Preparing for the CDT

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Preparing for the CDT hike could not have gone much worse. For the last several weeks I suffered the effects of bronchitis. I just couldn’t seem to shake it off. I was tired and weak. As a result I was unable to throw my backpack on to do any training hikes. My hiking legs will be severely tested in the first weeks of the hike. Not ideal but I’m confident that I’ll be ok.

I had a couple of logistical problems to deal with. Most, but not all of my gear was shipped to my friends in Canada. Up until about 6 weeks ago I had planned to start my hike of the Continental Divide trail from Canada. Heading southbound, SOBO. My gear arrived in USA and I was ready to go.

I flew to San Diego from Mexico City. The plane was late in departing. It was then unable to find a place to park at San Diego airport. And I was the last person off the plane. Unlike my previous visits I was questioned at length on my arrival to USA. Seems that some people fail to believe that other people choose a life of adventure instead of a life on consumerism and debt. It was a long day.

I was long in San Diego when I met a group of hikers in route to the PCT. We spent the evening consuming beers and chatting about all things thru hiking. Good luck to Maggie, Mark, Jon and Julie on your hike.

I took a bus from San Diego to meet some good friends in La Quinta, California. When I arrived it was like Christmas. There were several boxes of really cool hiking gear waiting for me. Doug and Marilyn looked after me really well.

Doug and I managed to find time to take two hikes in in the mountains nearby. One 7 mile hike on the foothills of Mt San Jacinto and another up a mountain in nearby Joshua Tree National Park. But I couldn’t stay any longer, New Mexico was calling me.

La Quinta
Doug and I hiking on the foothills of Mt San Jacinto. La Quinta in the background. And I’m wearing my PCT completion medal
Joshua Tree NP
Cactus Flowers at Joshua Tree National Park
Mt Ryan
Mt Ryan in Joshua Tree NP

It was just after midnight when the Amtrak Train pulled into the lonely station at Palm Springs. I don’t think the locals know there is a passenger train station there. Myself and one other person were the only people boarding the train. I quickly settled into a seat. I was able to spread out as the train was quite empty. I must have been very tired because I slept for a good 6 hours on the train. I woke to an almost full carriage. A lot of people must have boarded the train at other stations further along the line.

Preparing for the CDT
Blurry eyed

I reached the train station of Lordsburg, New Mexico. I had a message on my phone that my old hiking buddy, Stone, was there. We met up for only a short period of time as I had to make it to Silver City. I had a hotel booked and needed to start preparing some resupply boxes.

I waited for 3.5 hours on the side of the road trying to hitch hike. It seemed hard for me to get a lift. Finally a truck driver pulled over and gave me a 45 mile lift to Silver City. The town is hosting the Continental Divide Trail Days. I look forward to catching up with some old friends and meeting new friends.

Stone, Justin, Radar and Shepherd at Lordsburg

Read next: CDT Trail Days

Everything you need to know about hiking the CDT:
Complete Guide to Hiking the Continental Divide Trail
CDT Resupply Guide
CDT Gear List

The Best Hiking Gear at the Best Prices :
Backcountry.comREI | | Amazon |
Hyperlite Mountain Gear | Patagonia | Feathered Friends |

Nemo | VasqueSea to Summit | Enlightened Equipment |
Traveling Overseas to go Hiking?
World Nomads Travel Insurance

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  1. Sorry to hear you got shaken down by customs. Guess they’re mistaking hiker trash for terrorists now. Oh well,,welcome back to the USSA. Can’t give you much advice on the CDT, but if you liked Mt. Whitney, you will love the Colorado 14ers. Otherwise, watch out for rattlesnakes, rednecks, lightning storms and grizzlies. Best of luck to you.

    1. Thanks Bear Bait. This time last year we had only 1 sleep till the start of the PCT. Great memories.

  2. And so it begins…….

    Good luck, mate. Be safe, enjoy the hike. The blog is gonna be great!

    Mike M., Riverside, Ca

  3. Sorry you’ve been ill and hope you’re back to 100% soon! I am on the edge of my seat waiting for your CDT posts. Out of the handful of PCT blogs I read last year, yours was my favorite. Such beautiful photographs and so well-written. I haven’t found any so far yet this year that I really love, but I’m giving it time! I am so happy for all of you adventurers who are able to chase your dreams. Maybe my time will come someday.

    1. Thanks Heather. I’m back to 100%, but I’m not trail fit, so it will be a slow start. 2 more sleeps. I’m sure there are plenty of great pct blogs. I must admit to being very focused on the CDT so I haven’t looked at many. Except my friend Sally who is hiking the PCT this year.

  4. I sense some beard envy in that last pic. Hope your strength has returned, consider the rest as necessary pre-start tapering. Too bad we just missed you in SD; Sally has a head start in your race North!

  5. Greetings from California. Have fun, buddy! You, hands down have one of the best blogs around! Been following since your PCT hike. Looking forward to your updates on the CDT

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