The Continental Divide Trail Coalition Publication Connecting the community that supports the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail Volume 3, November 2013
CDTC Board of Directors Bryan Martin
President Josh Shusko
Vice President Kerry Shakarjian
Secretary Teresa Martinez
Treasurer/Managing Director Don Owen CDTC Board Member The CDTC is a 501 (c) (3) not for profit organization
Dana Foulks Passages design and layout Cover image: Wind River Range by Eric Herbst
Letter from the President We created this organization because we believed it was necessary for the CDT to have a national advocate and steward. We believed there needed to be a coordinator across all five CDT states to support trail projects, signage, planning, and mapping. And we believed there needed to be an organization to promote the trail, keep people informed of the trail’s condition, and activate the people who care about the trail to see it protected in the manner a National Scenic Trail warrants. We believed in all of these things but did anybody else? As I look back on our first official year in operation I am staggered and amazed at our accomplishments and by the outpouring of support for the CDT. Thank you to everyone who follows us on Facebook and Twitter, who has volunteered on a project this year, who has shared our story wit h friends and family, and who has supported us financially! The enthusiasm for the CDT and for our work has been awe inspiring. It has affirmed our faith in what we believed when we sketched out our plans for a new nonprofit a little over 18 months ago – that the CDT needed a champion. As we move from a start-up phase to a growth phase in our organizational life cycle our mission remains the same – to create a community committed to construct, promote, and protect in perpetuity the CDT. In 2014, we will be reaching out to more communities, involving them in planning processes, volunteer projects, and trail celebrations. We will engage
more pro-actively with our federal land management partners to craft a more consistent vision for the CDT’s management. We will reach out to new funders to educate them about our work and earn their support. And we will put more resources out for the public to access, use, and enjoy the trail. With your support we have been able to take off. But we don’t want to stop there. We want to continue to build on the momentum in 2013 and take the organization to another level. We will continue to count on your enthusiasm for the trail – share our story, encourage your friends to join us on the trail for a project, or come out to an event. And we hope that we can continue to earn your financial support by advancing projects and initiatives that benefit the trail and the trail experience.
Inside Passages: “I Hike” Excerpt Trailwork Satisfaction Letters from the Trail CDTC Accomplishments An Interview with Jester
Bryan enjoying his favorite winter past time along the divide in Colorado!
Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, a.k.a. The CDT The basics:
What the Trail includes:
Location: United States
• 25 National Forests
Length: About 3,100 miles
• 21 Wilderness Areas
Northern Terminus: Canadian
• 8 Bureau of Land Management resource areas
Founded by: Benton MacKaye and members of the Rocky Mountain Trail Association and the Colorado Mountain Club originally developed the concept of the CDT. Jim Wolf and the Continental Divide Trail Society built upon their work and helped ensure the CDT was included in the 1978 National Trails System Act.
Border, Glacier National Park Southern Terminus: Mexican Border,
Big Hatchets Wilderness Conservation Area Highest Point: Gray’s Peak, Colorado
at 14,270 feet Lowest Point: Waterton Lake, in Glacier National Park at 4,200 feet States it Travels through: Montana,
• 3 National Parks • 1 National Monument • Best place/time to start: – Northbound: March or April from Mexico/New Mexico Border – Southbound: June from the Montana/Canada border
Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico
• Both directions have challenges related to weather and terrain.
What’s the Trail for: Hiking,
• Most people who travel Northbound end up “flip flopping” along the way to find best travel conditions, while most South bounders have the best chance of a continuous thru hike.
horseback riding, cross country skiing, hunting, sight seeing, wildlife watching, contemplation, solitude and community.
Fun facts: Protection: The CDT was designated as a National Scenic Trail in 1978 by the Congressional oversight Committee of the National Trails System. Thru Hikers: In 2013 we estimate
250 people will attempt an end to end continuous thru hike of the CDT each year. The average time to complete it is six months, averaging 17 miles per day. Stand Alone: The CDT is the highest
and most remote of the National Scenic Trails. It is also the longest of the Triple Crown Trails that include the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails.
The first thru hike: David Maceyka
and a small group documented the first hike of the CDT in the 1930’s. Original Name: The Blue Can Trail. Named for the founders who first walked the Trail, marking their path with blue cans nailed to trees. Year Proposed to Congress: 1966 Year it was designated: 1978 Sources: Continental Divide Trail Coalition, United States Forest Service.
Permits: There isn’t a broad permit for
the entire CDT, but there are separate ones for Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. Here kitty, kitty: Mountain lions, grizzly bears, elk, rattlesnakes, Moose, wolves, javelinas - name it and you will probably see it along the CDT. Challenges and Risks: Lightning, moving water, avalanche, hypothermia, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, Giardiasis, altitude, snow and sun blindness, wildlife and human error can all play into the chances of a successful “thru-hike” along the Trail.
