“Our lives improve only when we take chances and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves.” – Walter Anderson
Alright, so let me lay all of my cards on the table right now: My name is Pete. I’m 33 yrs old, I live in Boulder, CO and I just got divorced. When I say just, I mean yesterday I went and filed the papers at the courthouse, paying my fee with a very sterile woman stamping away at my documents. My wife and Itried to work it out. We did everything that we could to make it work but, couldn’t. Now I’m going to be a divorced guy working a low paying, student loan debt, and as of this morning, $17.63 in my checking account with 8 days until I get paid again. This is not exactly the way that I thought my life would be at this age. Where did it all go wrong?
I know that I can’t always control the things that happen to me but I have learned I can choose how I react to things. I could be mad and depressed that my marriage didn’t work out and I’m broke. I could go out and do what I used to do, go get drunk, thinking that this would solve my problems and make me feel better because that is what your supposed to do. Instead, I have decided that I am going to finally start living my dream. I am taking my life on a new course. I have dreamed of hiking and traveling the world since I was a young kid reading books about Billy the Kid, Henry Hudson and Huck Finn. National Geographic is something I used to read from end to end as a kid, envisioning the smells of the jungle, the cold of the arctic and eating with lost tribes in Africa. I’ve read the books of the wilderness legends Colin Fletcher, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Muir and Edward Abbey. I have lived through their words for so many years, reading them over and over, trying to picture myself living that life and seeing all of those wonderful vistas, dunes and forests.
I have decided that I am taking the leap that everyone and all religions tell you to do — to believe in yourself, to take that first step, to put fear to the side and walk through to your dreams and see them fulfilled.
For me, that dream has been to hike the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) and I have decided that I am hiking it in 2013. I am hiking the CDT because it is the thing that I have been after, dreaming about its trails, mountains and weather. I want to complete it so that I can feel that I put my complete heart into something and I was able to accomplish it. It’s the feeling that no one can take away from you.
I want to be a resource for those people who want to hike the CDT by watching me, someone who is starting from scratch. I’m calling this project: Couch to CDT. I will get my ass off the couch and I will finally accomplish my dream. For those who don’t know the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) is a 3,100 miles trail that hugs the continental divide, starting on the Mexican border and ending on the Canadian border. It goes through 5 states: New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, and is only 70% complete as a trail. It is not a trail like the Appalachian Trail (AT) or the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) that see hundreds of hikers a year thru-hiking them. There is a great statement about how unused the CDT is; they say that each year 3,000 people attempt the AT, 300 attempt the PCT and only 30 people attempt a thru-hike of the CDT.
I will go through all the processes of learning about the trail, online resources, and planning, cost and getting fit to do the trail. I will be getting out into the hills as often as possible to test my gear, see what works best and put the all-important gear list together for the trek. I want people to come along with me and learn what it takes to hike the CDT, the good and the bad. This blog isn’t about the bunny rabbits and sunset passes. It’s the day-to-day experience of getting ready to hike the CDT, not just in gear and logistics, but also in health.
So let’s get started on this blog and journey. I promise to be honest with you, share with you everything that I learn and to hopefully nudge you to start thinking about what is your dream and to start living it.