6/16/22 Salida CO text – “Hey we made it into town? Gonna get organized and then I’ll give you a call”

Out of Lake City it was a pretty easy day of hiking.  It’s been windy and hazy.  The beetle kill is really bad and walking through the dead trees is nerve wracking due to thinking a tree was going to fall.  The mosquitoes are terrible.   Even though they had bug nets over their face at night, the mosquitoes were still a nuisance and made it hard to sleep.


They got to drink water out of the Rio Grande River, which was a neat.  On Wednesday (6/15) they did 29 miles and then 13 into Salida today.  They got a quick hitch from a guy in a Mercedes Sprinter van, so that was cool to check out.  

They got into Salida around 1:00 and went to the Walmart to resupply.  There was a lot going on in the store and Mouse said they were in there for 2 hours.  If you know Sarah, she doesn’t do well in crowded places, especially when she’s been on trail and is used to nature not people.  Then they checked out Hayduke‚Äôs Hideout.  It’s an open garage with couches, tables, showers, charging stations for electronics and laundry.  They got cleaned up, ate a bunch of food and wobbled back to the highway like stuffed turkeys!


6/18/22 text, “Hello! We are having a lot of rain and storms so we dropped down to a lower trail.  Going to take the Colorado Trail east to get to Twin Lakes.  I think we’ll meet up with Sean there.”  “We slept near Princeton Hot Springs last night near Buena Vista.  We’re just a little damp but it’s pretty warm down here.  We’re gonna try to do a big day today and then get into Twin Lakes tomorrow.” 


Next stop is Buena Vista CO, which is actually a town where they’ve been a few times to watch a movie at the drive-in.  Mouse is hoping to catch a movie while they’re in town (unless you have to actually have a car to enter. 

6/24/22 1038 miles in, I caught up with Mouse and D at their apartment in Breckinridge.  The trail actually crosses the main street of Breck so they got off trail for a few days and walked home.  So it was kind of a reverse vacation. I flew in on Friday to join their little mini-vacation.  Sarah got me caught up on their hiking. 

I guess there was no movie in Buena Vista.  Saun and his girlfriend met them and they all camped out one night.   The four of them cowboy camped (no tent, just toss your sleeping bag on the ground).  They had a cooler close to where they were sleeping and in the middle of the night Sean woke up and saw a bear heading to the cooler, he got up and started saying ‘bear, bear, bear’ and Anna, his girlfriend told him he was dreaming and to go back to sleep!  D was already standing big and Sarah had grabbed her hiking poles to clack them together for noise.  The bear turned and walked away.  Mouse said that’s the closest she’s ever been to a bear.  I think they would have preferred the drive-in movie!!

You can see how close the cooler is that the bear was going for!

6/27/22  I flew home from Colorado Monday and the hikers were rested and fed.  We had a great few days just watching movies, eating, second hand shopping and hitting a couple of local Breweries.  The next day they were packed up and ready to hit the trail again, but then decided to vacation at home one more day.  

6/29/22 text, “Headed back to trail!  We feel well rested and ready to hike again. Talk to you soon,”

7/2/22 text, “Morning, Happy Saturday ūüôā We are currently at Berthoud Pass.  Little slow going the past few days because of storms but clear and sunny today.”

7/4/22 Grand Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park – what a great place to celebrate the 4th of July.  They got to see a few fireworks the day before when they were making their way into the park.


Steamboat Springs, CO is the next town. Then, just a few miles more they’ll be out of Colorado. Two states down and half way there. But I’m getting ahead of the story, stay tuned.

Reverse Vacation

Coming to a finish

8/21/22, Wisdom Montana – Arrived in town and got some snacks and decided to have dinner later, after shower and laundry.¬† They’ll resupply tomorrow.¬† They’ve camped overnight for 3 weeks without having a hotel bed.¬† Not a lot of rain, just a couple storms.¬† But it’s been hot and humid, been doing about 25 miles each day.¬†

The last stretch was a little longer than planed and they ran out of food and depleted all the chargers/batteries.¬† ¬†When I asked Mouse if she was ready to not hike, she said she’s ready to do other things, but also sad not to hike.¬† She also said she just wants to sleep and not worry about a tree falling, lightening or bears.¬† Oh, and she misses Breckenridge.¬†

The last section has felt really long and they’ve been eating a lot of wild huckleberries. D did get his new shoes, so that was good.¬† The next town is Anaconda and they have 580 miles left.¬† They are taking an alternate route so they can walk through the town and not have to hitch.

8/26/22, Anaconda Montana РMouse said during this section they heard thunder strike the ground and it sounded like the earth cracked!  They had a campfire last night with a couple other campers. 

The mosquitos are gone, thankfully and they are just chugging along. The weather has been nice and cool.¬† When they got into town Duncan went to the bar and Mouse went to get a new pair of socks (she wore hers out and didn’t have a spare).

8/29/22, Helena Montana – Got into town and headed to a brewery for some food and a couple beers (a Lewis & Clark IPA brewed in Helena).¬† Then to the hotel and Mouse was so tired she laid on the bed before a shower (usually shower is a first before laying down!).¬† So, after a shower they’ll do laundry and order some Chinese food.¬† ¬†The last bit of this section they took an alternate and got a hitch so it kind of shortened the day.¬† The day before that they did 27 miles on an old section of the CDT.¬† They realized they were going in a different direction away from the trail but rode it out (or should I say walked it out).¬† The plan was to take a shortcut, but that misdirection added on about 5-10 miles.¬†

The weather has been cold, gonna pick up some warmer clothes since they sent most of theirs back and there really isn’t time to mail a pkg with warmer gear.¬† Neither of them has long pants only wearing shorts, and D only has a short sleeve shirt, so they’ll pick up a few items to stay warmer.¬†

They decided once in town they weren’t doing anything, haven’t had a do-nothing day in a while.¬† Heleana is an old mining town and the state capitol of Montana.¬† It’s not a big city with skyscrapers, but rather feels like a small town.¬† They did meet some hikers that are doing the Triple Crown (AT, PCT & CDT) in one calendar year.¬† That’s pretty impressive.¬† This section was only 75 miles, they had overpacked, so ended with one extraday of food.¬† This resupply they’ve packed out frozen burritos.¬† Also added some nuts, donuts and peanut M&Ms

Lincoln is the next town, 75 miles away so should only take a few days.¬† After that they have maybe a 190-mile stretch.¬† Mouse said it definitely feels like they’ve hiked from Mexico and that it’s nice to know they’re going to finish soon.

