[Cdt-l] The Brutacious Brutality

hetchhetchyman at aol.com hetchhetchyman at aol.com
Wed Nov 10 11:15:44 CST 2010

Of the hikers I met this year on the CDT that had mentioned the expression "Embrace the Brutality" it seemed to me we all took it in the spirit of fun. I don't know what the CDT was like in 1999 or 2006 but in 2010 there were some pretty amazing thunderstorms every day for much of the way along the Montana/Idaho "interface".  It was definitely the closest I have ever come to being struck by lightning. Along the Buffalo river in particular I had cell after cell run right over the top of me. I would hunker down when the flash was about 2 seconds from the clap only to have an electric blue bolt blind me striking just yards away. While that day was by far the most gnarly there were planty more to follow. Everyday by 2PM was "party time" on the divide. I would tell myself "Embrace the Brutality" and kinda laugh sometimes and it was a great tension breaker and a way to sorta get a connection to previous hikers that had come before. At least for me, being out there alone and a little scared, the phrase was like a little "link to sanity". It was comforting to think that other folks had made it through before me and perhaps they had encountered similar conditions as me.
After having hiked the CDT and having read Yogi's guide beforehand, I think she sets the tone quite well. She has to be conservative somewhat cause there are aspects of the CDT that can be much wilder than the PCT which I hiked in 2009. At least from what I found after hiking the PCT and CDT in concurrant years they were very different experiences. Everything on the CDT was a little wilder; the weather, the altitude, the quantity of wildlife. 
Crikey, there are more Antelope in Wyoming than people!
Anyways, far from deterring folks with the "Embrace the Brutality" on the inside of her book, I think Yogi successfully communicates that this trail has the potential to be much more challenging than the PCT. I also would tell myself "Embrace the Beauty", "Embrace the Wildness", and "Embrace the Town Food!" at times. 
Personally I think Yogi's guide was spot on. Yes, it was written a bit on the conservative side but that is a good thing when you don't know the aptitude of your audience. I am not implying we are indicting Yogi's guide because of the phrase but I think those words need to be taken into the context of the entire guidebook. Right in the front of the book she states that it was written with a "little help from her friends". In fact, I find the candid commentary from Yogi and her friends to be the most useful information in preparing for the hike. I don't want to pitch this as one guide against another cause I loved the great info provided by all the sources.
Hey, I just thought of another book, totally urelated to the CDT, that has a catch phrase. The hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.. What did it say.. "DON"T PANIC!" 
Thats it! Yogi's guide can be ammended to read "Embrace the Brutality but... Dont' Panic!"  ;)

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