17th May

0 miles

Cuba (519.8)

We had all the best intentions of hiking out of town after lunch. We started packing. I mentioned that I was still quite tired. Next thing you know we decided to stay another day and rest our aching bodies. Oh, and maybe the crappy weather helped the decision.

The town of Cuba, New Mexico is a rather uninteresting town. Talking about uninteresting, that’s how I would describe my day. Well, there were a couple of nice meals but that was it.

While my day was uninteresting my thoughts and conversations with other hikers were not. In the coming weeks the trail will start to become rather serious. Lots of snow, unstable weather and a serious challenge.

Some hikers bravely state they are hiking through the snow and weather. Others talk of easy options like resting for a couple of weeks, taking easier roadwalking options or skipping ahead to the end of the trail in Canada and walking south.

So what are my thoughts. Well, I feel a little bit like Luke Skywalker. I’ve already completed the PCT, which is like the movie Star Wars. I learned my Jedi hiking skills and did battle with the trail. I went from a normal person to somebody who learned the skill of they hiking.

But hiking the CDT is like The Empire Strikes Back. I know I must face Darth Vadder. For me, Darth Vadder is the snow covered, difficult mountains of southern Colorado, the San Juan Mountains. It will be difficult but I trust that the skills that I have faithfully learned will see me triumph.

So there you have it. The sequel is rarely as good as the original, as many people say. Tomorrow I begin a journey of only about 150 miles that will see me enter Colorado. My Darth Vadder.

my talented hiking buddy Spontanious is also a cool artist


Next – Day 31 Into the Cold Mountains

All the tips you need to hike the CDT : Continental Divide Trail

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12 Responses

  1. Anthony Bonanno

    Hey Brad, congrats on your completion of the TA Trail!
    I am getting ready to do the CDT and was wondering if you remember the snow conditions that were predicted and actual for this year. And did you bring your snowshoes? I am at that point where I need to get my snow gear ready for shipment and I have a lot of conflicting info on snowshoes.

    Cheers,
    Tony

    Reply
    • BikeHikeSafari

      When I hiked on 2016 it was am average snow year but according to locals it was a late melt/run off season. Cold temps and lots of clouds slowed the melting process so the snow levels stayed high for longer than normal. Gear up with extra clothing and waterproof boots is my recommendation, even if it’s only for 1-2 weeks. Its hard work on the body going through the snow. I borrowed snow shoes from a local in Charma, NM. I just asked around town in all the businesses and found a guy to rent them to me. I posted them back to him after about 2 trail towns. Snow shoes were a necessity in the year I went through. Honestly, you will not know until it’s almost time to hit the high mountains. Good luck, it’s a crazy trail. Embrace the brutality.

      Reply
  2. Hobbes

    Hi Brad, looks like you’ve been busy since we met in HB last fall. El Nino delivered some great waves as well as a good amount of snow in the Sierra this year. I took up a hike up to Whitney last week:

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-qG-xpRHFz1o/Vz4xKgbAgkI/AAAAAAAAB_M/qrjZGsxEUGgZYwdR6WZyCLda494lvafPACCo/s912/20160513_063649.jpg

    Not sure if the San Juans have similar snow depths/conditions. I wore light GTX mountaineering boots, but only put on crampons & used an ice axe for the section leading up to Trail crest (above the centerline of the tent) @ 13,600′.

    All the rest of the time it was easy to simply walk on top of the snow without postholing, as long as you were traveling from just before dawn (around 4-5am with headlamp) until around 10am. After that, the snow got a bit softer, but still remained somewhat firm:

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-XBB63KyqiLs/Vz4yuKPbkjI/AAAAAAAAB_Y/5qlej_1MDswC96qDCzTaksyR-N6LXTaewCCo/s912/20160513_074847.jpg

    Are you thinking of taking snow shoes? One thing I can definitely recommend are knee high gaiters. They help keep your feet a little bit drier, but they really shine when you post hole: (a) the bottom strap helps keep your shoes one; and (b) the heavy nylon helps protect your shins when you crash down on of/next to sharp rocks lurking underneath.

    Gloves, tights, adequate bag and you should be good to go. Good luck!

    Reply
    • BikeHikeSafari

      Glad El Niño dropped some snow, water and waves on California. We are gearing up for the snow. Waterproof boots, gaiters, microspikes, extra clothing, winter gloves, ice axe. No snow shoes at this stage. But the snow is still falling so we may reassess.

      Reply
  3. Margaret Buckles

    Stay together through the Darth Vader challenge. I did read about the quiet many found expired in the environment he loved but perhaps if he was with hiking buddies they might have figured out how to survive. I know when our number comes up that is the end of the trail. good luck and thank you for sharing your journey.

    Reply
  4. Heather

    Will you continue hiking with your trail buddies or hike on your own if they make a different choice? They seem like a couple of great guys to share this adventure with.

    Reply
    • BikeHikeSafari

      At this stage we are going through the snow. We all have similar levels of experience and equipment. They are both great guys

      Reply
  5. Mike

    Will you be blazing the trail through the snow or are there others ahead of you?

    Reply
    • BikeHikeSafari

      At this stage I’ll be going through the snow. Many ahead have been turned round by the extreme conditions. It will not be easy

      Reply

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