[cdt-l] To tantalize hikers looking for the next hike

Marcia gottawalk at pacbell.net
Mon Nov 13 13:11:28 CST 2006

Again, now that hiking season is winding down and we are dreaming of our next hike, I would like to throw the 1200-2000 miles along the western ADT (American Discovery Trail) into the discussion as a possible next hike. 

The ADT in the west from Crested Butte, CO to the Pacific is a CDT type hiking experience. The route (notice I didn't say trail) introduces new ecosystems, scenery and challenges. We had the entire distance to ourselves (for me, this is a plus) and diverse scenery and terrain that seemed to change character more rapidly and more extremely than that along the other trails. 

Every adventurer needs to spend time on the Kokopelli's Trail that crosses from CO into Moab. The UT canyons could be compared to the Gila River in that finding a way up a watercourse is slow and tough. UT is similar to hiking in NM and southern CA except that the scenery is even more mind boggling and tongue tying. With all the many navigation challenges of the CDT type, this route becomes a hike for the hard-core. In the middle on all this uninhabited red rock and deserts is the Aquarius Plateau with all the water that the name implies. We hiked on the Great Western Trail (in the same manner that the CDT uses the CT trailbed) and again had the area to ourselves except when we crossed over an ATV two track. Also, this little used trail was demanding to follow. We had to keep ourselves oriented and many time just "went" thinking that we could eventually find a navigational point or handrail.

Read Brian Frankel's Hayduke journal on his ULA site. The ADT and the Hayduke run the same route north and east of Hite, UT.

The jeep two track that leaves UT and leads hikers into NV felt like parallel trails for the two of us sans any other traffic. I absolutely love walking to the horizon feeling like a tiny speck of dust in the universe. Star gazing is unparalleled from under-to non populated NV terrain. When we got to the NV basin and range I discovered a new delight: spending a day cruising speedily across the flat basin watching the next range slowly appear. The next day was a typical mountain hike frequently following flowing water up, cresting the mountain to follow a new water course down. Wow, without trails and with an occasional gps waypoint the ranges were every bit as navigationally challenging as the CDT! The daily alternating contrasts of flat sage desert to juniper, pinon and aspen forests covering the mountains was a pairing that I could repeat endlessly. We saw wild horses that were different than the herds in WY, elk, desert big horn sheep, pronghorn and small critters of all sorts.

We did see hikers and bikers on the Tahoe Rim Trail as we left NV and crossed into CA. Hiking across CA was a mini PCT experience but without fellow hikers. We climbed up to the PCT at Granite Chief for an all too short Sierra hike through the granite and sand mountains down to a reservoirs following the American River to its confluence with the Sacramento River. Hiking on the levees was interesting because of the huge, varied fruit and animal farms spread out below in the midst of an urban area.

Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge is a once in a lifetime must-do. Nate convinced us all of the value of coastal hiking. I liked the miles that we walked north in the headlands that were also laden with animal viewings and no other trail users until we got to the National Seashore.

So, I hope that all you hikers have your interest piqued. Hiking west-east across the wild west again is high on my list of potential hikes.


PS Heh, spellcheck wants to change GottaDream to Rotterdam which isn't on my list of places to hike!
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