Continental Divide Trail – Day 1

Crazy Cook monument to Mile 14, 4744 ft.
I’m back. I’m back on the trail. Part of me  feels like I just finished the PCT, blinked and suddenly I’m here tackling the most brutal of the 3 long trails in the US, The continental divide trail. I remember when I decided I was doing the trail. It was in Skykomish and a few newly minted triple crowners arrived talking about the joy of the CDT. I’d already decided it was too hard for me. Waaaay too hard core. But they had this glow about them… it looked good. The more we talked the better the idea sounded. I didn’t want my trail life to end and here was another trail staring me in the face. Ah crap. Somewhere between beer number something and a game of celebrity heads it was decided, I was going to hike the CDT.

So here I am.

I am in the middle of fabulous dreams when my alarm bleeps me awake. I’d placed it on the other side of the room so I’d have to get out of bed to turn it off. Well played past Beck. So so tired I stumble through the motions of showering, teeth etc, shove my things into my too heavy bag and feel like a total Cheryl with all my stuff.

The driver for the shuttle is meeting us at breakfast in the hotel, so I race down and explode into the room.

“Ah so you are coming” some official looking guy says (I find out later he is the awesome Radar who organises the shuttles and water caches. Cheers Radar!). I’d tried to contact the CDT to change my date to one day early but had no luck, so I was just arriving with fingers crossed. I’m not going to lie- jetlagged sleepless nights and a 1am arrival in Lordsburg the night before made me wish he said I had to wait till tomorrow so I could sleeeeeep ☺

I galumphed into car and said goodbye to my awesome trail mate Rideordieh who hosted me in Tucson so I could sort out my resupply AND drove me all the way to Lordsburg. Trail people are some of the most generous souls on the planet. Always Ride! Never Die!

The ride out to Crazy Cook is a long one – about 3 hours.  The first hour I dozed, then we started on the crazy 4wd track which required holding on to not bounce out a window. There are three of us starting the trail today, so Cloudbuster, Boat and I pose for our photo at the monument, stuff around sorting out this and that, then finally start the first steps. This is happening! This is real! I’m on the CDT!


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I feel like an imposter and total newbie with these people with their tiny tiny packs. I need everything I have in here, right? This feels like trail University and I haven’t finished high school…. or maybe this is the Post Grad program and I forgot to go to Uni in between. I’ll get kicked off soon. Away with you!

The trail is hot and exposed. I watch dust clouds and little dust whirls kick up all across the horizon. Shade?? No, not here. Not on uber trail.

My feet hurt. Whaaaaat??? Can I feel blisters starting???

Somehow though, in the midst of feeling completely out of my depth, completely unprepared, the march of my feet and the click of my poles feel like I’m back where I belong.

Then I go the wrong way.  It’s going to happn one bazillion times on this trail. It’s not the neatly marked little 30cm wide footpath that the PCT often was, so I should just get used to it.  The CDT has great trail markers that you pick your way to cross country. But then sometimes there isn’t one. Or it has blown down. Or I simply looked and walked in th wrong direction.

So yeah, I go the wrong way.  Gah I’ll backtrack. Wait…crap. I’d gone the right way the first time. GAHHHHH. I go back again and realise that if I’d taken maybe 10 more steps I would have seen what I was looking for.

So a little extra .5 mile at the end of the day. Blisters! Chafe! Total newbie numpty!

Cowboy camping tonight at the first water cache  – the caches are absolute miracles. There are 5 dotted between here and Lordsburg and without them there would be very very long stretches without water.

Oh dirt sleeping how I have missed you! The stars are phenomenal! Do I belong here? Under sky feels like home. I fall asleep to the quietest of quiet sound of absolute silence.

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