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For the last 3 days the Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC) hosted the CDT Trail Days in the New Mexican town of Silver City. Rather than head straight out to the trail and start hiking I chose to join hundreds of hikers, sponsors and officials at CDT Trail Days.

CDT Trail Days

So what is CDT Trail Days? Well, the CDTC hosts this event to celebrate the start of the CDT hiking season, celebrate the town of Silver City as a CDT Gateway community, raise awareness for the CDT, raise money for the CDT and generally have a good time in the company of great people. Being part of the thru hiking community means being part of a large extended trail family.

I was rather late in joining in with the celebrations. I spent most of my first day in Silver City buying food, picking up packages and getting organised. It was a day of twos. Two trips to the UPS Store, two trips to the post office and two trips to the grocery store. But I’m ready. I think. I strolled into the Little Toad Creek Brewery. Hikers and people interested in hiking filled the bar. Initially I walked in and didn’t know anybody. Within a couple of hours I met many new friends and had long conversations about all things hiking and the CDT. My hiking buddy Crunchmaster finally arrived.

There were lots of fund raising on this night in the Little Toad Creek Brewery. Sponsors offered so much gear in the raffle that most people walked away with a prize. I won a CDT hat. Yay.

The Early Days

The following day was spent in town chatting with hikers and checking out all the gear displays. Or taking part in some form or another of shenanigans. The evening was spent in the company of Jean. She completed the first female hike of the CDT in 1978. No GPS, no smart phones, no large networks of thru hikers to gather information, no search and rescue. In those days you had to rely on your outdoor skills to get you from Mexico to Canada. Seeing the size of their large pack and 70 plus pounds of gear made me feel very soft, but very happy that technology has allowed a mere mortal like myself to undertake such a hike.

I’m ready to go. In less than 24 hours I’ll be somewhere on the CDT making my way north. I’ll be dropped off at the Mexico border by Crunchmaster’s family who have made the long journey to see him off. I’ll be joined on the drive by Spontaneous, my PCT hiking buddy. Tomorrow we plan on only walking about 14 miles to a water cache that we will stock on the drive south.

Thank You

I must thank the following companies that have assisted me with gear to make this hike possible. Vasque Shoes, Osprey Packs, Nemo Equipment, Darn Tough Socks and Leki Poles. All companies with great ethics that support the trail community. You can follow all the hikers that these companies have sponsored this year on Instagram by following the @thruhikesyndicate. And follow my Instagram @BikeHikeSafari.

To all the people that have donated money to buy me meals I must say, Thank You. I have been humbled by the response. I have used the money to pre-purchase food for this hike. So far I have purchased enough food to get me about 500 miles along the trail. Again, thank you. I have also received numerous queries about receiving care packages / food supplies. Initially I rejected the idea. But if somebody feels that they would like to send me a food package while I hike then send me a personal email on my Contact Page and I can send you further details.

Again, thank you and wish me luck.

Photos of CDT Trail Days

cdtc trail days

CDTC trail days


Terresa Martinez, director of the CDTC


hikers and supporters waiting for the raffle to be drawn


some of the great prizes donated by by some great supporters of the trail


fellow cdt #ThruHikeSyndicate hikers


and again


signed map of the cdt


trade stalls from sone of the great sponsors of cdt trail days. They are also great supporters of my hike on the CDT this year. Thank you Vasque shoes, Nemo Equipment, Osprey packs, Darn Tough socks and Leki poles.


more trade stalls at trail days

PCT class of 2015 reunion


Craziness on the jumping castle. we are all thru hikers on the CDT, including the 8 year old kid Buddy. Yes thats right an 8 year old hiking the CDT. he has already hiked the PCT and Appalachian Trail

Jean Ella talking about her 1978 thru hike of the CDT


CDT Trail Days

CDT class of 2016 group photo

More great hiking stuff:

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail
Hiking the Appalachian Trail
Thru Hiking the Te Araroa Trail – New Zealand

Lightweight Hiking Gear List

Where to buy all the best gear for Hiking the Continental Divide Trail: | |Wild Earth Australia |Amazon

Hyperlite Mountain Gear |
Traveling Overseas to go Hiking?
World Nomads Travel Insurance

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About The Author

Life long lover of hiking and keen observer of the natural world. Former Police Officer and Wilderness Tour Guide who loves Cycling and Hiking the most amazing places on the planet.

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10 Responses

  1. Lee

    Go well Shepard and enjoy the journey! Will be following you every step of the way – from afar!!

  2. Shabu

    Good Luck Shepard!! The pre-hike party seems so much fun with all the supports from companies and the community. I now wish to know more about the CDT and enjoy your blog and Sally’s as well.

  3. Mike Martin

    It looks like the CDT trail days is a lot like the PCT Kickoff. Pretty cool. Looks like you’re going to have good company, too. What a trip! Have fun!

    Mike M., Riverside, CA

    • BikeHikeSafari

      Yeah I think they are similar. I didn’t attend PCT kickoff, I assume it’s similar. I shall try and have fun.


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