The count down begins. Just 23 more days and I will be taking my first steps on the Continental Divide Trail with the goal to walk through Colorado and Wyoming. As I sit typing this post, I hear the hum of my food dehydrator, multiple to-do lists on post-it notes seem to be everywhere, trail food is piling up, the UPS truck STILL visits our house most everyday, something is always downloading on my i Phone, empty resupply boxes await my attention, and I have found a new love, trail running.
This is the 4th spring in a row that I have prepared for an extended summer hike. One would think by now that I would have a system for getting everything together easily and simply. Not so. BUT I do dream of a system that consists of a streamlined sequence of tasks. It seems each year there are new variables: I change, my needs change, gear changes, and technology changes. What does stay constant is the love of the trail and the sheer anticipation of it all.
Highlights of My CDT Prep:
This is where I like to focus my priority. I figure I can have all the great gear, maps, and food, but if I do not prepare my body, I WILL suffer. This year I had great grandeurs of doing Jillian Michaels’ exercise videos daily and regularly hiking up Tehachapi Mountain with a loaded pack. Well, that has not happened, not once. Instead, I have backpacked and hiked on the weekends, climbed mountains, and started trail running with a few push-up, squats, and sit-ups sprinkled in. I am certainly lacking in the flexibility department. I think that one will go on a to-do post-it note.
I posted my CDT Gear List a few weeks ago and have made some changes since then all in the name of lightening my pack. Most likely in the next couple of weeks I will change a couple more. I have added or substituted the following gear: Sony RX100 (I dropped my Panasonic LX5), Sawyer Squeeze without in-line adapter and platypus, Suntactics Solar charger, Brooks Cascadia Trail Runners, and OR Spectrum sun gloves.
Maps, Water, Resupply, and Technology
The Continental Divide Trail is unique and mysterious. It is a route and a trail. There are not really guidebooks. Everyone seems to have different strategies for navigation. I am using the popular printed Ley maps and Bearcreek way-points loaded on my i Phone with USGA maps. I am also very lucky to have the CDT Data Book that has been updated by Beacon and a resupply schedule that has been a collaboration of CDT hikers: Schoomer, Why Not, Swami, and Wired. Also, I am working on downloading books on Audible and creating new i tunes playlists.
Well, this is where I need a lot of help. I started buying food a couple of days ago. I have 11 resupply boxes to fill with food that I will be sending to trail towns over a 2 month period. This is very daunting. About 7 months ago, I started a diet that is gluten, dairy, and soy free. I feel better and think better without these foods. However, it is challenging going gluten, dairy, and soy free on the trail. Most of my tried and true trail recipes, treats, and bars are now off-limits. I sure would welcome all suggestions for favorite backpacking foods that are gluten, dairy, and soy free.
Side Note: There is a rumor going around that my son, Silly Chili just might be hiking along. Stay tuned.