Before one starts walking for 5 months and can enjoy the simplicity and soul satisfaction of trail life there is a lot of “other life” and pre-trail life chores to take care of. Some of the work is interesting and fun. While other to-do’s are just “get ‘er done” tasks to be checked off the list. All of this effort is worthwhile to us so that we’ll have peace of mind on trail. And so we’ve spent many a Saturday or Sunday at home this winter preparing for the CDT. (The skiing hasn’t been top shelf this season and thus hasn’t tempted us away from our logistics duties.)
Our checklist includes:
Life: Arrange with work. Pay bills. Find cat sitters. Find emergency back-up cat sitters. Plant sitters. Change cell phone data plans. Find health insurance. Make advance dental appointments – fix anything iffy. Make advance doctors appointments. Vet appointments. Make arrangements to forward mail. Give contributions to organizations that support the CDT, PCT, and beloved places and landscapes. Update blog.
Trail: Confirm a resupply person. Choose resupply points. Gather resupply boxes. Buy food for ~2,000 miles. Update first aid kits. Replace worn out gear. Modify gear. Buy 10 pairs of shoes. Update passports. Order maps. Sort food and gear for resupply boxes. Sort maps and route beta. Pick a southern terminus to start from. Figure out how to get there!
At this point in the process, when someone asks me how do you hike a long-distance trail my answer is, “Spreadsheets and index cards.” But soon the answer is more likely to be, “One foot in front of the other.”
Having done this previously (:-)), we’ve become MUCH more efficient with the preparation process. Now we even have instructions for ourselves on how to prepare for future long hikes.
It’s early March and our 40 resupply boxes (20 for Marmot, 20 for Gabriel) are 80% ready! We just need to figure out where we are mailing them to (POs vs. motels), add in maps, trail beta, a few more pairs of shoes and water bladders. We’ve got most of our gear and are waiting for our REI dividends to come so we can pick up the rest (water bladders and shoes).
This week feels like we made BIG progress as we settled on a start date!: Wednesday, April 23.
Getting to the trail is somewhat involved and will require: our feet, a local bus, a train, a plane, family, Greyhound, and finally a shuttle on the rough and remote jeep roads to the trailhead. Thanks to the CDTC we have reservations for a shuttle to the southern terminus of the CDT at Crazy Cook.
With all that we – still – want and need to do before we head out, it feels good to have made so much progress!