Longest Roadless Section:
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado Trail marker. Photo by Paul “Mags” Magnanti
Excerpt from “I Hike” 4 Of Mice and Men
There comes a point on every long hike where the will to continue no longer exists. Sometimes these moments are fleeting. Sometimes they last weeks and are enough to send you looking for the nearest Greyhound station. When things get bad, and typically it’s a mental bad in addition to a physical bad, you can convince yourself that any other possible endeavor in the world would be better than continuing your hike. Things like going back to a job you hated, going back to a significant other you left, taking that underwater basket weaving course you had previously considered pointless or any host of other aspirations that weren’t even on your radar a week ago now seem urgent.
There is much in the way of adversity on a 2,000+ mile hike, some real and some perceived. There’s heat, cold, rain, snow, humidity, ants, flies, gnats,
by Lawton Grinter
mosquitoes, wildfires, bears, mountain lions, porcupines, skunks (yes skunks), tarantulas, scorpions, a surplus of poisonous snakes, deer flies, horseflies, black flies, yellow jackets, hornets, giardia, cryptosporidia, Montezuma’s revenge, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis, Colorado tick fever, ehrliciosis, West Nile virus, eastern equine encephalitis, plague, hantavirus, staph infections, chafing, blisters, boils, poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, allergies, loneliness, home sickness and a broken heart to name a few. Any one of these misfortunes usually is surmountable. The problem comes when you get multiple hardships occurring at the same time for weeks on end. They slowly chip away at you until you break. On the Appalachian Trail in 1999, I had hiked from Georgia to Connecticut... some 1,500 miles and almost 3/4 of the trail’s length and mentally I was done. It had been incredibly hot for multiple weeks mid-90’s everyday and humidity so thick you could swim through it, like hiking through molasses. Thick, sticky, syrupy molasses. The mosquitoes were relentless and attempted to drain my blood whenever I stopped moving and stood still for more than a half second. This went on for weeks. I was lonely too. I missed my girlfriend more than I can tell you and was wondering why anyone in their right minds would voluntarily choose to be out here right now trudging up and down hillsides, swatting mosquitoes and deer flies in 96 degree heat? On July 4th, I camped by myself at Pine Swamp Branch Lean-to, a threesided shelter in a lowly spot surrounded by marshy vegetation somewhere in western Connecticut. The nighttime temp got down to 73. As I lay in my tent as still as possible completely in
the buff hoping for any type of breeze to waft through and cool me down, I could hear the sound of fireworks going off in the distance. For hours the bang and pop of great Fourth of July celebrations rang in my ears. I had visions of cheery people standing around barbecues, stuffing their faces with smoked pork, coleslaw and potato chips while drinking from kegs of icecold beer. They were high fiving their buddies and oohing and aahing over the roman candles and bottle rockets making their way skyward. And they would retire in a few hours to cool and comfortable air-conditioned homes, completely oblivious to the heat and bugs that had taken over the great outdoors where I resided. I could do nothing but lay there and listen to the high pitched whine of half a million mosquitoes that would do anything to grow fingers with opposable thumbs to unzip my tent door and come in to dine. Why was I out here? What was I doing? Any remnant of the excitement and anticipation that I had that fateful day back in March when I set off from Springer Mountain to walk the Appalachian Trail to Maine was gone. I was well behind my self-imposed schedule by some two weeks and had been skipping town stops to try and catch up. I was trampled and beaten both physically and mentally. I was ready to quit. The next morning I gathered my gear, packed as quickly as possible while swatting mosquitoes, and literally ran out of Pine Swamp. By the time I reached Highway 44, I knew that I needed to do whatever I had to do to get off the trail. I needed a few days off to evaluate my decision to quit. I ran into a few AT Ridgerunners in Salisbury who agreed to give me a ride to the town of Kent. Once in Kent I called my
friend “Dogman” who was also thruMost hikers experience some type hiking the AT that summer. His parents of low point like this while hiking for lived near Kent and he had been taking months on end. It’s almost inevitable. wonder what I had made such a fuss AT that summer. His parents some time hiking off to the recoup at their house. It’s not always butterflies and rainbows. lived near Kent and he had been taking about. Within 30 minutes he picked me up in Quite the contrary. My friend “Bucksome time off to recoup at their house. hikers experience somehiker, type front of theWithin local 30 outfitters and whisked aMost seasoned long-distance minutes he picked me up 30,” in of low point like this while hiking for me back tofront his house. I was filthy dirty developed a rating system during his of the local outfitters and whisked months on end. It’s almost inevitable. and smelledmelike a cattle pen. I was filthy dirty CDT thru-hike in 2005... a misery back to his house. always butterflies and rainbows. and smelled like a cattle pen. indexIt’s of not sorts. He concluded simply Quite the contrary. My friend “BuckWe pulled up in his driveway and I that there were six specific thingshiker, that 30,” a seasoned long-distance pulled up his driveway and I immediatelyWenoticed theinsparkling really pissed him off on the CDT: developed