Day 1 -17ish Miles

Day 1 – 17ish miles


I’m on the CDT!

What a relief to finally be on trail and find my body remembers what this is all about. The walking, the sun, the water, the maps, I love it all!

After another sub-par night of sleep, I woke to my alarm at 5:30am…just enough time to pack up, hit the continental breakfast at the Econolodge in Lordsburg, and meet Teresa, Val, and Juan who would be shuttling us to the border.

Getting to the start of the CDT is not an easy task. While there are traditionally three spots folks can start the trail on the Mexican border, two are not ideal, either passing through private property, or containing looooong road walks. The Crazy Cook monument is the spot most people start, and it is in the middle of freaking no where.


The Continental Divide Trail Coalition offers shuttle service to the border, and since I’m their trail ambassador this year, I was able to catch a ride down the day before the official shuttle service started. So did Bearclaw, Dirtmonger, and True with her dog Billy. For $120 the CDTC will take hikers the 3 hour drive over nasty rutted dirt roads to Crazy Cook, and will also maintain 5 water caches for hikers along the 84 trail miles to Lordsburg. A real deal considering others offering rides charge more and don’t cache water for you.

We loaded up the vehicles and were off! FINALLY.


We rolled up to the border about 10am, and yes, the road is nasty. We all took obligatory photos, turned around, and set off!




The first few miles were cross country, but posts with big CDT symbols made it easy to navigate the great wide open. I had a perma-grin on my face the whole day. I’m on the CDT!!

Soon the trail started following a dirt road and I hiked a bit with Bearclaw & Dirtmonger…taking lunch with them in a dirt wash. Oh life! Dirt and trail food and sweat!


We all played leap-frog with eachother the rest of the afternoon, in and out of deeply cut washes. The sandy-rocky footbed was pleasent and flowers of the brightest yellow and deepest purple carpeted the desert in places.


We’ve heard the desert is greener than it has been in a while due to a wet winter. Score!

I caught up to Bearclaw & Dirtmonger once again at the first cache, and found Rambler, who had decided to hike south from Lordsburg.

Filling up on a few liters of water, I set off for an evening stroll. I had carried more water than i needed from the border, and have much too much food, but hey! Other than that the first day went amazingly.

A bit before dusk I cleared out some rocks for a place to sleep; I’ll cowboy camp (sleep out in the open without a shelter) since the sky is fairly clear. I have my shelter handy in case it does decide to rain tonight, but i want to be out in the open, I want to watch the stars twinkle into existance as the sun sets (right now!) and soak in my first day on the CDT.


Transformation as Inspiration

What 2015 really means.

The new year, as I expressed in one of my last blog posts, isn’t just about hiking the Continental Divide Trail in 2015, it’s part of a progression I have come to see as normal. Work, hike, study, hike, work, hike, work, work, work, hike, hike.

Yes, my resume to some seems scattered and patchy…and some might see that as flighty and unreliable…but if you ask me, everything I’ve done since college has had a logical progress based on what I’m passionate about.


Like working with the teachers in my village of Zogore, Burkina Faso, during the two years of my Peace Corps service to paint world maps at the schools.


Or getting a masters degree in England in design. Why not! Knowledge!


And leading backcountry trail crews in Colorado.


And helping 3 backpackers lighten up in backpacking class I taught at Portland Community College (hiking part of the Oregon Coast Trail was part of the class!)

Summed up? new experiences, creativity, knowledge, wilderness, optimism, people, passion.

And seeking that has taken different forms: long distance hiking, writing, design, travel, volunteerism, graduate school, real jobs.

But at the core of my progression from Peace Corps to hiking to museum work to grad school to a design job, back to hiking, trail crew, hiking, wilderness therapy, hiking and now a sweet job as the editor of a local arts magazine (and then some more hiking), has been that quest to learn something new, to see a new place, and have a new experience; it has always been a progression.

Sometimes the progression is literal, like hiking from Mexico to Canada on the PCT in 2006.

Sometimes the progression is literal, like hiking from Mexico to Canada on the PCT in 2006.

2015 means continuing the progression.

And I can’t wait to find out what I’ll get up to next!


Technology is ok

I headed out to Eastern Oregon for another backpacking adventure this morning. My default weekend plans are going to involve backpacking…and hopefully a bit of packrafting…that is until the snow starts to fly… then it will be cross/backcountry skiing until April gets here and I head to NM for the CDT.


This week I choose my destination because my good friend, Sage Clegg, who was the first to hike the new Oregon Desert Trail, mentioned one of her favorite parts was in the Fremont Wilderness, near Paisley, OR. I went to my maps and found a ridgewalk loop I could do in the Fremont. When given the choice, I choose ridgewalking, views, and loops!


I am again trying to post from the trail using WordPress, in this case the Dead Horse Ridge Trail. The drive was more like 3 hours from home, as opposed to the hour last weekend, but I could still see glimpses of the Three Sisters near Bend, and was reminded of how I could easily spend a lifetime exploring all Oregon has to offer. The mountain ranges, wilderness areas and national forests are endless out here (hot springs too!).

This trip is another solo one, and same as last weekend, I found myself posting often to Instagram (@wearehikertrash) since I had 4G service. Even though I’m alone, the act of posting and getting immediate responses makes me feel as if I’m not that separated by distance and time as previous hikes, and I like it!


On the Appalachian Trail I carried a phone card and disposable camera. I only took about 200 photos over the whole trail, and each image I snapped was precious. I would call family and friends when I could get to town and find a phone booth. Those days are gone, along with the phone booths.

The technology found on the trail these days is incredible, and I’m joining in the fun. I’m still debating if I should only use my phone for a camera (the quality sure beats the disposable cameras of the AT) and the fact that I can upload images to my Flickr account as I go means I don’t have to send camera cards back and forth like I did on the PCT. I might take my GoPro to get video footage, and my ipod of course. All those things add up, but with my Secur solar panel, all can be charged from the trail. And there’s Guthook’s new CDT app of course.

Granted I can still turn off the phone and completely immerse myself in nature too, which I know I will want to do as well.

Even if I find myself alone for months at a time next year, my technology will help me feel much more in touch (and my parents will have a better time of it!).

All this technology is ok.




I spent the weekend in a near-by wilderness area, and as I was camping last night wanted to test my blogging-from-the-trail capabilities. I was using the wordpress  app on my Galaxy 3 phone to type it up, but I went to post it today and it’s gone. Grrrr.

I was hoping a bit of technology would be a good thing on the trail. I’ll see if this method pans out, seems like maybe I should type it up in another application to make sure it’s saved somewhere on my phone. Anyway, here’s some photos at least.

23ish miles looping the Mill Creek Wilderness in the Ochoco Mountains east of Bend. Freaking gorgeous.