LATEST UPDATE 8/2/19
Sarah Calhoun’s Red Ants Pants Festival left me in awe. Not only did this woman I know start a business selling workwear for women, she turned it into something so much bigger than that. Her commitment to empowering girls, women young and old, and the community is to be more than lauded, and is. You can hear it in the kind words Montanans have to say about her and see it in the support from old Gettysburg colleagues who come to help with the festival each year to the mayor and county commissioners. She also introduced me to The Git Up by Blanco Brown- new favorite song!
It was tough leaving Montana, but I had some work to do before LOB could drive me further south. I had 55 miles to cover that I had skipped to keep my schedule. Then on to Rawlins and another visit from more East Coasters- I’ll be very spoiled!
LATEST UPDATE 7/26/19
I made it!!! I covered a lot of territory over the last few weeks and played the song in this video almost daily to boost my spirits and my pace! I’ve always thought about this song as my mantra, but man, there were certainly times where I got in my own way! I got to the border midday on the 26th and felt pretty darn good. With my passport in hand, I proudly crossed the border and then hitched to Babb to meet up with Lauren! I’m so relieved, yet looking ahead with a bit of caution of what’s to come in CO!
As I get myself ready to walk through the Bob Marshall Wilderness, I daydream about seeing my friend, Lauren at the border, but I’ve got to get there first. These next 10 days need to go perfectly- timely hitches, no knee pain, no ankle swelling, perfect weather, easy permit transactions in Glacier, and 22-25 miles a day…. Let the s**tshow begin!
I’ve been walking along the road since Bannock Pass to give my knee a little break and get some phone time with Mom! Because I know I’ll be near an outlet, I’ve been screaming through my Game of Thrones audiobooks as well! I’ll put a few more miles in on the 4th and then head up to Sula, MT for some supplies and then back on the trail! Happy 4th of July!!! XO
I had been looking forward to my visitors since about April 18. I was so excited for their arrival and for them to get a taste of the CDT. I’m not going to say the CDT threw ‘everything’ it had at my East Coast friends because there is always more brutality to be had, but man, I felt like we came close. We had it all today... Thigh-deep river crossings, masses of mosquitos, hot sun, cold rain, a hail storm, hard snow, soft snow, thigh-deep postholing, marshy, knee-deep bogs for miles, log crossings, a one ton bison encounter, and handsy geysers. We had every season, every element. The fire came in the form of boiling outbursts from within the caldera.
However, these rough and tumble Philadelphians withstood ALL of it. I’ve had some rough days, but to have every trail condition in one 12 hour period was INTENSE. I was not only so grateful to have these guys come all the way out here to support me and love me, but that they battled through such a crazy series of conditions and were still smiling after it all, made me tear up! Brent, Michelle, and Mardi, thank you so much!!!
Getting the logistics confirmed to get to Wyoming from Cumbres Pass was the easy part. Hiking the actual trail has proven tougher than expected. The Great Divide Basin was very desolate yet gorgeous with beautiful sunsets and prancing antelope and wild horses, and the ability to see for over 100 miles, literally. The Wind River Range stood in the distance, strong and proud… and very snowy. A few other hikers traveling SB said there was too much snow, but I didn’t want to believe it, even though I could see it. I decided to focus on the task at hand, the Basin, and would look over maps for alternate routes at the next rest day. A few of us hikers- Shiloh and Nascar, made good time time and arrived at Atlantic City and took a hike to South Pass City, site of the Carissa gold mine AND where Esther Morris lived, the first woman in the United States to serve as a Justice of the Peace! I picked up my care package, courtesy of Marianne & Fenton Larrisey, and got to looking at some maps and the weather. After a chat with the US Forest Service’s Wind River Ranger District, I was told the snowline in the Shoshone National Forest was at 8,000 feet and there was unusually high bear activity, with hangry sows and their young just coming out of hibernation. All 165 miles of this trail section is over 8,000 feet and about 50 miles of that hovers over 10,000 feet with a few peaks at 11,100 feet. The Forest Service didn’t forbid it, but they didn’t condone it. They laid out the facts for me and I decided to take the road for 105 miles. Not where I wanted to be hiking, but the old CDT saying “embrace the brutality” comes in many forms and one is taking a route you don’t want to take and getting OK with it in order to complete the trail in the short window we have.
Well, New Mexico, I loved you and left you. You let me walk all over you, but you took quite a stand at the end there. The real cold shoulder routine over the last 5 days almost broke me. You definitely made me think my Ode to the CDT poem might have been a bit premature.
The 659 miles I walked of you were beautiful, your Gila River Wilderness, the Apache National Forest, Cebolla Wilderness, Malpais National Monument, Santa Fe National Forest, Chama River Canyon Wilderness, and Carson National Forest. In that time, we raised almost $3,500 for the ECA, GBU, and CDTC. But, New Mexico, this is just the beginning. I have a few more fabulous states to walk through and some more money to raise for these great non- profits, but I will be back to visit, just not for such a long time!
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you awesome women out there. Thanks for being great moms and raising some great kids to leave the world better than how we found it! A special HUG & KISS to my awesome mom, Kath, an amazing woman, a retired Lieutenant Colonel who commanded the Sullivan household and kept us in control (sort of), a bad a$$ nurse who ran the show when I broke my face, and who almost called her Army superiors to “send someone” for me in Honduras during Hurricane Mitch. A toast to all of the moms out there, chopper or free range- you’re doing it! XOXOXOX
First, thank you everyone for your donations thus far! We’re just about at $2,000 and quite a few folks have teased me with a TBD pending how many miles I can cover! Thank you everyone for your support!
After entering the Gila [HE-la] River, I’ve probably crossed over 50 times yesterday and today will be taking the higher route above the Gila Cliff Dwellings. The Updates section has older updates and if you want more of a daily view of what’s going on, check out the pics and commentary further below on the Instagram feed!
It’s been a good first stretch so far but I’ve arrived in Lordsburg, NM with plenty of blisters and only a McDonald’s for a meal. Yep, I did it. McDonald’s. Worth it though, to catch some beautiful views. I wish I was able to accurately capture the stars of the night!
On April 15th, I flew out to Tucson, AZ, picked up some last minute supplies at the local REI with the help of my cousin, Inian, and Took a bus to Lordsburg, NM. From there, in the early morning of the 17th, I took a shuttle to the Southern Terminus of the Continental Divide Trail and will attempt to hike 2,716 miles northbound to the border of Glacier National Park and Canada’s Waterton Lakes.