Continental Divide Trail #30: Fire, Storms, & Old Friends

Og (aka Porter) messaged me late one night from his campsite in the Rabbit Ears Range to say he saw and smelled smoke, and was there a fire near him? I sprang into action from my hotel room and learned a lot about how to research fire activity, especially through an invaluable site called Inciweb. The Beaver Creek Fire was raging north of the Continental Divide Trail near the Colorado/Wyoming border, 35,000 acres, 12% contained, expected to burn into October.

Fortunately, air and ground fire crews were maintaining the perimeters, while letting the vast interior of beetle-killed trees burn. Also, it’s monsoon season in the Colorado mountains, and the heavy rains help. Og works hard to find a campsite each evening with slopes on all sides to channel the pelting runoff from late-night storms.

He’s making great mileage over spectacular mountains, here in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness.

Remember Tom and Sheila, our hiking friends in I Promise Not to Suffer: A Fool for Love Hikes the Pacific Crest Trail?  Sheila is trail-angeling Tom as he hikes south on the Continental Divide Trail this summer, just as I’m trail-angeling Porter as he hikes north, and we met while picking up our respective husbands at the Seedhouse trailhead! We hadn’t seen them in years. Here we are celebrating over dinner in Steamboat Springs.

The big excitement in Amber’s life is getting to stay at the Rabbit Ears Motel, because the sign is pink like her and has a bunny on top!


Continental Divide Trail #28: Yogi, Rockstar Thru-Hiker!

So I’m descending 12,000-foot Mount Flora, solo after leaving Og (aka Porter) to continue north on the Continental Divide Trail.

“Gail?!” a woman calls out behind me. Who the heck could I possibly know out here? And I’m like, “Uh, ya, and you are?”

“Yogi,” she says. “I met your husband up the trail and he said to watch for you.”

“THE Yogi?” As in author of Yogi’s Pacific Crest Trail Handbook, Yogi’s Continental Divide Trail Handbook, and Yogi’s Colorado Trail Handbook, the definitive guides to the trails and trail-town resupply stops that pretty much every thru- and section-hiker, not to mention trail-angel, can’t do without?

She smiled modestly. This of Yogi and me is one of the pivotal photo-ops of my entire hiking life. 

Yogi is completing her second Triple Crown–thru-hikes of the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trail.

“Do you need a ride from the trailhead anywhere?” I asked.

“Winter Park,” she said. “But that’s the opposite way from where you’re going.”

“I am totally taking you to Winter Park,” I said. 

She lifted her pack into Angel2, my Trail-Angelmobile.

“What’s your base weight?” I asked. As ultralighters with pack base weights of 12 and 11 pounds for Og and me, respectively, on the Pacific Crest Trail, and 8 pounds for Og on the Continental Divide Trail, I was bursting with curiosity.

“I don’t know, I don’t weigh my pack,” she said.

Say whaaaat? On our drive to Winter Park, we talked about what she carried–a real, enclosed tent, in contrast to our 7 oz. tarp, a significant sleeping pad, all kinds of gear that I could never manage. But look at her legs! She’s solid babelicious muscle.

Over lunch in town, we talked about navigation (she relies on map and compass, in contrast to so many, including Og and me, who now use Guthooks and similar apps), nutrition, and other things that would make you ask “and you’re telling me this because?”

Dedicated to the well being of a national community of hikers, Yogi assiduously gathers, updates, and publishes the essential info about the trails and resupply towns. I feel I speak for the larger thru-hiking community when I say I simply cannot imagine how we’d prepare for and succeed on our PCT, CDT, and CT hikes without Yogi’s generous sharing of her extraordinary gifts, knowledge, and hard work. Thank you, Yogi, with a deep bow of gratitude, and an outpouring of appreciate Love!

For Yogi’s absolutely invaluable guidebooks and other products:

Continental Divide Trail #13: Wind River Range, WY!

“The Continental Divide Trail is by far the most challenging outdoor adventure I’ve ever attempted,” Porter says, “and the Wind River Range is the most challenging and magnificent part of the CDT thus far.”

“I forded lots of wide, deep creeks, and prepared to swim with my pack on my back where the current was fast.”

“The snow above 10,000 feet in elevation was so deep that I often sank up to mid-thigh. I listened for the gurgle of icy creeks beneath. Navigation was tough because the trail was hidden under snow.”

Gail and Amber drove deep into the Wind River Range to meet Porter for his resupply.

We stayed in this wonderful cabin at Big Sandy Lodge, so remote there was no electricity, internet, or cell coverage–just plenty of time to hike and meditate. Natasha and Wes took great care of us, and Natasha made delicious breakfasts, bagged lunches, and dinners.

Porter arrived, and we opened a killer Malbec to drink from under our mosquito head nets.



Here are Gail and Amber hiking their own hike in the Wind River Range.

We were recently interviewed by the international Adventure Sports Podcast about both our Pacific Crest Trail and Continental Divide Trail adventures:


Meditation Freedom podcast, interview of Gail Storey

Gail Storey, photo by Lincoln Hauser

This is one of the more unusual interviews I’ve had, thought some of you might be interested, about my checkered spiritual past from the 70s through what really happened within while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. It would be great if you could leave even a brief comment on the podcast post itself:

Thanks, and warm wishes for your own adventures, interior and otherwise!

The Making of a Thru-Hiker, Part 7: Gourmet Feasting on the Trail

My seventh post for “The Making of a Thru-Hiker” (in Women’s Adventure Magazine): Gourmet Feasting on the Trail

Gail's cafe mocha on the PCT

Gail’s cafe mocha on the PCT

I had my doubts about how well my husband, Porter, and I would eat on our hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, 2,663 miles from the border of Mexico to Canada.

“I’m a gourmet cook in the wilderness,” he said.

For the rest of the article, see Women’s Adventure Magazine: