It’s been two months since we finished the PCT. The end of a long hike is always a little welcome. I feel ready to sleep in a warm house on a cozy bed, cook real food in a real kitchen, and watch some television on the couch. How quickly it wears off, though. All these creature comforts bring with them the norms and values of society: consumerism, instant gratification, information overload. Life outside is simple and free from these artificial constraints. I want to go back. We want to go back.
We’ve had a plan for awhile. A plan to get real jobs in the real world and save more money for a year before we get back out there. The plan was CDT 2019, the final trail of the “Triple Crown” of hiking. We thought we wanted the time off the trail, to settle into real life a little while. But as real life got closer, we both realized we don’t want that at all right now. We just want to hike. Could we pull it off?
We were on a road trip, in the car, discussing our options. We examined our finances, we examined our gear, we made lists, and we looked at each other and said “we can do this!” Still slightly unsure if we were being impulsive, we decided to think it over a few days. We pulled off the highway to get gas and Subway. Eating our sandwiches, Paul looked up and saw a man in line with a tattoo of the AT logo on one leg, and the PCT logo on the other leg. What a coincidence. He stepped forward and his pant leg lifted to reveal a third tattoo of the CDT logo. Only about 300 people have completed the CDT, fewer still have completed all three of the big trails. It felt like a sign. We walked out to the parking lot and bumped into the same man, parked right next to us. We struck up a conversation. He’s completed the triple crown twice, and will hike the CDT this year to complete the triple crown a third time. He encouraged us not to wait and get on the trail.
Over the next couple of days a few more things fell into place, and now it feels right to go ahead with our CDT plans this coming year rather than 2019. It just makes more sense.
The next few months will be busy with preparation. The CDT is colder, more remote, and longer than the AT or PCT. Some of our gear needs to be repaired or replaced. We need to keep in shape so we can start the trail off at a good pace right away. I’ve got some projects planned, such as making a down quilt and both of our backpacks. Five months to go!