This season, I hiked from ‘C to Sound’: the Canadian Border in New Hampshire to the Connecticut Sound connecting thru-hikes on the Cohos and New England Trails. This was the gear I used.
Everything about a hike, town experiences included, are unique and subjective. Most of the towns along the CDT are a ways from the trail, so it's often tough not to stay the night. I had some favorites stays and town stops along the trail in 2017. Part of the adventure of the CDT is having little resources telling you where "the spot" is. So here I go ruining that for you with some picks, because I want to support the people who provided me with the best experiences.
Winter is here. Plenty of snow, ice and cold temperatures to play in. When prepared, hiking in the winter (free of bugs and crowds) can be incredibly fun and rewarding. Given the nature of the challenge, winter hiking often leaves a hiker more confident and fit going into summer adventures. Here’s an extensive overview on clothing and other related gear for winter day hiking, including some examples.
For our recent hike of the Continental Divide Trail, the Hurtta Outback Dreamer was a welcome addition to Luna’s gear. I take a minimalist approach to trekking, opting to keep both mine and Luna’s packs light in order to avoid injury and fatigue. I typically only carry a small foam pad for her to sleep on, or the dirt if she prefers. My point is: I wouldn’t carry this sleeping bag for her if I didn’t think it's comforts were worth the added weight.
Traveling is a skill. People, human interactions are a skill. Like everything else within the human capacity, we get better at things through experience and practice. There’s always a new conversation around the corner waiting to expand our perspective. These interactions are what give me life; energy. So, how do we find mindfulness through human connection? One thing we ALL have in common: food.
The shrinking, rolling mountains of the Divide. The winding Gila River. The remote and wild desert. New Mexico was everything I needed. I traded in warmer layers for more forgiving weather and extraordinary sunsets. While yes, there was plenty of cow shit water and road walking, but I managed to soak in all the sun and dust I could during the final leg of the hike.
Wyoming, rich in culture and scenery, was a stunning, environmentally diverse state to hike through: Yellowstone NP, the Wind River Range, the Great Divide Basin and Medicine Bow NF. All topped off with viewing a solar eclipse in full totality from the trail. Five hundred miles and 23 days more experienced, more crisped by the sun, and more prepared for what lies ahead in Colorado.
Hiking with a dog is different. A thru hike is a unique, individual experience no matter the level of solidarity. Some choose to hike with a partner; some end up in a group. Others, bring along a dog that, while unable to express their needs through speech, will become an extension of you. So in sync that words become insignificant. A giddy, energetic, lovable presence that can change the energy on any given day.
Sometimes I come to a place where I am overwhelmed with bliss. It’s trickling through my body, warming every bit of my insides. It’s washing the dirt from my ego and bringing exquisite clarity to mind. I’m in a place where I feel happiest; as if it can’t get any better than this. Satisfying the relentless need to be immersed in nature’s humbling beauty.