9/2/22 РI got a call from Mouse with a change of plans.  They found Hi-Divide Outfitters just a quarter mile off trail and decided not to go into Lincoln to re-supply.  The plan now is to do a big 7 or 8 day push of 185 miles and get into East Glacier. 

Their packs are super heavy with food for that many days (lots of potatoes because their dense and high calorie). They’ll be going through the Bob Marshal Wilderness and the Lewis & Clark National Forrest.¬† ¬†I probably won’t talk to her for a week.¬† So . . . . this will most likely be the last blog before we pick them up on the 14th!!¬† Yippeeeee, I’m so excited to see Glacier National Park and my kids ‚̧ԳŹ


Yellowstone

8/5/22 Yellowstone National Park, Old Faithful Village – Hiking up to the park has been wet and cold, getting rained on most every day. They sent most of their warm clothes home a while back.  But still having a good time and this has been a good section. 

They’ve had a couple days of walking through valleys.  Duncan’s zipper on his sleeping bag blew out so they can’t zip them together for body heat at night.  But they did walk by a river that was fed by a hot spring so got to soak in about 100¬į water which warmed them up.  As they got closer to Yellowstone, they could feel the ground getting warmer and could start to see hot springs and steam all over. 

They’ve been seeing lots of horses, frogs and hearing coyotes, but no bears or bison.¬†The day before was long and ended up camping at Grants Village, got showers and had a buffet breakfast. Today they’ve been hanging¬†out at the Old Faithful Villa all day.¬†

They watched the geyser go off about 4 times.  Mouse said thousands come to watch and then as soon as it’s over every one is just gone.

They did see a ‘Beware of Bears’ sign while in the park and in the picture just the bears claws were about as long as fingers!¬† Now they walk listening to books and podcast for noise and yell, “hey bear, hey bear” just to be loud.¬† Mouse said hikers that have ear buds in are crazy to be so quiet. We’ve decided on an end date to pick them up, September 14th.¬† Brian and I will fly up to Glacier National Park and spend a few days, get the hikers off trail and then fly back home on the 15th.¬† They have a deadline because our oldest granddaughter is getting married on the 17th of September.¬† Can’t believe we’re talking about the end already!!¬† Mouse said it’s nice to have an end date to appreciate the time hiking.

8/7/22 Island Park – Did about 15 miles today and then got to town.  When they got off trail they passed a Mexican restaurant and decided to go further to resupply.   Got to another restaurant, closed.  Went to a Subway, closed. So, they ended up at a grocery store and Mouse had 2 burritos and a bag of salad!  They stopped by a gear shop to charge electronics. They were sitting outside and the store closed without them knowing and their chargers inside. Plan B, camp overnight.  They camped at site #100 on the 100th day of being on trail.  For the first time in about a month they cowboy camped and didn’t have to set up their tent because of rain. Weather was beautiful and, the mosquitos weren’t bad.  They got showers and the next day they got their chargers back, so it worked out well.  

8/11/22 Lima Wyoming – Went to sleep at a campground and at midnight it started pouring, so they got up and moved to the laundry room to sleep.  So much rain the past month, probably the reason for the mosquitos as well.  Mouse said sleeping has been rough this week.  They try to cowboy camp, but have had to set up the tent because of mosquitos.  Lima is a pretty small town, so they’ll get breakfast, resupply and head back out. 

8/15/22 Leador Idaho – Before Mouse called, they had resupplied, got pizza and were just hanging out at the Community Center.  They might stay overnight, but hadn’t decided.  There’s a shuttle that will take them back to trail.  Right now, the trail is basically the Idaho/Montanna state line.  Weather has been good, some storms, but nights have been dry.  They are back in the mountains with 3k and 4k ft elevation.  They had a 10k ft climb today.  The hiking miles have been pretty consistent between 21 and 25 miles each day.  They’ve been sleeping in a little later each day.  The nights are cool, but the sun is intense during the day.  The last pair of shoes Duncan got were about a thousand miles ago before they got to Breckinridge!  So, it’s for sure time for a new pair, hopefully they’ll get some sent to the next town.   Later that evening they decided to not stay and get back on trail.

There ya go, getting into the last state!  But, still a lot of miles to go.  Plane and hotel reservations have been made and super excited to get to Glacier National Park.  

Cruising through Wyoming!

7/21/22 Lander Wyoming – Everything going well! Hitched into town with 7 hikers in the bed of a truck.  Weather has been really hot this week.  Half day out of Rawling and they got into the Great Basin.  It was a really cool area.  Mostly a dirt road, but huge space with sage brush, rolling hills and no trees.  It looks like the bottom of the ocean, but super-hot and dry.

They’ve had good walking, close to 30 miles each day the past 3 days.¬† The terrain has been really easy.¬† There is no shade, just baking in the sun.¬† Also, extra dirty because of all the sunscreen and so the dirt just sticks to you.¬† The misquotes are a little better until walking around any water.¬† But water supplies are about every 15 miles.¬† They’re also back to walking with cows, have seen a few Elk and lots of lizards.

It’s very similar to the high desert in New Mexico.¬† Spent the night in a hotel in Lander, picked up Bear Spray, exchanged some worn out socks, resupplied and got food.¬† Duncan left town with a few Pizza Hut pizzas strapped to his backpack to eat later on the trail..¬† ¬†

Wyoming has great sunrise and sunsets

They got their first view of the Wind River area coming up, really big mountains, 13k feet elevation

7/26/22 Pinedale Wyoming – The weather is a little cooler, still buggy.  Mosquitos are the worst in the morning and the evening.  Mouse said she’s killed over a 1,000 and she’s tired of murdering them!   One day they had a good storm going so hiked until about 2:00 and then then once over the pass set up their tent to get out of the elements and just never left the tent again for the day.  They were having lots of loud thunder and hail.  The storm would pass and then another would come.  They’ve been seeing a lot of weekend backpackers.   Ended up taking a side trail and then a 14-mile hitch into town.  There were about 11 hikers in town and they see the same people now.  They’ll grab a hotel, get a good night sleep, resupply and head back out on trail around noon.  Mouse said it’s good to be back in the mountains.

