Friday, May 1, 2009

3, 2, 1... Blastoff!

Here we go!

Tomorrow Reason and I board the bus for New Mexico and the Continental Divide Trail!

Ultimately, we begin 3 miles south of Columbus, NM at the Mexican border. From there, we'll walk something like 2,800 miles to the Canadian border at Glacier National Park.

The hike should take us about five months. We're starting later than our normal April 1 date because we don't want to reach Colorado's 14,000 ft San Juan mountains too soon. We'd rather give them some time to shed their winter snow. If we're lucky, there won't be too much new snow between now and mid-June when we expect to reach the San Juans.

We'll be hiking through New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana along the Continental Divide through the Rocky Mountains. This divide runs from Alaska all the way to Tierra del Fuego. The Continental Divide marks the point at which water is shed either west to the Pacific Ocean or east to the Atlantic Ocean. There are multiple continental divides around the world, but the size and the high elevation of the mountains along this divide garnered this geographical feature capital letters as well as the name The Great Divide.

The CDT will be unlike any trail we've hiked before. The trail is only about 70% complete, meaning that sometimes we'll just use a map and compass and make it up. The CDT has three southern termini and two northern termini. The Divide itself splits in two to form the Great Divide Basin in Wyoming. We'll decide when we're there which part of the divide to follow.

The CDT is longer and higher in elevation than any other trail we've hiked. Here is a nifty schematic that displays the differences in elevation between the AT, the PCT and the CDT. I recommend clicking on the pdf of the whole thing. We'll be above 6,000 feet in elevation nearly the entire hike, and often we'll be at 8,000 ft and much higher.

Reason and I will also be a little on the lonely side. About 3,500 crazy folks attempt the Appalachian Trail each year; around 10-15% are successful. About 350 crazier folks set out from Mexico to Canada each year on the PCT; roughly 60% make it. About 30 folks who are really off their rockers attempt the CDT each year; I don't think anyone keeps track of who is successful.

We're excited! I hope we'll get to share some stories with you along the way. I plan to update this blog when I do come across public libraries and computers, so stay tuned.

I've posted a number of entries about our preparation. Some are intended for prospective hikers and may not be terribly exciting, but you never know.

If you'd like to learn about more about our (read: Cruiser's) planning for the CDT, start here and read forward.

Reason and I will miss all of you while we are away. We aim to grow up, settle down, find gainful employment, and possibly produce some grandchildren once we've reached Canada. But you know what they say about the best laid plans...

We appreciate all of the well-wishes. We'll be very proud upon successful completion of this trail as we will then be eligible for the coveted Triple Crown Award. Yep, there is actually incentive as well as positive reinforcement for this sort of irresponsible behavior.

Au revoir!


Miss Janet said...

Hello and CONGRATULATIONS to the two of you... I am so happy to see you guys still on a lifetime adventure. Good luck on your CDT hike!

Erica Paulson said...

Bon Voyage, Team Creason! I'm very proud of you for even attempting this feat, but I have no doubt that you will be successful. Already looking forward to the celebration when you have successfully reached your goal. Happy Trails!

Asaf Antman said...

Good Luck my friends, I'll follow your blog, I wish i could be there with you.

Happy trails & Godspeed.
Chief Chi-Hungry Hiker.

Virginia said...

Hi Todd and Haidee,
We will be thinking of you and wishing you joy and peace on your adventure. Love,Ginny and Per

Cruiser said...

I have warm fuzzies! Thanks everyone! We love you!


Michele Bilodeau said...

Best of luck on your new adventure. Sorry we were not able to touch base before you left. I have no doubt you guys will earn the Triple Crown, enjoy life on the trail! I'll be thinking of you, keep us updated.

wm said...

dear cruiser and reason-

i'll be with you the whole way, in my heart and will look forward to reading about your travels.

if you complete this, maybe some day i will.

huckleberrie blue/wendy martin
met on the pct head trail coming out of warms spring 2008

Phil Purser said...

How a good and safe trip, we are looking forward to hearing all about it, when you two get back to Columbia, South Carolina.

Kaiwen said...

Hi Todd and Haidee,
I think this is an elaborate and extravagant ploy to avoid swine flu. Starting at the Mexican border adds a nice touch. Best of luck. You two should hile teh Great Wall next.
Love ,

Theresa Zimmerman said...

Have a great trip! I will be living vicariously through you!

Julie Roth said...

Good luck! I look forward to your posts!

Mia, Shawn & Isabella said...

WOW!! Good luck with everything, stay safe, and have fun! Please keep us posted - we will miss you but we love that you are living out a dream!
Carpe Diem!!!

Love - Mia, Shawn & Isabella

Amelia Slawsby said...

Hope you guys have a wonderful time! We are happy for you but will miss you. Love, Mimi, Todd, Liam and Lyla :)

Deb Stewart said...

Wow, I am in awe of you two - AND the mountains you will cross and see. I'm sure you will have a wonderful time (in the true sense of that word -- filled with wonders). Take good care of yourselves.
Must love, Deb Stewart (and Mike)

Doug said...

Best of luck Haidee and Todd!!!! We're proud of you!!!!
Doug, Heather, May & Paige

Doug said...

Hey Haidee & Todd!

We got your postcard with the Cumbres & Toltec Railway on it - that was awesome of your guys to take the time to send it. Hope your weather's good and you're meeting up with plenty of new friends. Keep us posted!


Doug, Heather, May, and Paige