a rating system during his immediately noticed the sparkling clear swimming pool in his backyard. CDT thru-hike in 2005... a misery clear swimming pool in his backyard. Without hesitation I shut theI shut doorthetodoor to 1. Bugs index of sorts. He concluded simply Without hesitation his car, walked over to the and there were his car, walked overpool to the pool and 2. Nothat Existing Trailsix specific things that jumped in with allinmy clothes Theon. The really pissed him off on the CDT: jumped with all my on. clothes cold pool water waswater possibly the most cold pool was possibly the most3. Hot Sun refreshing thing ever experienced 1. Bugs refreshing thing I had everI had experienced 4. No2.Water/Cow Shit Water my entire life.the I spent next three No Existing Trail in my entirein life. I spent nextthe three hours in the pool just sitting there hours in the pool just sitting there 3. Hot Sun soaking my body and chlorinating my5. Allergies soaking myvile body chlorinating hikerand garb. I devoted themy better part 4. No Water/Cow Shit Water 6. Very Steep Trail vile hiker garb. devoted the to better part pool. of theI next two days Dogman’s of the nextIttwo days to Dogman’s pool. 5. Allergies literally changed everything. The heat He told me that any of these by It literally changed everything. Theonheat wave broke and I got back the trail a 6. Veryor Steep Trailwith one other themselves paired laterback righton where had aleft off wave brokefew anddays I got the Itrail was no Basically thesebythings and right hiked where to Maine. Hebig tolddeal. me that any of these few days later I had left off were themselves more or less to be expected while or paired with one other and hiked to Maine. In the end I didn’t need to quit the hiking in the summer. Three of them was no big deal. Basically these things AT. I simply wanted to because I was were more things or less to be expected meant were getting while In the end physically I didn’t need the heat and at once worntooutquit by the hiking in the summer. Three of them tough, four is rough, five really pissed AT. I simplymosquitoes wanted toand because I was had beaten myself up at once meant things were getting him off and six made him cry. And if physically worn outabout by the heat and schedule mentally being behind tough, four is rough, five really pissed curious about the “Cow Shit for the workaday mosquitoes(schedules and had are beaten myself up worldyou’rehim off and six made him cry. And if and itbeing was ridiculous that I had brought Water,” well that’s exactly mentally about behind schedule you’re curious about thewhat “Cowhe’s Shit mentalityworld onto the talking about: water sources fouled (schedules this are taskmaster for the workaday Water,” well that’s exactly what he’s trail in the first place). I had convinced and polluted by cattle dumping talking about: waterherds sources fouled and it was myself ridiculous that I had brought that I could no longer go on. All andinto polluted bySometimes cattle herds dumping directly them. that was this taskmaster mentality onto the I really needed was a bit of time off... directly into them. Sometimes that the only water available for miles on was trail in the in first place).outI had convinced a pool... of the heat and the the only water available for miles on end. Bottoms up! myself thatbugs. I could no longer Allfrom I needed some go timeon. away end. Bottoms up! the madness to of regain perspective I really needed was a bit timemyoff... The day up up with this washeat out there. My two days Thehe daycame he came with thisindex, index, in a pool...on outwhy of Ithe and the he was at the tail end of Montana on at Dogman’s did exactly that and when he was at the tail end of Montana on bugs. I needed some time away from the CDT during a 2005 southbound I hit the trail again, I couldn’t help but the CDT during a 2005 southbound the madness to regain my perspective thru-hike from Canada to Mexico. on why I was out there. My two days Oddly enough, I would find myself at a at Dogman’s did exactly that and when breaking point almost a year later at the I hit the trail again, I couldn’t help but same exact spot. wonder what I had made such a fuss about. To read the rest of this chapter and all of the chapters in I Hike, please go to www.ihikethebook.com to order your copy today!
About the Author Lawton Grinter is an author, documentary filmmaker, forester and thru-hike from Canada to Mexico. veteran long-distance hiker having Oddly enough, I would find myself at a completed end-to-end hikes breaking point almost a year laterofatthe the same exact spot. Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail and two hikes of the Pacific
About the Author Crest Trail. In addition to the “Big 3” Lawton is anthe author, he has Grinter also hiked John Muir Trail documentary filmmaker, forester and and Colorado Trail in 10,000+ veteran longdistance hikerhis having miles of long-distance hiking completed end-to-end hikes of thesince 1999. He filmed, edited andDivide produced Appalachian Trail, Continental Trailtrail and documentary two hikes of theentitled Pacific “The the Crest Trail. In addition to the “Big 3” Walkumentary” which covered his he has also hiked the John Muir Trail 2006 southbound Continental Divide and Colorado Trail in his 10,000+ Trail hike. He currently lives in Denver, miles of long-distance hiking since Colorado with his wifeand and fellow long1999. He filmed, edited produced distance hiker Felicia Hermosillo. the trail documentary entitled “The I Hike is his first book. Walkumentary” which covered his 2006 southbound Continental Divide Trail hike. He currently lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife and fellow long-distance hiker Felicia Hermosillo and their dog Gimpy. I Hike is his first book.
