Twig Adventures

2019 Trail Angel Recognition

This is a special post to recognize the many trail angels and trail magic that made my hiking so memorable and cohesive. I’m truly blessed to have had so many positive interactions and made new friends. I’m amazed and humbled by the kind souls that exist out there. Someday I’ll write a book honoring trail angels and this year gave me so much material to work with. I’ve listed the trail angels and their magic by state. I don’t expect people to read every bit of this post but at least scroll down to the bottom just to realize the sheer magnitude of this kindness. I’m so sorry if I omitted anyone or their contributions, and that I didn’t get[…]

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2019 CDT Summary and Stats

For links to each daily post, see here. What a strange, long trip it’s been. The CDT will go into the record books as the thru-hike that never stopped testing, frustrating, enchanting, and forever changing me. It was the best of times and worst of times, all wrapped into a long and incongruous season of hiking. To further prolong the magic, I went straight onto the Arizona Trail only a week after finishing the CDT in Grants, NM. I wanted to get the full experience of hiking from Canada to Mexico for the second summer/fall in a row but somehow fell a bit short in replicating that magical feeling I got at the end of the PCT. That trail was[…]

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CDT to AZT Interim

October 1-6, 2019 For continuity sake, I’m providing a brief description of some of the events happening in between finishing the CDT and starting the Arizona Trail. I decided to hike the AZT because Stellar, my good trail buddy from the PCT, is also hiking it this fall. The timing worked out well and I also like the idea of finishing at the Mexican border without retracing hundreds of miles of the CDT. This way I can more confidently say I hiked from Canada to Mexico for the second summer in a row. I take 6 days off in between, spending about half that time trying to figure out how to get from Grants, NM to Kanab, Utah. Mac graciously[…]

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SOBO Day 98: Grants for the Finish

September 30th, 2019 The Narrows Trail, HWY 117 to Grants, NM Distance in miles: 21 1030-1720 I wake up with no clear agenda for the day. My strategy for finishing this thing is a bit amorphous. I can walk from Grants to reconnect my footsteps or I can try to hitch a ride out to the point where I left off and walk back. There are also 2 ways…a direct roadwalk on highway 117 or the Zuni-Bonita alternate through a canyon and about 7 miles of walking over lava. I had wanted to take the alternate but now I’m feeling lazy and just want to do the road walk. I could just do nothing and call it good. But I[…]

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SOBO Day 97: The Last Mountain

September 29th, 2019 Cattle trough mm 2445.4 to Grants, NM, via Mt Taylor alt. Distance in miles: 34 0610-1900 I’m going to climb Mt Taylor as an alternate today. I don’t need to climb it since it’s not the official route of the CDT but this is my second to last day, so heck yeah I’m going up. I’m treating it like Mt Katahdin on the Appalachian Trail. It’s sort of the finish line. And why not. It’s a tall and prominent mountain at 11,301′. There’s even a registry to sign. Let’s go! Except I’m reluctant to leave my perfect campsite, it’s so nice. I walk the road in the dark, not paying very close attention. Just like that, I’m[…]

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SOBO Day 96: Towards the Finish

September 28th, 2019 Mm 2410.9 to cattle trough mm 2445.4 Distance in miles: 34.5 0610-1800 What a great night and a far cry from the previous one. There’s not a sound, save for the very distant, soothing hoots of an owl. Then as I’m eating my breakfast in the dark, a buzzing invades my space. A single mosquito is trying her luck with me but gets smashed as a result. I have to laugh…a mosquito out here? Where did it come from and what has it endured? And to have come to such an end. It’s tragic. I’m on the trail in the dark again, playing the game of finding the next cairn. I keep my headlamp on its lowest[…]

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SOBO Day 95: A Trail of Rock & Sand

September 27th, 2019 Mm 2375.1 to mm 2410.9 Distance in miles: 35.7 0600-1830 Dogs bark and trucks rumble down the nearby highway all night long. I should have put my earplugs in but I sleep ok. It’s an awful campsite but I would have paid $20 to tent right next to the highway if I stayed in town at the RV park. All the hotels looked a bit run-down and with a few creepy guys sitting outside their rooms, staring at me. No, I was better off escaping into the darkness outside of town. I wake at 4 am, no longer able to ignore the dog’s incessant barking. Seriously, how can a dog enjoy barking for hours? Don’t they ever[…]

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SOBO Day 94: The San Pedros & Cuba

September 26th, 2019 Mm 2340.9 to mm 2375.1 Distance in miles: 34.2 0620-1920 I sleep very well and for the first time in a long while, wake up feeling hot. It’s so warm and also dead silent overnight. Not even the crickets are stirring when my alarm goes off. Some coyotes start up while I’m eating breakfast…they too have a thing for the sunrise. And what a sunrise it is… quintessentially New Mexico. Oranges and pinks reflect off the bluffs, pinnacles, and canyon walls. It’s delightful. Just before I cross a highway, a hiker calls out to me from his cowboy camp. It’s Paha, the guy whose footprints I’ve been following and that the artists told me about. Except he[…]

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SOBO Day 93: Desert Solitaire

September 25th, 2019 HWY 84 mm 8.9 of Ghost Ranch alt to mm 2340.9 Distance in miles: 21.2 plus 2 miles walking through town and on the highway 1245-1910 We get up early since everyone has to be out and about. Chadi takes off first, leaving us her house to lock up. Then Eden arrives to take Relentless to the airport. It’s a sad parting after all this time. I’ve never had a trail buddy for a whole trail and I can’t imagine what the CDT would’ve been like without him. The trail is so hard, being alone too might have sucked. By 7 am, I’m alone in the house and looking at bus schedules. A bus leaves Santa Fe[…]

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SOBO Day 92: Ghost Ranch Taco Tuesday & Santa Fe

September 24th, 2019 Harris Bear Spring mm 25.2 to HWY 84 mm 8.9 of Ghost Ranch alt. Distance in miles: 16.3 0610-1030 It rains a little more overnight but we wake to clear skies. Everything is wet though, and it’s so cold…the kind of cold that is amplified by the dampness. I need a layer for my hands but my crappy rain mitts are still soaked from the night before. I put them on anyways and suffer numb hands. I get such an early start that my steamy breath is obscuring my headlamp beam. I’m not enjoying this hiking in the dark cold morning but I want to get to Ghost Ranch in time for lunch…it’s all-you-can-eat, a hiker’s dream.[…]

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