canada to mexico on the CDT

CDT Day 164 I just hiked from Mexico to Canada on the CDT 

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29th September

19.6 miles

Fifty Mountain (2658.8) to Waterton, Canada (2678.4) or 4310km

We were hiking towards Canada as the sun started to rise. It was peaceful. No wind and no sound except those which we made as we hiked. The trail descended to a river valley where it stayed for the rest of the way to Canada.

The trail to Canada was uneventful, with the exception of a lone weasel like creature, maybe a Martin, which sunned itself next to the trail. Then there were the suspension bridges that had been removed for the season. We had to ford the deep, cold rivers.

The trail followed Waterton Lake to the Canadian border. My emotions increased the closer to the border I got. I could feel a lump in my throat. All the stress, hardships and pain that I suffered in the last 164 days were released when I reached the concrete monument that signifies the USA/Canada border. I cried. I just walked the whole length of the CDT from the Mexico border to the Canada border. I was proud. It was just Bubbles and I there. I’m proud of Bubbles, an accomplished adventurer. Yet it was her first ever overnight backpacking trip. What a place to start. We celebrated with Tim Tams, a popular chocolate biscuit in my country. They were kindly donated by Ross, thank you.

It was a short walk to the town of Waterton in Canada, a resort town. We celebrated with a large meal and a hotel room to clean up for the night. The following day I visited the RCMP, the local Police, to register as entering Canada. The local officer, Mike, gave us a lift to the border crossing back to USA. We were only in Canada for a day. So I’m back in USA. I’m done with the CDT. Now I’m planning my future adventures, stay tuned.

So there it is. I hiked the CDT. I’m proud of that. It’s a special Trail was was much more difficult than I thought. I would like to thank all the people that have helped and supported me on this trip. Thank you, thank you. Stay tuned. Best regards, Shepherd. Aka, Brad McCartney.

The Best Thru Hiking Trails in the World?
Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail
Hiking the Appalchian Trail
Hiking the Continental Divide Trail
Te Araroa Trail

Thank you Ross for the Tim Tams

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Everything you need to know about hiking the CDT:
Complete Guide to Hiking the Continental Divide Trail
CDT Resupply Guide
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  1. Shepherd, I really enjoyed reading about your CDT adventure. I look forward to someday doing it myself and your blog is a great resource for learning about the trail. I have one question. Your journey was 2678 miles. The official CDT website states that the trail is 3100 miles. To what do you attribute the discrepancy in mileage?

    1. Hi Nate, thanks for the kind words. The CDT is a great trail if you get the chance. The CDT is very much a choose your own adventure type of trail, there are many alternatives that in most cases are better than the official trail. Probably the best example os hiking the Gila River in New Mexico, it is a lot shorter than the official trail but infinitely more scenic. Also, I bailed from the San Juans due to unsafe snow conditions which cut about 50 miles or more from the official route, as did the Anaconda Route further north. Also, there are several versions of maps for the trail, Ley Maps (Awesome, with loads of alternates and info) and Bear Creek Maps (As used on GutHook App). Most hikers use a combination of both maps and very few hikers complete the official trail.

  2. I missed the last 3 weeks of your walk while in Croatia. I’ve got saturday nights entertainment sorted! Lol. Congrats on the finish. What a trip!

      1. I read them last night but my net was playing up and I couldn’t comment. Those last 3 weeks of the CDT sounded brutal indeed. The whole trail seems tough! Big congrats on your success in finishing. Definitely something to be proud of!

  3. Wow congratulations, an epic effort. I have so enjoyed your stories and the magnificent photographs. I hope to one day do a walk like this but the cold on the CDT may do me in! Cant wait to hear what you are going to do next ! Maybe overland from the tip of Norway to Gibralter?

    1. I highly recommend a long distance thru hike. The PCT is a bit easier than the CDT. It would be a much better first long distance hike. Stay tuned for my upcoming plans

  4. Congrats Shepherd! There were many moments that would have stopped most people, but so proud of you for carrying on! Get some rest and then get that triple crown!

  5. Congratulations to you! You’re 2/3 of the way to the triple crown! I’ve read your blog almost every day for the past 18 months or so, and I enjoy your beautiful pictures and stories of adventure. Following your blog makes me feel brave and want to accomplish my dreams of hiking and enjoying the outdoors, so thank you for that. Best of luck to you in your new endeavors, and please say hi to Bubbles. Does she have a blog, too?

  6. What can be said that hasn’t? Congratulations! Came across your blog while planning for our Transamerica bike tour we completed this summer. You inspire me for sure. We almost met you in Wyoming but were off by a couple of days. Good luck in mexico and beyond!

