The main goal of hiking the Colorado Trail was to prepare for the Continental Divide Trail, and I would say that we met expectations when it came to testing new gear and realizing what new gear we need to still research and purchase.
The last few posts have been pretty epic in length, so hopefully this one is a little shorter and is mainly a summary of what we learned from the hike about what we need to learn for the next one.
Currently researching lighter gear for packs, sleeping bags/quilts, and tents, and just in the hunting stage before we start gathering. I’ve already put together a spreadsheet to compare the brands, the cost, and the weight of all that’s out there. Lighter poles, better gloves/glove shells, and new shoes and socks are also on the radar. If we find great deals on lighter windjackets, rain paints and any other clothes, I certainly won’t pass them up.
Is it just me, or is there really not an official guidebook or databook for the CDT? At least not on Amazon? I’ll definitely be emailing Jonathan Ley about maps, we already have the Yogi books, and I’ll have to research other books that I can read up on and/or take with us. Any suggestions here would be greatly appreciated, and I realize that we totally haven’t looked into this yet, hence the complete lack of knowledge in this realm.
One word: variety. I loved all the foods we packed, but we just need way more variety, and need to estimate bigger miles and then supplement in town if necessary. I’ll be looking for more variety in trail mix, salty snacks, meals, nuts, bars and sauces for meals. I don’t think this will be an extremely hard task, especially because food is fun, whether it’s eating it or simply talking about it. Matt’s taking a nutrition class this fall, so I’m interested to see if he learns anything about what we may be highly deficient in on these long-distance hikes.
This one’s a biggy. I don’t want to be bored on the CDT, and we want to stay in touch with people through our website updates and phone calls. Those are very tall orders. We’ll be looking at all kinds of stuff, including an ipod/music device, tablet, solar charger, Kindle, smart phone, etc. Hopefully we’ll have the lightest combination possible. Again, a very tall order.
We may also get a SPOT device, or see if they have an app that we can use on a cell phone/tablet. If the CT is considered well-populated as compared to the rest of the CDT, then we have some lonely miles ahead of us, and therefore a lower probability of medical ease in case an emergency occurs.
Other random things to think about, such as staying at the Glacier Lodge after the finish (dare I even mention a finish that is a year away?), logistics to/from the trail, and keeping better hygiene on the trail. Matt’s cool bathing in streams with his bandana, but I just can’t take the cold water. I’m contemplating taking a baby wipe for each day in order to stay cleaner, but really hate to add the weight. Cold streams may be in my future.
Lastly, thanks to Andrew Skurka. In my opinion, he is a total badass hiker who has written a fantastic gear guide. I’ll be reading that again as we prepare for the CDT.