[Cdt-l] Books about Hiking the Continental Divide Trail

Jim and_or Ginny Owen spiriteagle99 at hotmail.com
Tue Oct 15 10:07:08 CDT 2013

If you are going to read journals (which I also recommend)  take them from different years and different directions.  One of the key things to understand about the CDT is that each year can have vastly different conditions, depending on winter snowpack, how late summer arrives, how hot or cold or wet or windy or buggy the summer is, how early and how deep the fall snows come, bear activity, drought and fire conditions, etc.  Then there are the individual choices made by each hiker, both in advance (5 month vs. 6 month hike, NOBO vs. SOBO, solo vs. group) and on the spot.  Every hike is unique -- which is, of course, one of the huge attractions of the CDT.  But it helps to see the different years so that you truly understand that while some years hikers may start SOBO in early June without major problems, in other years they are still postholing in mid-July.  Some may be able to hike NOBO through southern Colorado in early June, while others will find it necessary to either roadwalk or flip north to Wyoming.  Or some may complain about 30 miles between water sources, while others have no problem finding water on a more reasonable frequency, depending on the year.   Or some may have to consider their thruhikes complete without hiking through an area because of fires.  One year all of Montana was closed.  Other years most of NM had fire closures.  Reading about different years' diverse conditions gives you a chance to understand that you will have to be flexible and expect the unexpected, but it also allows you to think in advance, "What will I do if the snows came early, or the trail is closed by fire, or the only water source for the day is badly contaminated or broken, or the wind is so bad it blows me off the divide, or I get injured or my partner needs to get off the trail?"  


PS -- my NOBO and SOBO journals from 1999 and 2006 are at our website, as well as a discussion of some of the books, like Steve Pern's that we read before our hikes.
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