking snow levels they have had this year.  Will do that when we get closer and see how the melt-out proceeds.

I am typing this at the Hotel Congress in Tucson (an interesting place… John Dillinger and his gang holed up here in 1934 one floor above our room shortly before they were caught).  These days it is a hotel/nightclub… and it is Friday night… and there are earplugs in the room… and I suspect it will be far from “trail grade” quiet tonight.  But it is all part of the journey to start the journey.

Tomorrow we will take a 3 hour train ride from Tucson to Lordsburg and on Sunday at 6:30AM take a 3 hour, 4×4 shuttle from Lordsburg to the Mexico border at the “Crazy Cook” monument.    At that point the real journey begins!

I remember the feeling of starting the PCT.  Looking to the north at nothing but scrubby desert and contemplating the seemingly impossible distance ahead of us (at that time our longest hike was only about 410 miles).  Encountering our first rattlesnake in a bush right next to the trail after only 10 minutes of hiking.  That was a real “what are we in store for?” moment.  About 6 days later we passed the first 100 mile marker and I thought “only 25 more of these to go, just take it in 100 mile chunks and we can do this”.

At some nebulous point the trail, the daily routine, the level of peace with truly living outside vs just visiting it all became our reality… and it was great.  Time slowed down, the sights and sounds of the natural world became our entertainment, we connected with each other at a new level, and we felt alive in a way that just does not seem to happen in the “real” world.

And that is why we are doing this again.

Peak of the day: Not having any travel issues

Valley of the day: Gina giving a $10 tip for a $15 Uber ride

Getting Closer to the Trail!!!

Today, could not have gone any smoother. (Actually, preparing for the *entire trip* could not have gone any smoother!)

First things first, though. We would like to say “thanks” to Kyle and Heather, for getting up even before the roosters 🐔, to drop us off at the airport. We truly appreciate it! We also want to thank ALL of our family, friends, and co-workers (who are our extended family), for their love, support, and understanding. Going away (once again) for another 6 months to hike the CDT, we could not do this without you covering for us and having our backs. Everyone has a very special place in our hearts. 😘❤

Flying Southwest was awesome. Our box of food, along with a few other supplies in there, arrived safely at baggage claim. Whew!) Our Uber ride with Jose was wonderful. (I was scolded by you-know-who for over-tipping him, but oh well. It was worth it.)

Spreadsheet NOT creating a spreadsheet 😉

We arrived at the (haunted) 👻 Hotel Congress in downtown Tucson, AZ a little before noon, but check-in was not until 3:00 PM. The young gal offered to watch our bags while we went out for lunch. But after 5 minutes, she gave us back our bags along with the room key. Yay! This hotel is very old – like 100 years old. Layers and layers of paint on the walls. Antique furniture. We love it. Very southwest theme. Cacti 🌵 everywhere outside. So different from back in Ohio.

Today has been very long, but successful, but it’s not over yet! It is not even 4:00 PM but TIME has begun to shift and change. We are starting to “live in the moment”. Not worrying about yesterday or the past, but not worrying about tomorrow, either. Heck! Not worrying at all about ANYTHING feels really good. And being here with my very best friend for life is like icing on the cake. I am in my Happy Place. Of course, I do truly miss everyone, but this is a season in our lives and it is temporary. “All good things must come to an end”, so they say, but our journey has only just begun. It will be Christmas every, single day for the next 6 months. What presents and gifts will we have to open?? We shall see. Not knowing is part of the mystery and surprise. I can’t wait! 😎😎🏕

Peak of the day:  Being with my best friend and everything going so incredibly smooth.

Valley of the day:  Already missing EVERYONE, it aches. 😪

Planning the hike

We’re getting ready to go!  It has been over a year since we have wanted to take this hike, but we were not sure if life and all the things that get in the way, would let us.  I even added a countdown on my whiteboard at work (it was teeny tiny in the lower right hand corner) that counted down the days until April 22, 2018.  I can remember when it said, “384 days” or “216 days”… As of today, April 17, it now says “5 days” until our journey begins.

Can you believe it?  Is this really happening??
Are we really going to do this??

Wow!  Time sure does fly!  Especially when you’re having fun. 🙂


Continental Divide Trail 2018

In 2016, Spreadsheet and I (Mulch), made a life goal for ourselves and that was to hike the “Pacific Crest Trail” (PCT) which begins at the California/Mexican border and ends at the Washington/Canadian border.  The trail goes through three states:  California, Oregon, and Washington.  It is 2,650 miles long.  It was such an incredible experience that we are going to go DO IT AGAIN!  But this time, this year (2018), we will thru-hike the “Continental Divide Trail” (CDT).

What is the “Continental Divide Trail”??

The (unofficial) trail  motto is “Embrace the Brutality.”  This trail is a little bit longer (3,100 miles), but has many alternates which if taken, make it shorter in length.  We plan to hike around 2900+ miles.  It also goes from Mexico to Canada, but through these five states:  New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana.  In the United States, the CDT, PCT, and the AT (Appalachian Trail) form what thru-hikers have termed “The Triple Crown” of long-distance hiking.  Hmmm… That might end up being another life goal of ours. 😉

Learn more about the CDT