I left the CDT at Dubois, WY for the year, because it was the least inconvenient place, logistically. It was a considered decision. I had things I wanted to accomplish–the Totality August 21 at Union Pass, WY and my volunteer week in Yosemite September 9-16 (due partly to my hiking addiction, after 10 years of week-long volunteer trips in Yosemite, I haven’t helped in at least 3 years), I toyed around with the idea of returning to the CDT after that in mid-September, but really why? To suffer some more? I suffered plenty in 2015 heading north through Washington on the PCT and it was worth it to accomplish my first thru-hike. But I’ve gotten smarter. Maybe.
I have been following the Instagram, Facebook and blog posts of other hikers on the CDT. I cheer out loud from behind my phone or computer screen as hikers I know or know of, finish the trail. Acorn! Endless and Queen B! I ache for those that have been prevented from getting to Canada by fire or road closures or injury. I miss friends who had to go back to work in August–Burning Calves and Dassie. And I continue to follow or look for the adventures of those still out there–the Ravens, Mudslide (AJ), German Mormon, with my fingers crossed that they will meet their goals.
If you’ve never hiked a long trail, a really long trail, it’s hard to understand why somebody would keep going. Why keep going through smoke, road-walking alternates around trail closures, fatigue, pain, weight loss, rain, and snow? I think the answer is different for each hiker. For me the answer was “I don’t have to.”
I have put off writing this update because I have a sense of failure. I could list all my excuses for quitting, I wrote a rather extensive litany of complaints in my journal, most of which are valid, but I’m just fooling myself. Bottom line? I was bone-deep tired of it all.
From Dubois I hired a shuttle service to take me to Riverton regional airport where I caught a plane to Denver. From Denver I took Alaska Airlines to Seattle and spent a couple days with my daughter, Sarah. Then Seattle home to Anchorage for a few days before joining my sister for a flight to California and a wonderful week of volunteering in Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite NP, with people I really enjoy.
I intend to finish the CDT next season, starting mid-July-ish at the border with Canada and heading south to Dubois. In fact, I’m already looking forward to it! I’ve been off trail for a month and feeling pretty good. Who wants to join me next year for awhile?