CDT Day 150: Crazy Cook extraction, back to the other world
Miles hiked: 5
Total miles: 2721
The rain came and went in the night. Our feet got a little bit wet, but the pavilion did a good job of keeping us dry. A cloudy sky greeted me to the day, the first of post-CDT life. Crunchberry’s tent looked deflated in the dampness, and pathetically inadequate to stand against the fury of nature when it decided to strike. Kind of like people. Smart, yet small and weak in so many ways. But the tent made it. We made it. One person is an insignificant thing in this world, but I hope that one person can achieve something significant nonetheless. Is the CDT one of those things?
There was no rush so we didn’t rush. Cars would take us where we needed to go now. We took some more pictures with the better morning light and cooked up some ramen in honor of our friend Pine Stick. Then, all of a sudden, there was reason to rush. We needed to hike three miles to where the condition of the dirt road improved enough for cars to not get totally wrecked. I took one last moment on the CDT, walking 20 yards back up the trail, away from the finish, trying to rewind just a little bit. I stared at the ground. My gaze rose, following the trail to where it disappeared into the brush, then to the Big Hatchet Mountains on the horizon. Through my mind flickered memories of the trail, out of sequence and blurry. My mind was guided by feelings and emotions, not spectacular sights. Strange, the visual memory becomes smeared by time, but a remembered song or lost smell can punch you in the gut or make your heart flutter years later, like it was yesterday. I seek the big view, the awesome picture, but I remember the thrill, the fear, the love more potently. We are emotional beings.
Spice and I stuffed our damp gear in our packs, then left the dudes to finish their celebrations. We walked, just the two of us, away from this life, towards the next. I was glad for the movement, for one more chance to hike. Soon, we were three miles up the road where the gravel improved dramatically. Our ride wasn’t there yet, so we kept on walking. Why not? The dudes caught up with us and we all hiked together one last time, Gronk providing the Taylor Swift soundtrack.
Then, as strange as I had imagined it, my parents rolled up the road, behind Jeffrey and his blue Scout II. Two worlds came together then, tenuously linked. This blue Subaru was a portal back to what I left behind five months ago. Totally surreal. Hugs all ‘round. Vegan brownies and a bottle of Martinelli’s. A round of goodbyes would come later after an exciting drive back to pavement. A long road trip would come after that, covering hundreds of miles with sickening ease.
The dirt of the trail clings to my pores, the stink of my sweat permeates everything. My gear lies in a pile on the floor of my childhood bedroom. A tiny mound of fabric, crusty with stories of the trail, remembered and forgotten. A laundry cycle won’t do much to wash away all that good stuff. I hope that my memories will be so resilient. There will be other CDTs in this life, but I’m gonna take it easy and think about this one for a little while longer. There’s a lot of good stuff there. Plenty to keep me smiling. We made it. To keep me smiling for days. We’ll make it.
That’s it folks, thanks for coming along for the ride. But I absolutely must send out a big
There are so many people to thank for making this hike possible. SpiceRack and I had an awesome support crew, from her grandparents sending resupply packages to my parents handling the gear changes and ride from Crazy Cook to the amazing trail angels we encountered along the way. There are so many more too. We could not have hiked the CDT without you, and that means everyone. Friends, family, other hikers, the CDTC, map people, rangers, land managers, burrito makers, and you readers. Thank you for keeping me committed to writing this blog. It would have been easy to let it slip, but I will forever cherish these words as a reminder that, from June to November in 2019, I hiked from Canada to Mexico along the Continental Divide with the woman I love. We lived free, saw some cool things, ate a lot, and made friends. So thanks for reading, commenting, and keeping me on it! I hope you enjoyed it. It was a trip.
And of course, a big thank you to Rooster and Crunchberry, two awesome dudes that became a huge part of my CDT experience. We started on the same day, met for the first time north of Helena, then hiked off and on for the rest of the trail, including a road trip to the trail wedding. It was a pleasure to share the trail and so many memories with you. I don’t know too many people from Georgia, but that state got at least two dudes right.
Last but not least, SpiceRack. There are no words to describe how she has transformed my life and enhanced my CDT journey. The CDT would not have happened without her, straight up. Thanks for being such a tremendous partner, helping me discover myself, helping me discover the world and my place in it, and for asking me the tough questions. Keep ’em coming! I can’t wait for our next adventure. I love you.
The trail provides.
Thanks, everyone. I mean it.
— Owen, AtHome, Threeve, Alejandro, whatever…
And while you’re here, one more reminder that Spice and I have been hosting a fundraiser for Big City Mountaineers. We’ve had incredible support and actually reached our goal of raising $6,000 for BCM to support their programs that bring under-resourced youth outside on backpacking trips of their own. Thank you to anyone who has already donated or helped us out. The fundraiser is still open though. Please consider contributing if you’ve felt inspired by our CDT story. Help the next generation of storytellers figure out that hiking is cool so we can hear more cool hiking stories. Simple. You can find out more and donate on our fundraiser page here:
Thanks, y’all! Happy trails.