Is this really happening? Yep. The CDT has been marching closer everyday, and while it seems like Spice Rack and I been tumbling in planning limbo for months now (we have been), we’ve reached the point where time starts to accelerate. We have just a few loose ends that need tying and, before we know it, the only tying we’ll be doing is the knots on our shoes.
The planning and prep continues to rumble along. Our resupply boxes are fully packed and stacked, filling an unfortunate spare bedroom with the scent of many meals to come. I wouldn’t call it pleasant, but it smells like a thru-hike, and this is strangely comforting. Our gear has been assembled, though there are still some pressing decisions to make about footwear and warms layers. A patch or two needs to be sewn onto my pack like a bumper sticker. I wouldn’t say that we could start hiking tomorrow, but we’re close.
So, remember how my last post was titled “1 month out”? Yeah, well that was a little bit optimistic. While the snow levels in Montana aren’t quite as exceptional as they are in Colorado and California this year, it is snowier out there than average. June 15th is the earliest realistic start date for a low-snow year, which this year is not. We’re anxious to get hiking as summer warms up, but a couple weeks of warm weather can make a huge difference to snow levels. Hiking on snow, whether it’s over a steep and sketchy pass or across miles of slushy mess, can really slow progress. The wait will certainly be worth it as the trail continues to dry out.
While our start date has slipped a bit, we now do have definite plans to reach the trail. We purchased our train tickets to East Glacier, which should put us on trail around June 25th! We will have to see if that date holds, but it does feel good to have a bit more definition.
However, if you’re still confused as to why we haven’t started hiking yet, I’m right there with you. It comes down to the difference between a nobo or sobo hike. When I hiked nobo on the PCT in 2015, I was already 800 miles along by this time. I admit to feeling a bit antsy, but Spice(a sobo-er all the way) has assured me that everything is on track for the fantastic #sobolife. It’s a shift for me for sure, and a bit maddening watching the progress of all the nobos on the CDT this year, many of whom have already completed the New Mexico section and are now contending with 300% of normal snowpack in the San Juans. Huh, maybe waiting until late June to start wasn’t such a bad idea afterall! Spice is so smart.
BCM fundraiser update: We recently pushed past the halfway point on our way to raising $6,000 for Big City Mountaineers. We’re still over a week away from hitting the trail, yet with strong support we are well on our way. Our contributors are showing us that they share our passion for the outdoors and want to help BCM get more kids outside as they ramp up for a full summer of backpacking and camping. Thank you to everyone who has supported us for everything you have done so far to help us reach this milestone! Again, here is the link to our fundraiser page: give.classy.org/cdt
Last, but not least, we have looked up what to do in case of an encounter with a grizzly bear. Interestingly, we have not found instructions for what to do if a friend is attacked by a bear, only what to do if you are attacked. Try to help? Throw rocks? Sing Nickleback? Wait to take that chocolate your friend hasn’t been sharing? But for real, we’ll find out what we should actually do. Hopefully our understanding will remain purely academic.
That’s all for now, folks. Up next we will test the promptness of Amtrak’s service, brows the streets of Portland for a day, obtain our permits in Glacier NP, somehow hitchhik to the Canadian border, and finally experience the snow conditions for ourselves. You may hear from me before then, but maybe not.
I hope you’re finding some adventures of your own out there.