Thursday, January 3, 2013

CDT?

Lately I've been thinking a lot about thru hiking the CDT. Mostly so that I never have to walk anywhere ever again in my life. Earning the triple crown of hiking sounds pretty fantastic. Every decision I've made in the last few months, while not directly focused on the CDT has otherwise left the option completely open. The lease on my apartment will be up, my job as a ski instructor will be wrapping up, and my hectic winter weeks will have rendered me surly and burnt out, and much in need of a vacation. I've bought the map books, contemplated gear, and started to think about "how I'll do things differently this time."

Other than hating to walk, all the planning really bums me out. When I decided to thru hike the AT, I gave myself about 3 weeks to plan and organize; the PCT I was a bit more generous and decided a full month before I started walking. According to popular opinion, the CDT is not as forgiving in regards to much of anything, especially planning. Though the trail motto is along the lines of "Embrace the Wildflowers" or something equally docile if I remember correctly...

There's maps to pour over. Alternate routes to learn and choose. A GPS to load (and figure out how to use) Maildrops to consider. This alone presents a multi-level challenge as I need to determine necessary locations, gear swaps, and whether or not I think I can maintain a gluten-free diet while hiking in some sparse lands. (more on the gluten-free issue later) And as the butter on my rice-flour bread: who the hell can I ask to assume responsibility for shipping those packages when I need them?! Papa is the obvious and preferred postmaster, but I'd have to assemble the boxes in Utah, ship them to CT and have him ship them back to the trail. Not impossible, but rather inefficient, and I'd have to send him endless spare gear in case I want/need to switch up my system.

Oh and finances. Hiking ain't cheap. Well actually it sort of is. But there's a point in everyone's life where having no savings and working half the year gets old. Or so I imagine! But sadly my trusty travel partner, Patricia, the Nissan Altima, is beginning to slip from her golden years into the bright white light. I'm stoked that I got a fantastic summer of adventure with her, sleeping half in the trunk, half in the backseat, possibly on a street near you(!), but the time is rapidly approaching where I need to give her an apple then take her out back and shoot her. She is a dear car, and has been a great companion, never complaining about dozens of rough off-road miles, bald tires, getting stuck in countless pickles, and otherwise being a total badass, two-wheel drive beast. And great mileage to boot! It'll be sad to watch her go, but hopefully I'll replace her with the mandatory and cliched Subaru. Sadly I'll enter the world of car payments and grownup responsibility, but ideally I'll find a car for a good price and still be able to save for my adventure fund...

There's still a few months for life to change, and maybe something exciting will sneak up on me, but if not, there always the CDT!

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