Twig Adventures

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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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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