Monday, June 16, 2014

The Next Big Hike

As soon as I got back from the PCT, people kept asking me "what's next?" wondering what I could do to top that.  My thinking at the time was that a new job, a new city, a new life.  Maybe that would do the trick and I could finally make a place for myself, long term, instead of the slow descent into boredom and wanderlust.  Conversely, the PCT seems to have had the opposite effect.  Before hiking, I always wondered about all the incredible places on the planet and if it was even possible for me to do a long hike.  After hiking, I know I can do it and I still wonder about all those places so it simply enabled me to think even bigger. At the same time, I was blown away that trails like the PCT even exist, that you can literally walk on a continuous trail for hundreds or thousands of miles! Imagine all of the effort required to build, maintain and negotiate access for that! So while I want to get back out there, I also want to give back.

Here's a rough plan:

September 4 - 11 - The Wonderland Trail (93 miles)

September 12 - 18 - Volunteer Trail work on the PCT in the Goat Rocks Wilderness

September 22 - Mid November - The Arizona Trail (800 miles) - AZT

Late November - Early April - The Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand (2,000 miles - think hobbits!) - TA

Early May - September - The Continental Divide Trail (2,500 to 3,000 miles depending on route choices) - CDT

That's right, I'm planning to go hiking for a year, including a week of trail work on the PCT.  Not only that, but I will be fundraising for the nonprofit organizations responsible for creating, maintaining and providing information about these trails!  The fundraising campaign is here:

Every year lots of folks hike for a cause and it's almost always an external one - cancer, lukemia, veterans, etc but without the trail those people would have no where to hike!  Few seem to stop and ask where the trail came from and how they can help make it better.  In the case of the CDT, the TA and AZT we can have a pretty huge impact on making these trails better.  They are still being established and better routes through private land are being negotiated or purchased.  The existing trail is often in need of improvement to make access safer and prevent erosion.  The money you donate will support projects to negotiate access across private land, extend conservation land, improve the trail tread and signage and help volunteer efforts for trail maintenance.  No one likes hiking on bushy, overgrown trail and private property rights always have to be respected.  Without these kinds of trail associations, we wouldn't have such incredible places to hike!  So even if you can't or don't feel the need to donate, please share the link on facebook, twitter, google +, whatever!  Just get the word out in the hiking community that the newest trails need help and we're the ones to do it!

I plan on taking a long break after (and possibly before) the Te Araroa to catch up with family and do some fast paced CDT planning since I can't really plan that far ahead.  I will have to keep things flexible and may not end up hiking 100% of all of the trails.  The end goal is to support the trail associations and get the word out about how amazing they are - not a speed record or continuous back to back to back through hike.

You can subscribe to my blog and keep up with updates on the fundraiser and my progress by typing your email in the "subscirbe by email" box at the upper left side of the screen.  Here's that fundraiser again!

1 comment:

  1. I like your willingness to sandwich other hikes into your thrus. I did this on my CDT SOBO thru sandwiching Grand Teton NP and a Teton Crest Tr hike into the CDT thru. This is one of the things I LOVE about the CDT! A CDT thru is still open to alternative routes. I didn't do it hiking trail seamlessly as Tapon did it although from what I gathered by what he said he did a decent road walk(umm maybe hitch) to do it. Tapon did that going NOBO on the CDT using Gros Venture Wilderness trails. He explained what he did well if you look it up. I veered off the CDT proper in Y NP taking the Bechler River TR SOBO to Flagg Ranch. NO REGRETS! Great trail. I then zeroed in and hitched though Jackson Hole to the western terminus of the Teton Crest Tr and hiked east back to Flagg Ranch. Depending exactly on your route you may need to use trails in Caribou- Targee Nat. Forest and/or Jeddediah Smith Wilderness IF you want something trail seamless. From Flagg Ranch I hitched back up to where the CDT proper crosses in Y NP on Hwy 89/191/287 continuing SOBO on the CDT through the Wind River Range