If you want "hard" information about the CDT (town, mileage, map and trail information), this isn't it - this part is "head stuff."
If you can use anything we’ve written here – that’s cool. If not, that’s cool too. We’re not here to “teach the one and only right way to hike the trail.” In fact, there IS NO SUCH ANIMAL. We’re here only to provide information (and sometimes a little philosophy) for those who want it. If you don't want it, then you're in the wrong place.
Let’s say a few words about 'you' - and ‘us’ ---- I don’t want anyone thinking we’re "experts." We’ve avoided that label for years. We’re "thruhikers” – and what we write about is what's worked for us. If it’ll work for you, that’s cool. If it won’t, then you need to be listening to someone else.
We ALL have more to learn – well, except for those who think they're ‘experts’. My definition of an “expert” is: an “ex” is a has-been, and a “spert” is a drip under pressure. Draw your own conclusions.
There are also those who think they have nothing to learn from us (yeah - I’ve been told that). Cool - because if that's what they think, then they’re right. What we have to say is NOT for everyone. Our route won’t satisfy everyone; the way we hike, our reasons for hiking, our schedule, our finances, thought processes, conclusions, decisions and opinions ---- are “ours” and won’t fit everyone – or maybe even "anyone else". You have your own thought processes, opinions, etc. So adapt your hike to fit “your” lifestyle, beliefs, dreams and personality.
Learn what you can, use what you can --- and “Just do it!!” --- your way.
One of the hardest parts of long distance hiking to get one's mind around is that it's a head game -- and a heart game. And that's especially true on the CDT. A lot of hikers start their "hiking career" assuming that hiking is "physical." And they're right - walking a couple thousand miles is definitely "physical." But that's not all there is to it. There are also mental and emotional components that most hikers don't discover until they're on the Trail in the middle of a thruhike - or even until after they've finished their hike. Some of them never do figure it out. And some of them go home early because they can't handle it.
So - let's talk about the CDT. Prior to his AT thruhike, Jim found a National Geographic CDT book - and fell in love with the trail instantly. It's been an "Energizer Bunny" love affair - it just keeps on going.
In 1995, when we started looking seriously at hiking the CDT, there were very few former CDT hikers who thought the CDT was the "best" of the long distance trails. In fact, the only one who comes immediately to mind is Jim Wolf, who was literally the "Father of the CDT." We've since met several other pre-1995 hikers who feel the way we do - but at the time they simply weren't available so we could "pick their brains." So we went with the information we had - Jim Wolf's CDTS guidebooks, the few books that had been written about the CDT at that time, the information that came from our own research - and a few dire warnings and drastic predictions from those who had hiked the Trail previously. It was enough - and sometimes more than enough.
We've spent the last few years telling others about the Trail - not just about how "hard" it is (although it would be a disservice to neglect that point) - but also about how beautiful it is. If you spend any time at all here, you'll find that we love the CDT - that we think it's absolutely the "best" of the three major long-distance US Trails.
The CDT is "OUR" trail. In part, because of all the research we did before we hiked, but mostly because when we hiked, it was everything we'd come to expect - it was beautiful, it was "wild", it was challenging. We hope you have a good hike. We hope it's good enough that the CDT becomes YOUR trail, too.
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Created: Fri, 06 Jan 2004
Revised: 15 Nov 2009
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