The Joy and Satisfaction of Trail Work by David Dolton I have been volunteering for trail projects on the CDT since 2006. While some folks work on multiple projects each year, I do just one and urge others to consider one themselves. The CDTA coordinated projects through 2011 then, here in Colorado, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado took over. CDT projects in all 4 states the trail traverses can be found on the CDTC web site. Working on a project is a great way to meet people with similar interests in the outdoors, hiking, and camping. And, the food is always great! One of the most interesting aspects of the work is learning about trail building. Each year, there has been something new to do. One can find projects that are 2-3 days or a week long in duration. In recent years, I've been involved in a multi-year effort to reroute about 4 miles of the Continental Divide Trail off a heavily-used gravel road onto about a 5 mile stretch in the forested area above the road from the Sheep Gulch Trailhead to the Lake Ann Trail. It will provide a much more esthetic hike and a safer one. This trail is also part of the Collegiate West section of the Colorado Trail. I learned that one cannot truly appreciate the work involved in creating a trail unless one has worked on a trail crew to build or rehabilitate one. Once a trail is completed, it doesnâ€™t look like it required that much work. A step is one of those things that most folks don't realize the work that went into
building one. Unknown to the hiker is what lies beneath the surface and what it took to get it there. In a number of spots, rocks had to be carried or moved from the surrounding area to fill a depression or cross a ravine, crushed (broken into small pieces), then covered with mineral soil. It would be beneficial if all hikers would participate on a crew. Although building a new trail requires more effort than trail maintenance, it gave me a higher level of satisfaction because no one had ever hiked there before. It is a one-of-a-kind experience! However, no matter what the project, one can get a great deal of satisfaction in working to improve the trail for hundreds or thousands of hikers.
a trench or ditch system is that they back up and get clogged easily. Gravel works like a screen filter would. Usually, there should be at least one foot of slope in the trench for every 100 feet of horizontal catchment (which means it gets deeper, the closer to the end it gets). It keeps the surface water flowing without the other stuff that comes along with it in really heavy rain. The bigger the rocks, the faster the water will flow. From: www.rain-barrel.net/ french-drain.html
On my first project, one of the tasks was to build a French Drain. Since few people know the derivation of the name, I have included it here for your educational enjoyment!
About the Author
A French drain is basically a trench filled with gravel (small stones or broken pieces of large ones). The trench is meant to keep the water runoff from a sloping piece of land rerouted in a productive manner. It was invented by the farmer/judge Henry French who lived in Concord, Massachusetts and first came into the public eye in 1859 when Mr. French first published a book on farm drainage [French, Henry F. 1859. Farm Drainage. New York: A.O. Moore & Co.]. From: www.concordma. com/magazine/janfeb00/frenchdrains. html
The fact that the French drain needs little to no upkeep makes the French drain stand out from all the others. Most drains suffer from the same problem, over and over. Frenchâ€™s design was developed around the idea of a common ditch/trench or gutter/pipe system of drainage that had already previously existed. The problem with French Drain
As a historical note, Henry French's son was Daniel Chester French, a sculptor best known for sculpting Abraham Lincoln for the Lincoln Memorial.
David is a retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wildlife biologist who worked with webless migratory game birds, primary mourning doves, and administered a research program on these species. He is a Boy Scout leader and a volunteer with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, leading and helping with youth big game hunts. When not volunteering on the CDT, you can find David hunting, hiking, photography, and woodworking.
David working on the CDT along Hunchback Pass, CO.
Photos provided by David Dolton
For more information on all on CDTC Membership Programs please visit:
www.continentaldividetrail.org/get-involved/join/ Photo by Meg â€œLittle Bugâ€? McAlonis
Letters from the Trail Panorama of the San Juans
From Meg â€œLittle Bugâ€? McAlonis People often ask me when I'm going to start writing books about my travels, and I always tell them it won't be until I break a leg... but lucky for you, all it takes for me to write an update on my CDT hike is a sprained ankle! I began my hike southbound along the Continental Divide at the Canadian border in Glacier National Park, Montana, on June 19th. The mountains throughout Glacier, and the Bob Marshall Wilderness below it, are rugged and rocky, making it much too difficult to walk on the actual Divide, so the trails keep you lower in the valleys, traversing the mountain sides, and crisscrossing the actual Divide over steep mountain passes. There was still quite a bit of snow left in the mountains - nothing like what I experienced in the Sierras of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2011 - but just as dangerous, with it melting fast and creating steep slushy slopes. I watched 2 fellow hikers need to self-arrest on 2 separate occasions ("Self-arrest" = while trying to walk across a steep snowy slope covering the trail, a foot slips and you begin to slide uncontrollably down to the rocks below - sometimes hundreds of feet below - and you need to regain control by flipping on your belly side and stabbing an ice ax or your hiking pole into the snow until it catches and you stop sliding!) Scary stuff! Northbounders hiking through Glacier later in the season are able to
