After editing my book my sister wrote: “I love this book and feel you caught the deep beauty that seeps into you as you hike through nature.” That is exactly what I was trying to convey. I really do love the backpacking experience – with all its highs and lows. On the front cover of this book you will see a weary, grimy, very thirsty hiker with parched lips. The Continental Divide Trail was beating me up and I was hurting. Badly! Within minutes of taking the picture I saw a windmill with its blades spinning in the breeze. When I reached the windmill I drank two quarts right on the spot. The fresh-out-of-the-ground water tasted wonderful. I attempted to thru-hike the Continental Divide Trail in 2014 and hiked all of New Mexico plus the Great Divide Basin from South Pass City, Wyoming to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The snow depth in the San Juan Mountains of Southern Colorado was beyond my ability and ended my hike. I don’t remember feeling overly disappointed. It had been a very enjoyable fifty-five day adventure that left me with great memories. What a fun way to spend my retirement! Come with me as we dodge creosote bushes, cactus, thorny plants, and prairie dog holes on our way through the dry, rocky, sandy, prickly, New Mexico desert. We'll not see another thru-hiker on the Trail for twenty-three straight days – and enjoy the experience. Before falling asleep we'll listen to the mournful cry of a coyote or the piercing call of an elk while gazing up into a dazzling display of stars.
We'll cross the Gila River over 200 times, climb canyon walls steep enough that we won’t want to look down, savor chocolate cream pie in Pie Town, New Mexico, meet kind, generous Nita Larronde and stay at her famous Toaster House, hike through gorgeous sandstone canyons, feel the thirst that develops in ninety degree heat after two straight water sources are dry, slosh through lush green spruce lined meadows in the San Pedro Parks Wilderness, visit hiker friendly Ghost Ranch and feast on their all-you-can-eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, watch wild horses gallop through thick sage in the vast, isolated Great Divide Basin, fight to stay upright while encased in a huge dust devil, posthole through thick snow before Bridger Peak, and experience a white knuckle ride down the mountain to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. These are just a few of the things that made this hike special to me that I'd like to share with you.
After thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and hiking 980 miles of the Continental Divide Trail I have gained experience that has improved my hiking efficiency even as I have gotten older and slower. Through trial and error I have learned what works and doesn’t work for me. When I find something that works, I stick with it. I am eagerly looking forward to thru-hiking the Continental Divide Trail in 2016. The route I have chosen will be 2,850 miles. That’s a long way. I need to use my experience to maximize my enjoyment, minimize the wear and tear on my body, and successfully complete the hike.
At the end of the book I tell about some of the things that work for me and how I plan to use them to successfully thru-hike the Continental Divide Trail.