The 64 Day Countdown Begins

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Budding Buckeye

Yesterday, the rushing Robinson Creek bounced its poetic words full of cheer and wonder off the canyon walls. What was a nearly stagnant, algae-filling water source two weeks ago has found new life. Nothing like a little downpour to get this life blood flowing. Here on Smart’s Mountain we got about 8.5 inches of rain in 4 days. Not too shabby considering that Spring appeared to be in full swing with warm days and buds popping. Check my Instagram for a video of the raging RC during the storm.

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Indian Paintbrush Patch

Yep, you read that right. 64 days until I leave for this CDT thing. So basically I’ve got 2 months to get my ass in gear. Things are looking up though – the ass is shrinking (don’t worry, I’m saving some for the trail), final gear decisions have been made, maps and POIs are loaded on my garmin (which was a fucking fight the whole way), podcasts and music downloaded, remote uploading of pictures figured out, reading divide books like Where the Waters Divide (thanks to the free public library), realizing I’m going through Yellowstone and will walk right by Old Faithful and untold geologic wonders, and thinking about grizzlies and moose and bison. Grizzlies??!!

For me, so much is unknown about the CDT. And I’m the kind of person that likes to know. This trip into the unknown is good, a lesson in waiting and reminding myself that the trail provides. The answers will become clear and there will be questions that I hadn’t even thought to ask. I’ve been reading about Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks and I can hardly believe that I’m going to walk through there. Is this shit for real? Hydrothermal pools and geysers, grizzlies, moose, bison, wolves, black bears, big horn sheep, elk, mountain goats. Yellowstone is home to the largest concentration of mammals in the lower 48 and the largest concentration of active geysers in the world. A wonderland, just waiting for me to pace through it! I feel a certain sense of honor in seeing this place of my own power and not from a car window.

I had the flu a few weeks ago which spotlighted why my body is so good at maintaining weight while thru-hiking. I had a high fever for several days which kicked my metabolism into gear. I shed 5 pounds in 4 days even though with the same diet, I had shed 5 pounds in the previous 3 weeks. When my fever broke, my body temp returned to its post-cancer normal where it hovers around 97 degrees. Although cold temperatures are my achilles heel on trail, it is my lower body temp which slows my metabolism and causes my body to hang onto calories. I’ll be cold and sometimes lethargic but not at risk for getting too thin. I’m still trying to decide if this is a good thing.

Road Mirror Reflection
Road Mirror Reflection

The real task for the next two months is walking. To get in as many training hikes as possible. Not that I have to hit the CDT running but lets face the facts. I’m going to be walking at least 2,800 miles (if not more) and I want to do it in about 4.5 months. That’s more miles in a shorter period of time than either of my PCT thrus. I feel confident that I know how to manage my fused toe and will not be derailed from the trail EVER AGAIN! After a few rough calculations, I hope to average 22-23 miles a day (excluding zeros) in order to make my early September finish.

Let’s go for a hike!

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