7/30/22 Dubois Wyoming – As they were hiking up north on the trail they could start to see the Grand Teton Mountains in the National Park.  They were about 50 miles east.

Hiked some dirt roads, got a hitch from a couple old guys in a Razor ATV with no back seats (just hung on to the back LoL) and got into town around 3:00 that afternoon.

The town was founded in the early 1900’s and population is under a thousand residents.  It’s a cute little town, even has a bar you can smoke in, which isn‚Äôt cute!

They’ll stay 2 nights because they have a package to pick up at the post office and they got in after they had already closed Saturday.  Mouse said it’s always good to have a day off.  Hiking has been good.  They’re keeping steady with upper 20 miles each day.  They start so early I think they just want to sleep in a couple days.  When they got to town they had burgers, pie with ice cream and then took a pizza back to the hotel.  Both are feeling great, feet are tender but body feels good.  Lots of antelope sightings and heard wild turkeys the night before.  No bear sightings yet, but seeing bear poop and smelling them.  I guess they have a very distinct smell.   Everyone on trail is carrying bear spray.  Mouse has it on a backpack strap and D in his pocket, both for easy access.  They are also no longer cooking in the tent and having cold dinners so the food scent doesn’t linger in the air.  All hikers, them included, are just being super aware of the surroundings. 

Next stop Yellowstone!!!

Half Way

7/8/22 Steamboat Colorado – Out of the Rocky Mountain National Park they had to road walk.  The trail has been closed because of a fire last year.  It’s dangerous because of all the dead trees still around. 

So, more highway walking.  Mouse said it’s still a little stormy, but less wet.  They are still getting rained on every day, but able to walk through it instead of having to go below tree line.  I guess it’s been cold, but she thinks they feel cold because they’re always wet.

The mosquitos are still a nuisance, just always around.  They seem to be better at night, but are annoying while hiking.  They still haven’t seen any hikers on trail, but see them all over in town.  Trail Angels have said they saw about 40/50 hikers in town between July 4th and 5th.  They did get a hotel in Steamboat.  Came off trail and grabbed some bagels then stopped by the grocery to resupply.  They were lucky to get an early check-in after picking up some salads and lots of Chinese food.  Once they checked in, ate a ton of food, did some laundry and took showers they were done and ready to lay around.  After a good night sleep, turns out they were able to get a late check out and had some ice cream for lunch!  They’ve been averaging 23 miles a day and will for sure be able to keep that up and then some.

Mouse said it will be nice to not have to hike up mountains soon.  Yesterday they hit 12,000 ft.  And when you add the elevation together over a short time have gone 140k feet up and 140k feet down!  They have less than 100 miles to the Wyoming state line and will be done with the mountains for a bit, and onto flatlands.

7/13/22 Encampment Wyoming – The third state of the CDT. Coming out of Steamboat, it seems they’ve walked into a bubble of hikers.  They’re seeing a lot of hikers on trail now,  that’s a first since they started.  They got to a road last night around 7:00 pm and there were no cars going by to catch a ride.  A little later, 2 more hikers showed up and then luckily a truck came by and tossed them all in the back.  They all ended up stopping at the Mangy Moose bar.  As they walked in, the bar was getting ready to close up.  They asked if they were still serving food and the bartender said “I don’t want to be!”  But then took pity on them and they had some beers, hot snacks and played a few games of pool.  After that, headed to the Lazy Acres Campground and went to bed.  They were able to take showers and do shower laundry there (wash your clothes in the shower).  I guess they haven’t been rained on for a day and it’s really hot.  The mosquitos are still bad and they’ve been sleeping in their tent to get away from them.

They haven’t seen any animals for a while, but are hearing Elk calling at night and it’s a very strange to listen to.  Sounds like they’re both doing really well and have a good routine down.  A typical day starts around 6:00 am, they take a few nice breaks throughout the day and then stop for the night around 8:00 pm.  Mouse has been really tired recently and every time they take a break, she takes a nap.  She said she has a little more energy now and thinks it was because of the 4th when they stopped to hang out at the lake and have a few drinks.  The only place to resupply was a tiny store, not quite a grocery, but bigger than a gas station convenience store.  This resupply was granola bars for breakfast, nuts, gummies, M&M’s (favorite snack this hike), mashed potatoes, pasta, tuna, peanut butter and string cheese.  When we were on the phone, D was eating a Hot Pocket.  I asked how he warmed it up, he didn’t!  But it was thawed LoL. 

They did have some trail magic of soda and beer. Mouse got to pick up a brew from Breckenridge Brewery where she works!

7/15/22 Rawlins Wyoming РMouse called from in bed at a hotel in Rawlins, said their bodies hurt.  They did 18 miles to get to town and 30 miles the day before.  There was a lot of road walking and it just beat them up and is harder on your body than a dirt trail. 

They took showers, got pizza and were staying two nights because hotels are cheaper in this town than usual.  The weather was hot yesterday and rain today.  They headed back out 7/17 towards the Great Divide Basin, “an area of land in the Red Desert of Wyoming where none of the water falling as rain to the ground drains into any ocean, directly or indirectly. It is thus an endorheic basin, one of several in the United States that adjoin the Continental Divide.” So, lots of flat, dessert area again.  

Her resupply consisted of Lenny & Larry Cookies for breakfast, Tuna w/beans and quinoa, potato chips, mashed potato, Ramen and cheesy pasta!  I asked if there was anything she was craving or hungry for and she said, ‘pizza, always pizza!’

They have walked 1,364 miles and they are over the half way point of the entire CDT! Wyoming has about 513 miles total so they will have it knocked out in no time. As I say to Mouse every time we hang up, ‘have fun, stay safe’ . . . 

Colorful Colorado

I guess the past few days have been pretty hard.  When they left Chama, they were still road walking.

Once back on the CDT trail, there was about 9 miles until they crossed over into Colorado and the San Juan Mountains. 

