My Least Favourite Thru-Hiking Chore
Posted on: Tuesday April 13, 2021 Hiking Great Divide Trail
In 2016, I applied for a PCT permit during the second round of applications. I didn’t bother with the first round, since I was sitting on a beach in Puerto Rico and I was reasonably sure that it wouldn’t fill up. I got my first choice of date. I would have been able to get my second choice too, and my third.
Dehydrated Dinner time
Posted on: Wednesday May 5, 2021 Hiking Great Divide Trail Tips
The entire house smells like onions. My eyes are watering while I write this. I just spent thirty minutes chopping as many onions as I could to fill the dehydrator. We have boxes of granola bars and trail mix piled up in the corner. Our cupboards are full of candy we’re not allowed to eat for two months. It’s resupply box prep time.
How to Train for a Thru-Hike
Posted on: Tuesday May 18, 2021 Hiking Great Divide Trail
Right before the Continental Divide Trail and the Appalachian Trail, I joked that I was on a strict training regimen, mostly consisting of eating ice cream and drinking beer. Skinny and tired from back-to-back thru-hikes, I was more worried about regaining lost pounds than maintaining my trail legs.
Great Divide Trail Section A: Heat, Hardship and Humility
Posted on: Saturday July 17, 2021 Hiking Great Divide Trail
The GDT might just be the prettiest thru hike in the world. Despite heat, bears, tough climbs and constant bugs, I am completely in love.
Great Divide Trail: Section B Beat Down and Section C Cruising
Posted on: Thursday July 29, 2021 Hiking Great Divide Trail
Safe haven B&B lives up to its name. Our hosts feed us and shuttle us around town, even to the brewery. Two other thru hikers are there for our first night and we’re excited to meet them. We’ve been following their Altra footprints for days. It’s nice to put a face to the tracks. We compare schedules and figure out we’ll share a few campsites after Banff. We’ll have friends for a section!
Great Divide Trail: Banff to Field
Posted on: Monday August 2, 2021 Great Divide Trail Hiking
I feel awful leaving Banff in the morning. Keith and Leslie have been amazing and have taken such good care of us, but I’ve lost the ability to sleep in town. Lack of sleep makes me nauseated and I gag my way up the trail. I can feel the smoke today too and my chest is tight. I struggle up to Egypt lake, where we’re distracted by a helicopter flying low. Jaded from Assiniboine, where tourists fly in, I make a comment that as much as I don’t want it to be a rescue, I hope it’s not a flight seeing trip.
Great Divide Trail: Sections Delightful D and Exceptional E
Posted on: Friday August 13, 2021 Hiking Great Divide Trail
Bruce and Marlaine spoil us with fresh vegetables and cheese burgers. In the morning, they press us to stay for breakfast and coffee. We leave together. They ride their bikes with us for the first 5km, showing us cool spots by the river. At a natural bridge, where the raging Kicking Horse River rushes through a tiny spot in the rock, we see a tall man with a distinctive look. We’ve never met before, but he recognizes another thru hiker too and a smile splits his dark beard. This is Joe, who we’ve heard stories of from Oliver and Tanya. We say goodbye to Bruce and Marlaine where the trail narrows and deteriorates. Almost immediately, a tangle of blowdowns block the trail. We spend kilometres jumping over and ducking under them. Joe passes us, then doubles back, trying to find his phone which a tree stole from him. He finds it and passes us again an hour later. We’ll leap frog all day.
Great Divide Trail: Section F and a Major Tent Mishap
Posted on: Monday September 6, 2021 Great Divide Trail Hiking
We wake up at 11pm, rain dripping on our faces. Which is a problem, considering we’re inside our tent. We investigate by flashlight. Rain is seeping through our rain fly, splashing on our bug net, then falling through to us. Our sleeping bags are already wet, but there’s not much we can do.
Great Divide Trail: Chown to the Snow
Posted on: Sunday September 12, 2021 Hiking Great Divide Trail
Mist hangs low over the river in the morning. We cross the Chown what feels like a hundred times. Our feet freeze to painful stumps in the cold water. There’s just enough time between fords for them to warm to pins and needles before freezing again. Chown Glacier hangs in the end of the valley, feeding the rushing water. It calves for us, sending down a spray of snow and ice.
Great Divide Trail: The End
Posted on: Monday September 20, 2021 Great Divide Trail Hiking
Somewhat surprisingly, we wake up in the morning. Heavy flakes of snow lie on our fly, melting to rivulets of water. We’re damp and a little cold, but very much alive. A few inches of wet snow lie on the ground and the trees, and fat flakes fall from the sky. It’s above freezing, but barely. The snow shows no signs of stopping. All of our hiking clothes are sopping wet, and I know we’ll have seconds after putting them on before we have to worry about hypothermia. We lie in our sleeping bags and talk through our options.
How to Plan a Really Big Hike
Posted on: Monday June 26, 2023 hiking, Great Divide Trail
I’ve walked all the way along the continental divide from the US-Mexico border to Kakwa Lake, BC (where the BC-Alberta border line goes from squiggly to straight). This year, the plan is to walk another 400km north.
H is for Hard: Misadventure on the GDT's Section H
Posted on: Friday August 11, 2023 Hiking Great Divide Trail
There’s a trail that runs for over four thousand kilometers from the Mexican-US border in New Mexico to Kakwa Lake in BC. It follows the greatest watershed divide in North America, which splits the Pacific and Atlantic oceans at first, and then later divides the Pacific from the Arctic. The trail ends in the middle of nowhere, at a tiny provincial park that no one has ever heard of. But the divide continues.
There and Back Again: A Section H Tale
Posted on: Wednesday September 20, 2023 Great Divide Trail Hiking
We set up camp on the lake, and it’s one of the most beautiful spots I’ve ever spent the night. We haven’t seen a person in 48 hours, or any sign of other humans at all in over 24 hours- not even a cairn. It’s rough not to achieve our goals, but this landscape is unlike anything else I’ve ever hiked through.