Hiking the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) Northbound in 2013- sharing my preparation for the hike and my day to day experience while I'm on the trail. Inspiring people to follow their dreams.

Top 5 to-do’s for my CDT thru hike

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This trip isn’t cheap.  On average it costs between $3-5K to hike the CDT, depending on how frugal or lavish you are.  You have to pay for food for every day of the trip, insurance, clothing, town stops and equipment that’s going to need replacing.  You go through 5 pairs of shoes alone.  I also don’t want to complete the trail and come home broke. Getting back into the groove of modern life will be hard enough after the trail, but to come back having to go straight back to work would be tough.  Since my current savings is at $0, this is of immediate concern.


How do I get from Mexico to Canada?  I need to get lots of maps and guide books to hike the trail, learn what are the best foods to take and decide what gear I need and when.  I need to learn where to send mail drops, lodging and transportation.  I also need to enhance my outdoor skills like navigation, site selection, animals and observing the weather.  There are a lot of moving parts, so tackling them in an organized and methodical way is my only hope.


Leaving my family and friends for the thru hike will also be hard.  I love seeing my family for dinners, wrestling with my nephew and being a short drive away.  Having my family involved in the process and having their support is very important. Setting up ways to communicate with them through email, pictures and phone calls while I am away will be a key to happiness for everyone.


Getting fit enough to endure 4-5 months of 20-30 mile per day hiking, every day, is going to be a challenge.  Some people don’t train hard before the hike because they figure they will get fit on the trail.  This is wrong.  You need to show up in shape and be ready to do the miles; this prevents injury, enhances your enjoyment and helps you feel more confident in your abilities, mentally.


Most people who hike a long trail will tell you that the trail is 80% mental and 20% physical.  The day after day hiking in the rain, cold, heat and bugs can make a person start hating life real soon.  Preparing myself mentally is one of the biggest things I can do for a long trip like this because I will be in my head A LOT.  Can I stay positive?  Can I remember why I’m out there and pushing myself like this?  I feel I’m mentally strong now but this will be a whole different challenge for my head and my body.


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