It had been about a week and a half since they had been on an actual trail because of all the re-routing they had done.   They literally went from flat desert to high altitude with big open fields and mountains all around them, “it was beautiful.” They’ve seen about 7-8 other hikers. Most had hitched from Chama NM to that point on trial because of the fire closures in the New Mexico forest.  Mouse said, “It was a tough few days.”  I could hear it in her voice when she was updating me. They were beat up from going from 0 to 10k feet in altitude.  They camped at 12k feet on a pass, with gorgeous scenery. 

They woke up with frost and on the second day they hit snow.  So apparently there was a choice to be made.  Hikers can go low (no snow) or go high (with snow).  I’m sure you know what Mouse and D choose?  The snow bunnies went high!  Because why walk flat and dry when you can walk mountain ridges with snow??  To quote our favorite movie, “It’s all part of the experience Russ.”  They met a couple hikers where the trail split and they were taking the lower trail, “they just weren’t experienced enough.”  Mouse said they couldn’t have done it without spikes on their shoes and an ice pick.  “There were drop offs and waterfalls and it was a little intimidating” but she said they felt good about it with their experience, also it was nothing like the snow on the PCT.  She said they wouldn’t have gone high without their snow gear. 

The third day it took them all day to do just 17 miles.  They hiked down to a valley and parked it for the night.  Friday (6/3) it started getting slushy and they were beat, but there was awesome mountain hiking and at the end of the day they were 2 ¬Ĺ miles from the ski patrol hut they were going to sleep at.  The next 2 hours took forever because of snow patches and down trees.  D took a tumble into a rock when the trail got slick with mud, he cut up his knee pretty good.

The trail was covered with dead trees from the wind and also there is an infestation of beetles that kill the trees.  At one point a dead limb almost poked Mouse in the eye.  When they were going over the trees, she had a sun hat with a wide brim on and didn’t see all the limbs.  I reminded her about Uncle Pat poking his eye on a branch while he was on vacation, glad she avoided that fiasco!!  Eventually they made it to the ski hut. They were the only ones in the area, no one else was around.  They woke up early and had 3 miles to Wolf Pass to get a hitch back to Pagosa Springs.

6/3/2022 texts from Wolf Creek Pass CO – “We’re sleeping in a ski patrol hut at Wolf Creek Ski Area.  Going into Pagosa Springs tomorrow.  Going to get a hotel room and rest. Should be in town pretty early.  We got slowed down by snow yesterday.  It’s been fun, but a lot of work”.  There is no way to walk down, so you slide!

6/4/2022 Pagosa Springs CO –¬†From Wolf Creek the resupply town is about 27 miles back south. It took them 3 different hitches to get to town.¬†They got to their hotel around 11:00 am.¬† Mouse said the hotel employees were so very nice.¬† They let them check into their room early and even took all of their laundry and did it for them.¬† The hotel has a hot tub and sauna so they relaxed in those quite a bit.¬† They’ll probably order in a pizza and won’t leave the room until they have to check out. There were about 10 other hikers in town, but they haven’t really seen many others on trial.¬† When doing their resupply, they stopped in a gear shop because Duncan’s shoes are totally destroyed.¬† He found another used pair in a hiker box to get him through some more miles.¬† He started the hike in a new pair, but his feet are larger now so he’s gotten shoes¬†donated along the way.¬† In Chama, he sent his Darn Tough socks home, they have a guarantee that if you wear them out, they’ll replace them.¬† He picked up a couple of pairs at a Dollar General and destroyed a pair a day!!¬† So, you can see why it pays to spend the money on good replaceable socks!!¬†¬†Mouse says they’ve been working hard, but feel good.¬† They are close to 100 miles into Colorado.¬† Their next town is either Silverton in 80 miles or Lake City in 120 miles.¬† It will all depend on if they’re slowed by more snow and if they need more food.¬†¬†

6/9/22 Lakeside CO – From Pagosa Springs, it took them 2 hours to get a hitch to Wolf Pass and get back on trail. Once they were on the trail, they only went a mile and then to bed.  Mouse said the next day was good hiking with about 20k feet of elevation.  They didn’t run unto a lot of snow the first day so that was a nice break.  The second day was the hardest because of The Knifes Edge.  From the continentaldividetrail.org “The Weminuche Wilderness in southwest Colorado is regarded as one of the wildest places in the state, the CDT remains at or above 11,000 feet for nearly 70 miles through this halcyon landscape. Loop opportunities abound in the Weminuche and almost all of them tie into the CDT. The Knife Edge is a quarter-mile long shelf built into a shale rock cliff on the Continental Divide. With West Trout Creek a half of a mile straight down and the cliff above practically hanging over you the experience is dizzying. The CDT will top out at over 12,000 feet and afford you stunning views of the San Juan Mountains which hold thirteen 14,000-foot peaks.”  Mouse said they thought it wasn’t going to be a big deal but the trail was a super slope.  There were a couple patches of snow to cross as well. She said it was kinda spooky and didn’t want to fall because it was super steep.  After they made it through that area she was exhausted at the end of the day, mainly from the adrenaline of being scared. 

They hadn’t been seeing anyone around, always just them on the trail.  The third day they saw a section hiker and then the hit the Colorado Trail (which shares trail with the CDT) and started seeing more people.  Mouse said the Colorado Trail is wonderfully maintained and the rest was some easy hiking.  The last day before town they did 28 miles and got to a road, or a parking lot at 7:30 pm.  They saw a truck and thought they had an easy way to town, but he was going the opposite way.  But, in 5 minutes a jeep drove by and took them into town.  He said he doesn’t usually pick up hitchhikers, but hey had so much energy and looked like they were having fun.  