take a higher route through the Park on the Highline Trail, but I'm glad we didn't attempt it, as someone trying to backpack on it the same time we were there slid down to their death! :( But beyond the dangers that help make this such a fabulous adventure, Northern Montana was absolutely gorgeous, amazing country to walk through! Once I got a little farther south, the jagged mountain peaks turned into more hikable rolling ridgeline terrain, where I could walk right on the Continental Divide itself, with endless views of mountain ranges and valleys, rivers and ranchland, and amazing sunrises and sunsets from my camp spots! But every rose has it's thorn, and the thorn of being on the ridgeline is lack of water, so it makes for a little extra hiking a couple times a day to drop down to a spring, but I always found the beauty worth it to stay high! I learned quickly that this isn't your typical long-distance hiking trail like the AT or PCT... I call it more of a Continental Divide Trail System or Route, containing a connection of many different trails, giving the hiker a chance to make multiple choices on a daily basis of what they want to see or do. There are signs along the way for much of it, sometimes on hiking trails (the Forest Service has been putting in some nice new trail tread throughout Montana for the CDT!), sometimes along old logging road beds, ATV trails, or on Forest Service roads, and sometimes there's just posts or cairns (rock piles) leading you across land without any kind of tread at all! It's really been interesting navigating across the land with just topo maps
and compass when Aaron (my hiking partner/boyfriend) and I lose 'the trail', but we're still 2 of the very few hikers without a GPS unit to guide them along. I like the feeling of being closer to the land and using my head to find my place on the map and the direction I need to go. But I must say the most confusing times are seeing all the nice cow and elk/game trails crisscrossing and traversing the mountainsides often times looking much nicer than the actual CDT! Which leads me to the wildlife - oh the wildlife!!! There is so much opportunity to watch animals out here! I see whitetail deer, red-tailed hawks and other raptors, chipmunks, ground squirrels, and tons of song birds on a daily basis. I see at least a few, if not herds, of elk sometimes daily but at least weekly. I've crossed paths with a few moose, a huge black bear (amber brown in color), some big horn sheep and mountain goats in the higher mountains, and have followed lots of grizzly, wolf, and mountain lion tracks... and I'm not even halfway through this hike yet!! I have completed the entire Montana and Idaho section of the Divide, and am now in Wyoming, south of Yellowstone National Park, about 920 some miles from Canada, and somewhere less than 2000 miles from Mexico. This trail is so remote and wild, that resupplies have been very interesting! For example, once we hit highway 26 the other day, we had to hitch 40 miles east to the nearest town of Dubois, WY, and this town only has a population of 140 people! Many towns
in Southern Montana and Idaho were the same - just one or 2 restaurants/ cafes that would run out of food if too many people came in, one or 2 small motels with just a few rooms, and one little general store to buy food in! Up until a few days ago, my body has been feeling great! Aaron, and I have been averaging about 24-28 miles a day (not including days in and out of towns to resupply on food). We even did a 30-mile day to celebrate our 30th day on the trail, taking advantage of the huge moon shining on a ridgeline! But as we were hiking through Yellowstone, I took a step down off a boardwalk and twisted my ankle...Yikes! (figures this happened on a maintained trail!) At first I was scared of how this might affect my thru-hike, but with Aaron's amazing confidence in me, 800mg of Ibuprofen, and a good wrap job, I decided not to backtrack 5 miles to the nearest road, but to continue on my journey. Since then I've walked about 70 miles on this sprained ankle, hiking 20-24 miles a
post some pictures on Facebook every few weeks or so if you're interested in seeing more...
day for 3 days, to this town of Dubois, and after 2 or 3 days of rest, hope to get back on the trail to enter the Wind River Range :) It's amazing what our bodies are capable of!!
Otherwise, keep in touch, and hope you've been enjoying your summer!!
There's a lot of great people out hiking along the Divide this year. My guess is that there's about 40 of us going south, and many more hiking north, probably equaling about 200 people in all. It's definitely a record number of CDT hikers this year, and has made for a pretty nice community of friends along the way that never really used to exist on this more remote long-distance trail! In fact, Aaron and I have yet to go a single day without seeing other hikers (day, weekend or thru) or horse-back riders out enjoying the trails! I hope you enjoy looking at the pictures Aaron has been taking along the way! Our internet access has been few and far between, so you may not hear from me again until I'm somewhere in Colorado, but we try and at least
Meg (Little Bug) Interesting Facts: • The difference between Black Bear and Grizzly Bear tracks - you can always see a Grizzlies claws! • Beaverhead County in Southeastern Montana is the same land size as the state of Connecticut, but only has 9000 people! (Connecticut has over 3.5 million!!) ...but they might have that many happy cows roaming the land! • The first couple of 2013 northbound hikers will be finishing up their thru-hike in the next few days!
Filling the Hiking void in your Podcast Library. The Trail Show is a monthly mash-up of all things trail! Broadcasting live from the Historic Beer District of Boulder, CO... It’s The Trail Show !
