Well, as with everyone else, COVID changed our plans from March onwards! Thankfully, we weren’t put out of work, or struggling for food; comparatively to a lot of the rest of the world, we got off alright all things considered. Our inconvenience, was no longer being able to hike the PCT. Is it that bad in the grand scheme of things? No, not really. But does it suck to have a dream pulled out from underneath you at the last minute after months of planning? Absolutely.
We were still in America though and needed to adjust course and adapt to the new world we were now living in. And the reason for the extended delay in blogging is because I didn’t want to post anything until I was absolutely certain what our new plans would be. But with a flight booked for tomorrow, I feel it is safe to now announce that Lucy and I will be using the next month and a bit to hike the Colorado Trail! Starting just South of Denver, the trail stretches roughly 500 miles through some of the highest terrain in the United States to Durango. About 1/5 the distance of the PCT, but by all accounts, equal or even greater beauty.
We’ve spent the past three months in the United States huddled up in my parents second home in Meredith, NH. All in all, we’ve had a pretty nice go of it! I went back to work as a paramedic, one 24 hour shift a week, and other than that, all of our time was essentially spent in the White Mountains.
It was definitely an unexpected treat to get to show Lucy the mountains that I love so much. And given our arrival in mid-March, it was still very much full winter conditions on some of them necessitating the use of ice axes and mountaineering snowshoes. But we were also thankfully able to be very selective of our weather days and never took any risks that we felt would put us in need of any rescue efforts. So over a 71 day window, Lucy finished her 48 4000 footers on an epic 2 day Pemi Loop in a June snow shower!
All of this turned out to be phenomenal prep for the Colorado Trail, especially in regards to changing and adjusting gear!
As with the AT, I will be carrying the SPOT GPS tracker so you will be able to see nightly updates of our progress by viewing the ‘Location on Trail’ tab and then clicking on the latest link in the Twitter feed. Also similar to the AT, I will be deleting my social media, so this blog will be the only form of updates, so please subscribe (submit email on home page)! Some people have reached out to me, concerned about me deleting social media… this isn’t an escape from the current issues our world is facing. I’m not ignoring the injustice that occurs each and everyday. Removing myself from social media during a thru hike has always been what I do, so I hope others can respect my personal decision.
I am just as frustrated, shocked, and angry by the state of our society. Frankly, it’s terrifying. It would be ignorant to say I know how people of color feel; I could never know. But the most important thing is understanding that I will never understand and to only help in the ways that I can. For me, I never felt the need to post about what I’m doing to fight racial injustice because those are things I can do privately in the realm of signing petitions, writing letters to local government, etc. Now, it almost feels like if you aren’t posting it on social media, are you even doing anything at all?
I had always thought that the mountains were exempt from the unfair rules of the world. I’ve often described the Appalachian Trail as, “The ultimate leveling ground of people”. Fortunately, I am in a position where I am able to go into the mountains to heal, explore, and discover. It breaks my heart that this is not the case for everyone. And it disgusts me that in certain backcountry areas, some people just aren’t welcomed because of the color of their skin. If we all look into our own personal hobbies, I think we will find a common pattern. AND THIS NEEDS TO CHANGE.
So please don’t feel that I’m “escaping the world” or say that I’m lucky to be getting out of dodge by going on this hike. Physically removing yourself from this is not an escape, and I also do not want it to be misconstrued as being a distraction. This hike will be a period of reflection where one of the things I will be focusing on is choosing how I personally can do better.
The CT is a much shorter trail than the AT so the current plan is to post shorter but more frequent blogs, hopefully weekly! We have been boxing up and mailing resupply boxes to avoid as many stores as possible so I’ve been able to discover just how much more I actually eat than Lucy. I’ve already told her if she runs short on food, she’s more than welcome to my cold couscous!
We are super excited to start this walk together, exploring a beautiful state, and rediscover how much good there is still in the world. I hope that this blog can be a source of positivity in a crowded sea of negative news. As always, I am happy to answer any questions you have about the hike! And no, I’m still not able to eat honey buns.
June 8, 2020