They were tired, beat and needed rest.  The first hotel they tried was full.  As they were walking by a pizza place to the next hotel a guy came out and gave them his leftovers – they must have looked bad, or homeless haha.  I didn’t talk to Mouse until the day after they got into Lakeside. The next morning, she sent me a couple text with a picture of the room from bed, “We will be in bed for most the day today, call when you can.” and then right after that, “We’re very happy to be laying in a bed this morning.”  When I did call, they had been to a bakery and sat outside and ate donuts, a breakfast bagel sandwich and a calzone!  Lakeside is a cute, tiny town with a population of about 400 people.  Alot of outsiders come into town and the locals are outnumbered.  I think they could feel their pain and sympathize with them because the same thing happens in Breckenridge, so they treated all the workers in town extra special.  After breakfast they stopped at a tiny grocery, got 4 days’ worth of food for the trail, went to their room and back to bed!  Later that evening I got most of the previous days hiking info.  They said it had been a lot of hard hiking but they were glad to be back in the mountains and it was so beautiful.  It’s a huge difference than the mountains in Summit County (where they’ve been the past 5 years).  It’s very remote and open.  There were some weather issues, even though they prepared their gear because it looked like a storm was coming. It started sprinkling then came the hail.  They had rain jackets on, but their legs were exposed.  They had to stop and put pants on.  It only lasted about 30 minutes then the sun came out and cleared up!  They did see a bear for the first time.  They saw something moving through the river and first thought it was three small animals, then thought it was a moose.  Finally at about 200 yards realized it was a mama bear with a cub.  They’ve also seen elk, marmots, deer, rabbits a Golden and a Bald eagle.  I guess the hiker hunger has kicked in.  Here is what Mouse eats in a day: Breakfast is a gas station muffin; lunch is maybe 2 pkgs of tuna, gummies and some string cheese; for dinner she has Ramen, mashed potatoes or Chedder/Rice pkg and salt/vinegar chips; for snacks M&M’s and BelVita crackers.  Of course in town nothing is off limits and they chow down on Subway, pizzas, french fries, hoagies, and lately sitting at a bar doing Tequila shots and drinking Corona!!

So they’re 200+ miles into Colorado, about ¬ľ the way through the state.  Next town is Salida then Buena Vista.  They should be back in Breckinridge around the 24th of June and can hang out at their apartment and sleep in their own bed for a couple days.  Catch ya up next time . . . 

Cruising through New Mexico

5/16 text – “We are 14 miles outside of Pie Town! There is a place you can stay on trail called Davila Ranch. It’s like a homestead with running water and power. Got showers and laundry done! Headed into Pie Town tomorrow”

5/17 Pie Town NM¬†320 miles hiked¬†– From Silver Springs they decided on taking an alternate route so they could hike along the Gila River.¬† Water has been scarce,¬† this way they would be walking right beside the river and also in it!¬† The CDT is a little different than the AT and PCT.¬† The trail isn’t completely finished and there are lots¬†of variations and route choices¬†along the way.¬† That’s why the total miles could be 3,000 or it could be 3,300.¬† It just depends on your route and circumstances.¬† Also, there is so much wilderness, back woods areas and extreme weather throughout the journey that sometimes the planed route will need to change.¬† Mouse said the river was a great relief.¬† They crossed the river 205 times! The deepest was maybe to the bottom of her shorts.¬† I follow a few CDT Facebook groups and I read where there was lots of poison ivy at the Gila River, I tried to warn her by text – but too late. She’s gotten into some kind of poison on every hike!

They also came across 2 natural hot springs, so they got to soak a little.¬† She said the water was probably 95-100 degrees. I’m sure it felt good to soak in on a tired body, even with the sun beating down on you. During the day the temperature is 100+ degrees and at night it’s below freezing.¬† They¬†are hiking through a canyon with little sun, so have woken¬†up to frozen shoes and socks a few mornings.¬† ¬†

Flat Grandpa even got to enjoy the hot springs!

As they walked through Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, they saw some of the Cliff Dwellings.

From¬†www.nps.gov/gicl/index.com¬†¬†“For thousands of years, groups of ancient nomads used caves above the Gila River as temporary shelter. In the late 1200s, people of the agricultural Mogollon (Southern Ancestral Pueblo) culture made it a home. They built rooms, crafted pottery and raised children in the cliff dwellings for one or two generations. By approximately 1300, the Mogollon had moved on, leaving the walls behind.”¬†

At the end of this stretch, they stayed at the Toaster House, which is an open house, laundry, showers, food and camp stoves all donation based! 

Leave shoes, grab shoes, old shoes, used shoes!! Sarah’s are up there somewhere on the wall!

So they got cleaned up, laundry, full bellies and then landed in Pie Town. 

Unfortunately, there were two restaurants in town (where pie was served) but both close at 4:00. Sarah said there wasn’t much else in the town.¬† They did have a package sent there because they knew they would be low on food after the 9-day hike and also knew ahead of time there wasn’t any place to resupply in the town.¬† They wanted to get to the post¬†office before they closed at noon to pick up the box.¬† Their friend Sean (Worm), lives in the same area in Breck and is helping them.¬† He’s watering plants, looking after their van and condo, plus they have boxes all laid out with food, new shoes, various types of clothing so Sean can just load up what they need and send it to where they’re going to be.¬† I know Mouse and D really wanted Worm to hike with them, (since they’ve always hiked together) but I’m sure he’s with them in spirit and is helping in several other ways.¬†

Still seeing lots of cattle

5/21 Grants NM  400 miles hiked Pie Town to Grants was all road walking. 

Some (most) dirt road and some paved.  

On 5/19 they hiked 29 miles in honor of Duncan’s’ 29th¬†birthday!¬†¬†

Happy Birthday¬†to my punkin Duncan ‚̧ԳŹ¬†Then hiked 26 miles on 5/20 to get into town that day.¬† Once in Grants, they decided to take¬†a zero (no hiking) so they can celebrate D’s birthday on the 22nd.¬†

Weeks ago I stumbled upon a McBride (my maiden name) road on my map of Grants so I told Mouse to look for it and she did!! The road was also an old Route 66 road.

