Twig Adventures

The Backwards Triple Crown

First, let’s get the “What’s the Triple Crown of Hiking?” question out of the way. Borrowed from the horse racing world, this Triple Crown is an informal recognition of those that have hiked all 3 of the longest American trails end-to-end. The 3 trails are the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), and the Appalachian Trail (AT). According to the American Long Distance Hiking Association’s 2020 records (ALDHA-West), a total of 482 Triple Crown of Hiking Award recipients have so far been recognized. That means more people have been to space than have hiked all 3 of these trails! Chew on that Jeff Bezos! Money can buy just about anything but it takes some real blood, sweat,[…]

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GET Day 40: The Finish on top the Sandias

Thursday Apr 29th, 2021, 1000-1600 I 40/Tijeras to Sandia Peak Tram, Segment 38, mm 757 15 miles I’d stuck this one out to the end and it was finally time to call it that…THE END. The past few weeks had certainly dragged on, first because of our illness and then so we could align our plans with good weather and our return ride. John, trail angel extraordinaire, was on his way from Phoenix to pick us up but wouldn’t be getting in until late afternoon. We had all day to walk the last 15 miles, which is a good thing since we had stayed up late with Blue and Twerk. We slept in a little, ate a small breakfast at[…]

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GET Day 26: Triple Segments

Monday Apr 12th, 2021, 0700-1830 CDT mile 250 to Duck Canyon near solar water tank, start segment 27, mm 484 30 miles It was our longest day yet on this trail, partly because the cruisey trail allowed it but predominantly because we were motivated to get through a 26 mile dry stretch without having to carry too much water. Our notes told of a fairly reliable solar trough at the beginning of segment 27, so we decided to make that the aim of our day. We’re lucky to be able to do such big miles because it makes these dry stretches much more manageable. I realize that’s not the case for a lot of people. It’s either carry the weight[…]

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GET Day 25: South Diamond Creek & the CDT

Sunday Apr 11th, 2021, 0700-1900 MeOwn complex to CDT mile 250, segment 25, mm 454.4 25.5 miles It turned out to be really warm overnight, despite the forecast. It was good that we camped where we did because a few miles down the trail, we descended 500′ into South Diamond Creek, where there was still frost on everything. Even parts of the creek were frozen and snow lingered in many places. Parts of this valley still felt like fall, with leaves littering the ground and even clinging colorfully to the trees. But as the sun began to filter past the high canyon walls and through the trees, a distinct air of spring permeated the valley. This quickly became the most[…]

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#11 of 20: Mt. Yale 14,196′ & Trail Angels on the CT/CDT

06:30-13:00, Sunday, 8-02-20 CO 14ers: 16 of 53 Distance RT: 10 miles Elevation gain/loss: 5,000′ Starting Elevation: 9,400′ Summit: 14,196′ Rank: 21 of 53 Location: Sawatch Range, Collegiate Peaks, west of Buena Vista Route: Avalanche Trailhead, north on CT, up East Ridge, down Southwest Slopes to Denny Creek Trailhead/HWY 306, Class 2. Companions: Stellar & Sandy I was feeling pretty good after our marathon of 5 14ers in 2 days, that is until the 3rd day. Then I felt like this: After Bierstadt and Evans, the 3 of us had decided to head for Buena Vista for the night. The plan was to hike one of the Collegiate Peaks the next day. After dinner and a night tenting at a[…]

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Completing the CO CDT Red Line through RMNP

Wednesday, 7-22-20 Distance RT: 26 miles Location: Grand Lake, CO Route: Rocky Mountain National Park loop, counterclockwise from Grand Lake Companions: Stellar and adopted CDT Nobo A little bit of background: Most thru-hikers use an app called Guthooks for navigation and trail intel. For National Scenic Trails, the official trail is notated by a red line. Alternates are depicted with different colors (orange, blue, etc). If you’re a purist, you’re always “on the red line.” I took plenty of alternates while hiking the CDT, especially through New Mexico and Montana. But I tried to be a purist through my home state, dedicated to the red line with the one exception of Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) loop. Many CDT hikers[…]

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2019 CDT & AZT Gear Summary

This is a summary post on my gear and stats from my 2019 thru-hikes, combining both the CDT and AZT, since I didn’t change a thing about my gear in between. In fact, I’ve barely changed a thing from my previous 3 thru-hikes. I carried a bit heavier gear in 2019, mainly because I expected some rain and colder conditions. I wasn’t wrong about this. The CDT is high-elevation and therefore a colder and somewhat wetter thru-hike. The AZT was dry but also quite chilly at times, given that we were above 8000 feet during many parts of the trail and also approaching the end of October / beginning of November. I needed my 22 degree quilt and women’s Thermarest[…]

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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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