CDTC Accomplishments As of this year, the Continental Divide Trail will be 35 years in the making. . . and what an adventure it has been! We can hardly believe that we’ve only been here ONE year! Thanks to you, we have these successes in 2013 to share:
Two new miles of Trail complete in the Carson National Forest of New Mexico and signed over 100 miles of CDT in Colorado; More than 100 volunteers have participated in one our events, projects or efforts to help support building and caring for the CDT— that’s an incredible 8,152 hours of volunteer labor worth $179, 019 in volunteer service; CDTC signed and Memorandum of Understanding with the Headwaters Trail Alliance, and a Volunteer Agreement with the Sulphur Ranger District in our first cooperative partnership working together to support Trail maintenance in Grand County, CO; Successfully launched and completed our “Finding Our Way” Indiegogo crowd funding campaign and introduced thousands of people to the CDT through this effort; Traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Annual Partnership for the National Trails System’s “Hike the Hill” to advocate with our Congressional and Washington Office Agency Leaders on behalf of the CDT and its completion and continued federal funding; Launched a CDT Register Program to capture true numbers of Trail users out on the Trail; Provided Meals for volunteers on projects in New Mexico and Colorado through partnerships with
the New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors and Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado; Participated in public processes to ensure the CDT Corridor is adequately protected through countless agency project proposals and energy developments along the CDT between Mexico and Canada; Continued providing Trail Data to the public for free using both our Interactive CDT Map and most recently, release of the CDT Google Earth Files available for free download on our website; Built countless relationships with individuals, groups, and local communities to continue to support the CDT and strengthen the reach and power of the Trail Community. But now, we’re just getting started and hope that you will continue to stand by us as we continue to move forward in support of the CDT. In 2014 here’s what we hope to achieve: Completed an two additional miles of the CDT in New Mexico, installation of three informational Kiosks in the Weminuche Wilderness of Colorado and signing and maintaining over 200 miles of the CDT through launching of our Trail Adopter Program; Hosting a CDT Volunteer Stewardship Grand County Day with Headwaters Trail Alliance; Working with Silver City New Mexico, launch our CDT Gateway Community Program; Mobilizing more than 100 hard working volunteers on 8 CDT Sponsored volunteer projects; Partner with Warrior Hike (www. warriorhike.com) to support a team of combat veterans as they “walk off
the war” along the CDT and help us connect to the CDT Communities; As part of our Warrior Hike Program, host a CDT Kick off and Shuttle at the CDT Southern Terminus to get CDT North Bound thru hikers safely to the southern Terminus to begin their hikes; Continue mapping the CDT and providing information on how to access and enjoy the Trail; Assist the Forest Service, BLM and National Park Service in the planning, location and management of the CDT; Work with local communities and landowners to continue to protect the last remaining critical segments of the CDT and finalizing the private land inventory of nonfederal lands blocking continuation of the Trail and developing a Plan to negotiate those parcels; Continue to create greater awareness and involvement for the CDT amongst our Congressional leaders, Agency Partners and general public. This truly is a historic time
for all of us. Although the 3,100 mile Continental Divide Trail is not complete, we can all be proud of what we’ve accomplished in 2013, and the obstacles we’ve overcome to date. Imagine, thirty-five years ago few people even knew the Trail existed, overall Trail completion status was unknown, and there wasn’t a strong CDT Movement to engage the public in support of the CDT. Today, thanks to you, the CDT is 72% completed and more people than ever before have fallen in love with the CDT and together we know we can keep the CDT Movement alive and well!
An Interview with Jester 1. What inspired your first steps on the CDT? What inspired your last steps on the CDT? What kept you on the trail in between?
I think initially the motivation for my first steps on the CDT was the thought of another (and more difficult) challenge. The CDT has a reputation as being tougher, more remote, and requiring more back country skills than other National Scenic Trails. I was at the point in my hiking “career” that I felt up to that challenge. The last steps were tough, because they ended up being an unplanned road walk due to snow, which wasn’t how I intended to finish my hike. But my CDT hike was definitely a lesson for me about accepting the value of having my plans derailed -- and in the end, the end was perfect. What kept me on the trail between those steps? Definitely the camaraderie and support of the hikers around me, but also the beauty and wildness of the trail -- and the knowledge that the things I get to see can only be accessed by foot and with hard work, and that I am lucky to have the opportunity to see and enjoy the places I get to hike. 2. Was there one moment on the Trail that stands out as the moment when you could have quit or kept going and you decided to keep going?
I’ve had an urge to quit a few times on trails -- breaking my foot on the AT, completing California on the PCT and feeling a weird sense of depression, but I never really had that moment on the CDT. The amount of rain we had in Colorado did really start to grind on us, but we assured ourselves that Wyoming would be rainless and pushed on. And while that requires one to have a very non-scientific attitude about the
relationship between weather and state borders, Wyoming was indeed rainless. So what now, science? 3. You’re now a triple crowner, and you’ve captured all three journeys on film, what’s next?
Well, I didn’t actually make a film of my Appalachian Trail hike, and I’ve been told that trilogies are really the thing in film -- “Wizards Of The PCT” has been described as “like Lord Of The Rings, but with dirtier feet.” So maybe I need to hike that trail again, and I’m currently scheming of ways I might make it more of a challenge for myself, a different kind of hike than my previous AT thru hike. But the next thing for me is actually going along on my Mom’s hike -- she’s decided to become a long distance hiker at the age of 68, and will hike the Camino de Santiago next year. It’s not my normal style of hiking, but she’s asked me to join her and I think we’ll have an amazing time. 4. Your movie captures the journey of a merry band of thru hikers as they head toward Canada. There’s a lot of dancing, prancing, and general goofiness that ensues. In your opinion, who was the best dancer of the group?