They said they’ve been doing well and still taking afternoon breaks.¬† Their bodies are tired so a zero day will be great. The threat of wild fires are so high that they’ve shut down several of the National Forests in New Mexico (just because of potential threat, not necessarily an actual fire).¬† Unfortunately, the trail goes through those forests.¬† So now hikers are having to find different ways to continue.¬† Some are jumping ahead, doing a flip flop hike (traveling further North and then hiking south) or taking a different route all together.¬† They could take back roads, but no available water.¬† So they have a few choices and will talk with other hikers and decide their best option. Thankfully they met a trail angel couple.¬† Trail angels help the hikers in many ways.¬† Such as with food, water, supplies, rides, places to stay and basic support.¬† They show up when needed whether you’ve called or maybe asked for help, then sometimes just out of the blue they provide just what you need. “The trail provides” is a constant saying.¬† Mouse and D have decided to do a new road route just west of the trail where things are not closed.¬† Their trail angels are a couple in their 80s who they found in a trail guide.¬† They all spent Sunday driving ahead and placing jugs of water at 20 miles and also 40 miles then drove back to Grants for the night.¬†

After 60 miles, I believe they’ll pick up the CDT trail again.¬† They are going to head out early Monday morning with two other hikers and this water will get them to Cuba NM.¬† Then they’ll all decide how to continue.¬† One of the guys they’re walking with right now is originally from Noblesville IN, which is close to where we used to live and Sarah grew up, so he knew of Alexandria.¬† He also has since relocated to Colorado!¬† Which truly proves that it is actually a small world! They got an early 7:00 am start Monday morning.¬† Mouse text me that they defiantly needed the two zero days, but also ready to get walking again. “Towns always nice, but it’s nicer sleeping out in the dirt LoL.” I believe the next town, Cuba NM, is 100 miles ahead.¬†

5/27 Cuba NM 520 miles hiked (at 630 miles on trail) – They had 3 days of road walking again. Paved, dirt country roads and some ranch land. They had plenty of water from what they stowed away at 20 and 40 miles. A few truckers stopping to ask if they were ok or needed anything and then gave them a coke to drink. They set up their tent for the first time because of some rain. They were 10 feet from the highway and kept hearing cars go by. The next day they did meet back up with the CDT trail which was not closed. This part of the trail was not in a National Forest, but owned by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management). They were in and out of Canyons, walking along the edge. Still so hot, but they did have a few 70 degree days. They got McDonalds in town and resupplied. D got some hand-me-down shoes from some hikers that got new shoes sent to them. Mouse is getting her weird hiking tan lines (like where your socks are or sunglasses on your face). But, they keep pretty covered up with long sleeves because of the heat and sun. Her poison is all cleared up, but she had tape over the spots so that gave her legs a weird tan. They haven’t seen many animals, just lizards lately and less cows. It has been crazy windy and lost of dust blowing around.

5/29 Text “We are staying at an RV park tonight! A nice surprise, they have a store and restaurant, I had some cheese enchiladas and onion rings. Living large here”

5/31 Chama NM – When I talked to Sarah this morning we were actually in Scottsdale AZ, just 6 hours west of where they were! We probably flew right over them coming in. They had spent the night in Chama and were getting ready to go get a big breakfast and some groceries.

Their hotel in Chama. And yes, that is a phone booth haha.

This is the last town in New Mexico! They had a package delivered to the post office in town with some food and snow gear for the Colorado mountains and weather. The weather had already changed as soon as they walked out of the desert. Mouse has a few sore spots on her heel, but no blisters. Their feet have been doing really well. They’ll do 13 miles today and be out of New Mexico!! Next stop Pagosa Springs Colorado. As usual, they are crushing their hike!!

And we’re back, again!

Wow, it’s been 4 years since the PCT, 6 years since the south bound AT and 7 years since the north bound AT. Hard to believe we started this blog back in 2015. If you’re new here and would like, you can stroll way, way, way down to the beginning of the beginning. Or, I can ‘long story short’ and catch you up.

Sarah and I both got bit by the hiking bug back in 2013 when she took a hiking class at IUPUI in Indianapolis.¬† I would drive her to various places that the class met and then we would later go back to hike together.¬† The next couple years we started hiking all the Indiana State Parks.¬† We did a trip to the Smokey Mountains and did a short hike on the AT.¬† The following year she worked for the Great Parks of Hamilton County while attending Cincinnati State.¬† At an event she worked, promoting the parks, she heard a speaker from RRT (Roads River & Trails in Milford OH) talk about the Appalachian Trail and that was that.¬† She came home and announced she was thru-hiking the 2,190 miles of the AT.¬† After much research and preparation, we drove her to Georgia. Her and I hiked up Amicalola Falls and up Springer Mountain, the start of the trail.¬† We ‘released’ her into the woods on her 21st¬†birthday in 2015 and she became ‘Mouse’ (all hikers have a trail name).¬† I met her about every month in a different state. Although she started by herself, she was never alone.¬† She had a trail family and hiked mostly with Vulture and Rush.¬† In August, I flew to Maine and picked her up at Mt. Katahdin.¬† The following spring she announced she was going to hike the AT again, this time south bound.¬† So, we flew back to Maine and ‘released’ Mouse into the woods again.¬† This hike she met and hiked with D and Worm around Vermont.¬† We met them all in Pennsylvania and my mom radar knew that there was more than just hiking between D and Mouse!¬† They hiked quite a bit together, but didn’t finish the trail together.¬† In November we picked her up in Georgia.¬† Once home Sarah and Duncan talked on the phone every day.¬† She got a job at Perfect North Ski Slopes and learned to ski.¬† They would each fly back and forth from New Jersey and Indiana.¬† Then, in March I drove Sarah to Colorado where Duncan had already moved and as they say, the rest is history!¬† Work hard and play harder would describe these two.¬† In 2018 they drove their GMC Safari Van to the Washington State/Canadian border to hike south 2,653 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail to the California/Mexico border.¬† I was only able to join them once in California on that hike, but kept up on their travels from home.¬† So that’s where our blog last ended. Since then They’ve been living in Breckinridge Colorado.¬† Duncan worked as a manager at Carvers Ski & Bike in town and also makes snow at Breckenridge Ski Resort.¬† Sarah worked at Mountain View Coffee, Breckenridge Brewery, and was a ski instructor at Breckenridge Ski Resort. Now they are ‘semi-retired’ and out hiking again and that’s where our story begins, or continues . . . .

Sarah wrote this on the bus headed to Mexico:

“Duncan and I are out on another thru-hike this summer, the Continental Divide Trail. This is a continuous foot path from the Mexican boarder in New Mexico to the Canadian border in Montana. We are starting in New Mexico, and will traverse the continental divide through Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. It will be around 3,000 miles and take us until the middle of September to finish. We start in the boot heel of New Mexico at the border of Mexico. We will hike back to our house in Breckenridge and then continue north to the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and finally Glacier NP. We are currently in Lordsburg, NM after taking a 17 hour greyhound ride from Denver. Today, April 30th, we have a shuttle to take us the rest of the 100 miles south to start the trail hiking north.”

