Continental Divide Trail #34: Epic Finish!

You may recall from CDT posts #3 and #4 that our son, Philip, hiked with Og for his first week of the Continental Divide Trail in April 2015 from Crazy Cook on the border of Mexico. They trudged north across the New Mexico desert in searing heat with little water and undefined trail, but had a blast, of course. As Chief Resident in Ophthalmology at USC in Los Angeles, Philip couldn’t get time off to finish with Og last August as he made it to Canada. So it’s even more meaningful that Philip was able to complete Og’s final week with him this September 2016, in the formidable Weminuche Wilderness, previously impassable with deep snow. 


The mountains of the Weminuche Wilderness are the most remote on the whole CDT, and, between 11,000 and 13,000 feet, among the highest. 


The weather window to hike the Weminuche is narrow. Last winter’s snow had finally melted, but Og and Philip had snow their first night out, then storms with heavy rain, hail, and sleet for part of most days/nights after.


They hiked more than twenty miles a day. Given the steep climbs and descents on difficult terrain, Philip, who sailed through five Ironman triathlons, said “The Weminuche is the toughest physical challenge I’ve ever faced!” 


Route-finding was especially difficult, and they got lost at least once a day. 


The views from the alpine tundra were spectacular, though!


The sunsets allowed for deep reflection. 


Almost out of food on their fifth day, they raced to their final destination at Elk Park, where the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad train picks up the occasional backpacker who flags it down in the wilderness. 


Here we are, Og, Intrepid, She Who Must Be Obeyed (see CDT post #33 for the story of our trail-names), and Philip, in Durango celebrating the end of a 3,100-mile journey on the Continental Divide Trail. 

Thank you deeply for all your support, cheering us on every step of the way. We keep you in our hearts as Og, Intrepid, and She Who Must Be Obeyed head for a week-long silent meditation retreat on our way home, to absorb the profound transformation of our wilderness experience.


 

Continental Divide Trail #23: OG in the BOG!

We’re back on the Continental Divide Trail for the 800 miles from northern New Mexico to southern Wyoming we leaped over in 2015 because of the impassable snowpack! We started at Hopewell Lake, NM where we left off. I hiked in with Porter (trail-name Og) for several miles, then back out by myself to drive to Pagosa Springs. 


Og continued north toward Cumbres Pass, CO.

The days were warm, but the nights so cold that the battery not only on his phone but his back-up battery to recharge it both died. Without his phone, he had no app (Guthooks) to find his way on the CDT. Map and compass were of insufficient help because snowmelt had obscured the trail in wide, deep bogs. It gets worse: the bogs swallowed his fine trekking poles and prescription sunglasses.


While Og was lost in the bog, I was in the Pagosa Hot Springs, clueless without a message from him via his phone Bluetoothed to his InReach satellite tracker.


As planned, I drove from Pagosa Springs to Cumbres Pass, and hiked in to meet him. Of course, he was nowhere near the CDT, so I eventually turned around on a windy ridge.


But Amber, bless her heart, figured out how to make Og’s and my respective InReach satellite trackers talk to each other even without Porter’s phone!


Resourceful thru-hiker that he is, Og eventually found his way out, and I drove down the highway until I found him. We celebrated over dinner in Pagosa Springs.   Thanks for all  your good vibes–they’re working!


 

Continental Divide Trail #19: Susie Lindau’s Fitness Challenge!

Amber and I accepted Susie Lindau’s Wild Rider Fitness Challenge to get fit through outdoor adventure! Readers of my book, I Promise Not to Suffer: A Fool for Love Hikes the Pacific Crest Trail, know that I lost 22 pounds on 7,000 calories a day while hiking the PCT. But as trail angels supporting my husband Porter’s hike of the Continental Divide Trail, 3,100 miles from Mexico to Canada, we gotta have our own adventures while driving hours from trail-town to town and partying on the road.
We hiked in the Wind River Range of Wyoming!

Because hotel breakfasts.

We swam in hotel pools in Colorado.

cBecause margaritas in New Mexico!

We practiced yoga overlooking a river in Idaho.

Because hot fudge sundaes everywhere!

We climbed high passes for this view of the Tetons.

Because chocolate!

Amber and I recovered from our adventures in hot springs from New Mexico to Montana. Thanks, Susie! Fitness is a tough job but someone’s got to do it!