Without a doubt the best dancer in the group on the CDT was Coyote. If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “dance like no one is watching” -- that’s ‘Yote. But they all like to dance for some weird reason, even when the camera’s not running, even when there’s no music, even when their feet hurt. I travel with a bunch of goofballs. 5. How many “houses” along the Trail do you own?
Well, most of my houses are apparently in Montana, and they all need a lot of
work. At least a dozen. Plus a forest, a hillside, a tree. Playing “It’s Your House” was our way of breaking up the grind of 25 mile+ days in Montana, injecting a bit of levity into what was for us a lot of work, time-pressure, and even stress. It was hard figuring out how much of that to include in the film without overdoing it, because we definitely overdid it in real life. 6. How many times did you fall while walking with a camera? How many times did you fall with out it?
For some reason people really enjoy watching me fall down on film. There are a couple of instances in the movie, and one or two more I didn’t use in the final version. The funny thing is that people who see my movies think I’m clumsy, but in reality I pretty much ONLY fall when I’m filming and walking -- because I’m watching the monitor and not using my Lekis. 7. Where along the Trail would you most like to meet Oprah for your one on one interview?
I’d like my never-going-to-happen Oprah interview to be at the spot that I got completely lost in the San Juans. It’s beautiful, it’s remote, and she’d be completely out of breath so I’d get to do most of the talking. Plus it would be the first time she’d give away free maps and compasses instead of cars. 8. You have a deep passion for the CDT? What does this Trail mean to you and why did you want to share your personal experience in the way you did in Embrace the Brutality?
I think the CDT in my mind means freedom, beauty, and wildness in measures that can’t be found on other trails. I’ve never hiked under circumstances that were as challenging Continued on next page
but that offered rewards so far beyond what I put into the hike. I think that comes through in Embrace The Brutality, not just for me but for all of the hikers involved in the production. And my passion for the CDT is reflected in my passion for the CDTC -because I feel that what makes the CDT special also creates massive challenges for the organization. Its lack of proximity to major population centers, its smaller volume of hikers, the threats posed by future development in a mostly undeveloped landscape, and the philosophical problem of building and improving the trail without compromising what makes the trail valuable and unique -- all of these are big issues for a trail organization. And I suppose that I think that because there are fewer of us -- lovers of the CDT -maybe we all need to take a bigger slice of responsibility in caring for it than we do the other trails. 9. If possible to pick just one, what was the best moment for your along your CDT journey?
It’s pretty much impossible to pick one best moment. But the best moments were one of two types -- running up against things I feared, like getting lost or seeing a grizzly up close, and realizing that those moments could
Shane “Jester” O’Donnell along the CDT
actually be exhilarating and quite wonderful; and the moments when I was sharing something special with my friends -- a rainbow after a storm while bedding down in a culvert, lunch atop Knapsack Col, watching the sun set over a lake in Yellowstone.
whatever challenges they think exist, and that overcoming those challenges is incredibly rewarding.
10. ETB is unique in that between the music and the characters (albeit real people) there’s a real authenticity to the experience, the viewer almost feels like they are part of the group and right there along with you as you make your way North. Do you hope to inspire more people to get out there, and experience this amazing Trail?
I would tell anyone who decides they want to hike the CDT that there is nothing that can overcome your desire if you truly want to hike the trail. Before you hike there are many aspects of the CDT that seem daunting, but those eventually become part of your daily routine. And what you will walk away with from the experience will probably be far beyond your expectations.
I’ve described my films as “AntiSurvivalist-Reality-TV.” Mainly because when I’ve watched those shows they make me feel like I should never venture into the woods because they scare the crap out of me. My favorite emails that I receive are from people who tell me that the movies have inspired them to get out -- not necessarily to do a thru-hike, although I get that too -- but to get outside and do something they’ve been dreaming of doing. The hikers in Embrace The Brutality are essentially normal people doing an extraordinary thing. And while the CDT has a reputation of being incredibly difficult, I hope the film helps people realize that they CAN overcome
11. What words of encouragement would you give to someone who after watching your movie decides- they are going to hike the CDT?
About Jester Shane “Jester” O’Donnell is a Triple Crown Hiker and the producer/director of the trail documentaries “Wizards Of The PCT” and “Embrace The Brutality: A Continental Divide Trail Adventure.” He is a contributor to the Yogi Guide Books and a Board Member of ALDHA-West, as well as an Ambassador for KEEN Footwear and a member of the Therm-A-Rest Dreamers Program. When not editing film or writing articles for the hiking humor blog “The O’Mails,” he occasionally manages to squeeze in some actual hiking.