I always knew they would go after that thru-hike Triple Crown of the AT, PCT and CDT. Last winter they decided this would be the summer to tackle the 3,000 miles of the CDT. So, on April 29 their hiker buddy Worm (and Duncan’s best friend) drove them to Denver. They took an Uber to the bus station and at noon left on a Greyhound bus trip to Albuquerque NM. At that point they switched buses and continued to El Paso TX. Another bus took them to Lordsburg NM and dropped them off at 6:00 am at a McDonalds. The start of the CDT is about 3 hours from town and driving the road isn’t recommended for the unexperienced. It’s not signed, not maintained, there are rocks, sand and most who attempt the drive wind up with some car damage. So shuttles are preferred. They were scheduled to shuttle out Sunday morning but ended up getting to go early Saturday evening. The shuttle dropped them off in the middle of the dessert at the Mexican border at the Crazy Cook monument, the start (or end depending which way you go) of the CDT.

May 1, 2022 Crazy Cook Monument – the start of the Continental Divide Trail

5/4/2022 – 4 days and 85 miles later they were back in Lordsburg NM. I got a call and they were doing good, had an awesome start. They had ran into a few other hikers. She said it was really hot and dusty. They take off for the day at about 5:45 am and then take a break around 11:00 when the day gets really hot. After about 4 hours they continue into the evening. Water is scarce, the CDT coalition leaves water cache (gallon jugs of water) and also use some holding tanks or wells. They already have stuff to send back. Duncan’s stove stopped, his sleeping pad losses air and Sarah’s water filter bit the dust.

Trying to hide from the sun!
Flat Grandpa got to join another hike

5/8/2022 Silver Springs 161 miles – They got into Silver Springs after a 13 mile road walk. The CDT has a lot of road walking. Sarah was glad to get into some mountains again. She said it reminder her of the PCT in southern California. The scenery was lots of pines and cactus. They were up about 8,000 feet so it was cooler and had more shade. They’ve been sharing water troughs with the cows. She said they’ve ran into a few more hikers, but are still mostly on their own. Her body hurts a little, but her feet are fine (which is great considering how many mile their doing each day). They do a lot of stopping, eating, resting and taking off their shoes . . . all the right things. They are also sleeping really well. She did say that sometimes she thinks the trail is ‘trying to kill them’ with the heat and dehydration and that ‘this trail is no joke.’ They’ve seen a few dessert bears and lots and lots of cows. They are in good spirits and just need to rest their bodies.

They have about a 9 day hike to Pie Town NM, so their packs are heavy with food. They’ve decided to take an alternate route along the Gila River, then they will have a good supply of water and hopefully be cooler since they can get wet. Stay tuned, this should be quite an adventurous hike!

Southern California – the last stretch!

I can’t believe I’m so far behind in catching up this blog.¬† Why is it the holidays start taking over and then you’re playing catch-up with the rest of your life. . .

IMG_6220

Southern PCT starts around Kennedy Meadows, at this point there are only around 700 miles left of the 2658 hike.¬† So when we last left they were coming out of the Sierra’s and meeting Duncan’s dad and brother.

IMG_6239

October 26, 2018 Walker Pass – Mile 2008

Tehachapi Pass is one of the windiest places on Earth.¬† So now starts the sighting of wind farms, thousands and thousands.¬† As they climb Tehachapi, there are magnificent views of the Mojave Dessert and looking back there are views of the mountains they’ve been hiking. Also water will start becoming scarce.

 

October 31, 2018 Tehachapi – Mile 2092

IMG_6313

Got a call from Sarra today . . . they are getting into more dessert, not many trees.¬† ¬†She said they’re seeing more cool Joshua trees and rolling hills. IMG_6336

It’s hot, feels like 90 degrees¬† There have been long 20 mile water carries. Last water was Kennedy Meadows.¬† Sometimes there’s a water cash, where trail angels leave gallons of water for the hikers.¬† They have been doing a lot of night hiking since it’s so hot during the day.¬† They nap in the afternoon then after the sun sets around 6:00 they’ll hike until 9:00 or so.¬† She was telling me about all the wind mills, 2600 she said.¬† At that point there was a strong wind advisory.¬† They’re still rationing food, going longer stretches.¬† She said Tehachapi was pretty cool.¬† They had been advised not to hitch, but trail Angels have a coordinator to get rides so they had lots of offers for rides and places to stay. However, they ended up camping at a small airport!

 

November 8, 2018, Wrightwood – Mile 2295

The trail is great, out of the dessert and back into mountains.¬† It’s a little chilly when they were at 8,000 ft.¬† In Green Valley they stayed with a couple that had been hosting hikers for about 20 years.¬† They had a huge back yard where you could camp.

November 7, 2018  Palmdale CA Рmile 2238

 

November 19, 2018 Borrego Springs CA – mile 2598

November 20, 2018 Boulder Oaks – mile 2633

Almost to the end.  They are excited and sad, all of the above! The weather has been beautiful and the dessert is cool.  Gonna be a great next couple of days!!

There ya have it – just like that on Thursday November 22, 2018 , Thanksgiving Day, Sarra aka ‘Mouse’, Duncan aka ‘D’ and Sean aka ‘Worm’ finished the Pacific Crest Trail.¬† July 4th – November 22 they hiked 2650 miles through 3 states, Canada to Mexico.

IMG_6433

From here, Duncan’s mom met them at the end and picked them up.¬† After a stay at a posh resort and a buffet for Thanksgiving Sarra caught a flight out of San Diego to our place to catch up with friends/family and rest up.¬† Then Duncan, Sean and Melissa traveled back up the coast to pick up their van, which was left at a friends in Seattle WA when they took off.

We had a great visit, did a few fun things and also just be together.  While she was home I asked a few questions that people had asked me about:

Best part – North Cascades because really big and seeing glaciers that shaped everything was really cool, Walking around Mt. Rainier and the Sierras were unbelievable.

Worst part – the water carries in the dessert

Favorite state – really enjoyed Oregon for the trees and lava fields and really nice warm weather and started cowboy camping plus all the bugs had died!

