Monthly Archives: July 2017
I have daily homework on the CDT. After dinner, I always curl up in my sleeping bag and study the maps and comments for the next section of trail. One night, I found an exciting surprise: the CDT would link up with the Oregon Trail for part of the day! I would get to fulfill a childhood fantasy of hiking part of the Oregon trail. Yes!!
It was a deeply touching experience to follow in the footsteps of the original American long-distance hikers. I thought of my struggles:
1) It was so hot that my Cliff bars melted.
2) Not enough Verizon LTE.
3) Had to carry 15 miles of water.
And then I thought of the pioneers of the Oregon trail. They had problems like this:
2) Lost an oxen.
My heart ached for them. They were just normal people with big dreams and a desire for a better life. Isn’t that what we all want? Suddenly my problems seemed silly and fleeting.
Being on the Oregon Trail really helped put my current struggles into prespective. I couldn’t help but look around at the stunningly beautiful landscape and think “There are bodies buried here. I am not allowed to complain about anything, ever.”
The basin was absolutely brutal. It was probably the hardest hiking of the CDT, but at least this exposed, desert section only lasted 4 days. It is finished. And while, I found some beauty in the basin, I’m never doing it again. It simply hurt too much. Hiking flat jeep roads across a desert inferno isn’t my idea of fun.
Tomorrow, I leave Lander and enter the Wind River Mountain Range. I’ve been listening to Will talk with wonder about the Winds for as long as I’ve known him. It was listening to him talk about his love for this mountain range that actually made me fall in love with him years ago.
I’m excited to see the Winds through my own eyes, and see what they have to teach me. After that, I enter Yellowstone, and then Idaho! 285 miles till Idaho? Seriously?? How??!
Slow down, CDT!
You can’t change reality, but you can change your mindset. You can control your reaction, feelings and emotions.
When I realized that simple idea, it changed everything.
I got back where I left the trail at Twin Lakes after a week off in Denver. I desperately wanted to hike with other people after spending so much time alone. I met up with some friends, and was hopeful. And then, my friends got off trail to go visit Denver. I was alone again.
And then something shifted. I mostly hiked and camped alone.. but suddenly, I wasn’t lonely. I listened to music and podcasts. I slept in, hiked late, and felt a primal connection to the Earth. Something shifted in my mind.
And I started to love being alone. I’m not sure what changed. Maybe I simply stopped caring about it.
A few days ago, I crossed into Wyoming!!
Colorado was one of the hardest states that I’ve ever hiked across. I was met with so many obstacles, but everyday was completely stunning, and rewarding. One day, near Rocky Mountain National Park, I stood and watched 6 moose in a clearing. They saw me, and went back to munching on grass.
I couldn’t believe my eyes at least once a day. Sometimes, I literally teared up because the beauty was overwhelming. I often thought: “Seriously? This is my office??”
Cheers to Colorado. There were times that I hated you. There were times that I struggled. There were times when I thought “This is too hard. Why am I doing this?”
Colorado… You only broke me down to build me up. Now, I understand.
You only wanted to make me stronger.