Thru Hiker List 2002 Michelle "Shell" Ellinwood Robert "Dr. Bob" Ellinwood Robert "Sly" Sylvester
2006 Shawn "Pepper" Forry Lawton "Disco" Grinter Felicia "Princess of Darkness" Hermosillo
2007 "Lint" Bunting
2008 Brian Miller
Jacob "Don't Panic" Down Jack "Found" Haskel Philip "Nowhere Man" Hough Katie "Wing It" Howe Deb "Walking Carrot" Hunsicker Avelino "Makai" Tamayo
2011 Drew "Abear" Hebert Kevin "Fandango" Jacobs Brian "Gadget" Lewis Shane “Jester” O’Donnell Ben "Smooth" Newkirk
2012 Kaitlin "Jetpack" Allen Jerry Brown "Coyote" Elaine "Brazil Nut" Bissonno Nancy "Why Not?!" Huber Richard "Handlebar" Ostheimer
2013 Meredith “Ninja” Altland Beau “Puck” Baker Eric “Balls” Gjonnes Reed “Sunshine” Gjonnes* Hans “NORM!” Praller Erin “Wired” Saver
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* Sunshine at the age of 13 is the youngest triple crowner on record Disclaimer: This is by no means a complete list. This is simply the list of folks who have informed us that they have completed the CDNST and have received a CDT Completion certificate from CDTC.
Charter Members Vince Auriemma Mark Bankey Chris and Sanne Bagby Mike Bates Susan Bates Lyndon Berry Jim Boeck and Vivian Wilson Bob Brewer Jerry Brown Chris Burke Jeremy Burton Claire Cain Elisabeth Chaplin Paul Corbeil Mike Dawson David Dolton John Dufour Allen Filson Arthur and Denise Foley Dana Foulks Tambi Gustafson Sara Glasgow Jim Hansman Debra Hayes Jesse Hill Olivia Holmes Thomas Holz Frank Haranzo Nancy Huber Perter Karnowski Matthew Kaufmann Deb Keller Hayes Karen Keller Duane Koss Dick Kozoll David Lattier Kevin Linebarger Paul Magnanti
Barney and Sandy Mann Bryan Martin Alex Martinez Family Teresa Martinez Nicolas Martinez Gary Monk Janie and Randy Moore Peter Necarsulmer Shane “Jester” O’Donnell Richard Ostheimer Don Owen Greg Pierce Brad Pierson Rex Alford and Alice Pierson Bill and Debra Pollick J. Bruce Prior Miguel Quinones Erin Saver Carlos Shomaker Kerry Shakarjian Josh and Lisa Shusko Mal Sillars James Sippel Chris Smith Morgan Sommerville Rebecca Sudduth Steven Shepard Robert Sylvester Michael Tam Avelino Tamayo Don Thompson Gary Werner and Melanie Lord Scott Williams Bill Youmans Tim Zvada 2013 CDT Thru Hikers
Donors $101-$500 Anonymous Anonymous Anonymous Jose Aragon Mark Bankey Tim Harrell Debra Keller-Hayes Lost Creek Brewing Company Great Harvest Bread CoLakewood Sara Gorecki Gary Werner and Melanie Goss Frank and Jeanne Haranzo Debra Keller Hayes Ryan Newburn Sheila Pearson Jan Pengally Ann and Tip Ray Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club Michael Ryan George Szeremeta Jonathon Stalls Timothy Stiess Kirk Swan Michael Tam Shane Wohlken Lora Zimmerman
$1,000-$5,000 Anonymous Chris and Sanne Bagby Laura Burke Michelle Fuller Alex Martinez Family
CDTC wishes to thank the following business and companies for all your support this year and willingness to become a CDTC Business Member. For more in ation on how your company or business may collaborate with CDTC please go to our website or contact: Teresa Martinez at tmartinez at continentaldividetrail.org AC Golden Brewery Bear Creek Survey Copper Kettle Brewing Double Diamond Digital Fireside Bed & Breakfast Flagler Films Great Harvest-Lakewood Greenpackin High Country Market Lost Creek Brewing Company Lipsmackin Backpackin’ My Mountain Town Nature Elements Photography Pie O Neer Cafe Shadowcliff TBW Productions Twin Lakes General Store Tell it On the Mountain ULA Equipment Walk2Connect Warrior Hike Yogi’s Books Uprinting 285 Bound
A big thank you to everyone who has joined the CDTC and all who made contributions. We wouldn’t be here without you. For more information on how you may support our efforts, please go to our web site or contact: Teresa Martinez at email@example.com
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Depending on your membership level, you may receive the following benefits: • CDTC and CDT decals and 5% discounts at the Trail Store • CDTC Newsletter (three times a year) • Invitations to CDTC events and volunteer projects • Knowledge that your membership helps support the important work of the CDTC! • CDT Calendar Thank you for your support! The Continental Divide Trail Coalition is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. Your membership dues are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
The Continental Divide Trail Coalition would like to thank Great Harvest Bread Co. Lakewood – your whole grain specialists for supporting the CDTC and our efforts to preserve the CDT! 11068 W Jewell Ave, Lakewood, CO Kipling and Jewell (303) 716-0905 www.knead2bake.com/
Join us for the PREMIER of EMBRACE THE BRUTALITY December 12, 2013 Foss Auditorium American Mountaineering Center Golden, CO Tickets: $20.00, CDTC Members $15 Door prizes, special guests and introduction by Director/Producer Shane “Jester” O’Donnell Ticket information: http://www.continentaldividetrail.org/news/ embrace-the-brutality/
Continental Divide Trail Coalition P.O. Box 552 Pine, CO 80470 (720) 340-CDTC (2382) email: firstname.lastname@example.org