    1. Thanks Greg, I met several cycle tourers in either the GDMTB trail or the trans am when I was in the area. I’d love to cycle both of them one day. Good luck on your next tour

  7. What can I say…. Well done!!!! it´s a huge pleasure to take part of this adventure with you. Bubbles, I´m with you, too… all the best from Lisboa!!! Cheers!

  8. Huge congratulations Brad!, A truely inspirational journey. I really enjoy your blogging style and of course your superb photography; it the perfect combination of both. What am I going to ready over my mid morning coffee until your next adventure?! Congratulations once more and enjoy the R&R. Looking forward to seeing you back on the Nomad ;-) !!

  9. Congratulations! And thank you so much for sharing your CDT adventure with us, it was great to follow you. After some days without news, I would think: ‘Hmm, I wonder how it’s going for Shepherd’, and then usually the same day there would be an update on your blog :-) Have a good resting time, and a big hello to Bubbles as well, cheers :-D

  10. Well done , truly inspiring stuff , looking forward to write up etc . Take it easy and looking forward to the next one.

    1. Thanks Kieren. Yes I’ll be resting fir a short period and I’ll write a bit about the gear and trail in the coming days/weeks

  11. Mate. Big effort. Good job and well done. A joy to follow your journey with all its good and bad moments. Have a rest then let’s see what you can get up to. Best of luck. Roger. Brisbane Aus.

    1. Thanks Roger, yes it was hard work, my body needs a rest. I’ll be back on the bicycle cycling through Mexico in a couple of weeks.

  12. Excellent Brad!!! I’ve been following your journey from its start in Alaska, amazing and inspirational! Your insight and photography so far has allowed us to see and better understand places and people we may never encounter. My wife and I visited Glacier NP a couple years ago and agree with your assessment that it is one of the most amazing places on your journeys to date. Thank you for sharing. Have you thought of when you will return to Mexico and the bicycle trip to Argentina?
    Best regards and wishes for continued safe journeys.
    Don Celing
    Stevens Point, Wisconsin

    1. Thanks Don. I passed through Wisconsin a couple of days ago on Amtrak to Chicago. I’ll be in Mexico in a couple of days. I’ll be resting for a while then back on the bike cycling.

  13. Congrats Shepherd! You truly “embraced the brutality” in the truest sense! What an adventure! Thanks for the great story telling and fantastic photography!


    1. Thanks GoalTech, the term ’embrace the brutality’ does sum up the mental state I needed to complete the hike.

  14. What a magnificent achievement! Your resilience, stamina and bravery are now tested and found up to the job. Have enjoyed your blog very much. Congratulations.

  15. Congratulations on completing theCDT. That was some challenge. We so enjoyed reading your blogs and looking at your wonderful photos

  16. Well done, mate! My wife and I really enjoyed following you this year, just like last year on the PCT. I pray for you good health, much rest, and a boat load of new adventures! God bless, Brad!

    Mike M., Riverside, CA

    1. Thank you Mike, I appreciate that. Many adventures coming up but my body needs a short rest and lots of good healthy food

  17. Well done Shepherd. We enjoy following your adventures. This mission has been stressful to read about at times and I have often needed a cuppa tea and a lie down. Best wishes to you and Bubbles. Glenn and Lee.

    1. Thanks ZigZag and Lee. It certainly was tougher than the PCT, glad I made it. Hope you are both well

  18. Congratulations !
    I am remembering your pictures of NM, Gila, etc at the start. Sun at both ends. What a country, what a journey !
    Thank you for continuously sharing. Waiting for your video and gear reviews. I plan to walk Te Araroa next year, a piece of cake compared to the CDT (and I may break a tooth with that cake).
    Thanks again.

    1. Thanks Thierry, good luck with the TA, make sure you take lots of alternate hikes in the mountains instead of the road walks

  19. Congrats my fellow police officer.. You will never know how much I have enjoyed following your adventures since you first started the PCT. I have been with you now for over 18 months and look forward everyday to read of your hiking adventures.. So glad you have completed this latest hike and are in good health….There are many members of the Los Angles County Sheriff’s Dept. that have also monitored you for this latest hike… Can’t wait to hear of your next conquest.

  20. Congrats Shepherd on this awesome accomplishment my wife Callie and I enjoyed very much following your adventures along the way it was truly a pleasure meeting you in Colorado best of luck in the future

  21. Congratulations! Thank you so much for sharing your adventure and wonderful photo’s. Perhaps the triple crown next year? I look forward to future posts – best of luck to you!

  22. Congratulations Brad! Such a pleasure to follow along with you as I did last summer when you completed the PCT. This adventure definitely seemed more challenging! I can imagine how you must have felt at the end with all the you endured and conquered outside and inside yourself. What a great accomplishment!

  23. Congratulations. I had a good time following along on your journey with you. The AT will be tame compared to this adventure

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