Animals seen РI saw some bears, lots of deer, couple cougars, cows, scorpion, a pair of animal eyes while night hiking, a tarantula  and a donkey, pot belly pig at a guys house

Hardest area – last 100 miles because all I wanted to do was camp, I didn’t want to hike anymore.

Would you do it again – yep

What’s next– snow sking all winter

How long without water? – I think 30 miles was the longest,¬†How much did you carry? –¬†carried 7 liters at a time through that 30 mile area

Did you have to ration food? – the longest was 10 days hiking when we planned for only 6 and after that we started carrying way too much food so we wouldn’t have to ration again.

Memorable hitch – Probably Bazooka Joe because there were 5 of us crammed into a little truck and he took us out for breakfast.

Favorite Town – Mom says Quincy CA because she was there, I would agree.

Did you see many other hikers? SOBO, NOBO? Not really, we met maybe 30 other south bounders and in Oregon I was passing like 30 a day, it was the peak of NOBO season.

How many zero days? РWe were trying to figure that out, maybe 3 weeks or more.  We took one total week after coming out of the Sierras.

Scariest time – probably when I slipped in some snow and slid down a 60 ft snow field and couldn’t get stopped with my trekking pole.¬† I finally got my pole into the ground to stop me from sliding about 20 feet before I would have crashed into some really large boulders.

How much snow? up north maybe like a couple hundred yard stretches everyday for the first couple weeks.  Then a couple days in the Sierras when we got new snow.  I think we had a really good window of the time we hiked.

Were you close to any fires? Not that I remember, just remember it was super smokey in Oregon due to a fire,  then we had to detour in Northern CA due to a fire that closed the trail.

How many pairs of shoes? 4, but started with a pair I had been wearing a while, got a pair out of the hiker box, wore out a new pair and got the last pair a couple weeks before finishing. So really only 2 new pairs and one of those I only walked a few miles at the end in.

Favorite trail food? roman noodles or a ramen bomb burrito which is ramen, pack of mashed potatoes rolled up in a tortilla.

Favorite town food? pizza and root beer

Did you ever want to give up? Not really

What do you love about thru-hikes? the people you get to meet, the towns you get to see that you would normally never go to, sleeping outside every night.

So you’re all caught up.¬† What a great hike.¬† This one made Mama Mouse a little more ‘concerned’ during a few times.¬† But exciting to tag a long at home.¬† Sarra is going to try and keep you up on her adventures in Colorado or where ever life takes her. They are back working at Arapaho Basin, sking and living in the new van.¬† Life is as good as you make it.¬† We should all be so lucky to live each day to the fullest.

Central California

Holy hiking Mouse followers, they’re through central California!!¬† We’re making plans for the end of the 2,658 mile PCT hike.¬† Not to get ahead of the story, but it’s coming up soon.¬† Here I go again, getting excited and ahead of the miles.¬† First, let me tell you that as I sat down to type this up I couldn’t find all my notes I took when Mouse called, so this might be a picture blog!!¬† I only talked to her a couple times during the central California section since it was so remote, we’ll see if I can maybe ‘wing’ it.

We’re going to start in Quincy California.¬† That’s where I flew out to hang with them for a couple days.¬† Let me tell you, it was no small feet to get there.¬† I flew out from Cincinnati around noon, had a layover in Texas and arrived at the Sacramento Airport around 7:00.¬† Got to my rental car and took off for a 3 hour drive into the mountains.¬† The first couple hours were traveled roads, only went through one town and then hit the mountains for the last hour.¬† It was pitch black, switch-back roads, couldn’t pick up anything on the radio and occasionally I would have to pull over to let a huge logging truck pass.¬† Needless to say by the time I got to the hotel my hands had dug into the steering wheel, I had no idea where I was, I was hungry and had to pee . . . BUT, could not contain my excitement when I got to the room and there was Mouse, D and Worm, all cleaned up, just watching a movie and eating snacks.¬† Quincy was a great, old fashion, little logging/ mining town.¬† No fast food or drive-thru, just good ole fashion home-cooking restaurants.¬† For two days we ate, drank, walked, watched movies and got the hikers cleaned up, fed, restocked and rested.¬† Always the goal when we meet!

 

img_5884

 

Brought Sarra some new shoes, socks and a shirt to replace her threadbare, rag of a shirt she had been wearing since the start in July!!  It was a wonderful 2 days, then dropped them off back on the trail and I started driving through that crazy mountain!  It was a little better in the daylight, but I did have a detour that rattled me a little.

 

September 15, 2018 – Big Creek Road, mile 1393

Back into the woods they go, I fly home and they’re into the central part of California of the PCT.¬†The next big adventure on the trail is the High Sierras.

September 20, 2018 – Donner Pass, mile 1503

September 22, 2018 – Gilmore Lake, mile 1553

 

img_5943

 

September 27, 2018 – Humboldt-Taiyabe National Forrest, mile 1663

img_6033

September 28-October 1, Yosemite National Park

 

Gotta include this wonderful tribute to Duncan’s mom Melissa in honor of her 60th Birthday!¬† How many moms get to be serenaded by thru-hikers on the top of mountains? Happiest of Birthdays Melissa!

Next up was the High Sierras.¬† They packed 6 days of food and it actually took 10 days to get through. She said the last few days they were rationing food and for a couple days all she had was pop tarts and oatmeal. I didn’t talk to her during those 10+ days since there was no cell service.

Around that time when I got her Spot text with the coordinates it showed them no where near the trail. I must admit I panicked a bit.¬† I thought ‘are they lost? If they are do they know they’re lost?’¬† I ended up calling Duncan’s dad on my way to work to see what his thoughts were.¬† Luckily we were both on the same page thinking that they were off trail walking towards the town of Independence.¬† Later that day I got a quick text from Sarra and that’s exactly where they were headed.¬† Duncan’s dad and brother were flying out the next day and meeting them.¬† After a strenuous hike through the Sierra’s they took about a week off and hiked Mount Whitney (just for fun!), relaxed, ate and rested up for southern California.

Folks around October 23rd they crossed into Southern California! I got a call that they were in Kennedy Meadows which means around 700 miles to complete their hike and get to the Mexican boarder.¬† You’re all caught up! Next post we’ll finish the hike through California and the end of the Pacific Crest Trail, stay tuned . . . . Happy Trails!

img_6315