Here we go...

I've found myself falling into a habit, this being my third trail. When I've come to the conclusion that a hike has been set, I order a full trail map and trail patch from the organizing body. 

It seems a bit small, and silly. But I have hiked each trail with the patch that signifies it. Anyone can purchase a patch, I feel, but not many can put the miles of wear-and-tear on it a thru-hike can. So I suppose it's my little personal badge of honor. To remind myself not only of the accomplishment, but of the journey taken to reach that accomplishment.

Well, it seems like the Continental Divide Trail is now official. 

I've ordered, and received, my map and patch thanks to the Continental Divide Trail Coalition.

 

While playing around, I figured I would line up the CDT patch with the other two on my pack. Seeing these three patches together sparked a fire inside of me. The excitement, the fear, the impossibility of knowing what lays ahead. The CDT is real. And so too, is my journey along it.

This, for me, was the flipping of the switch. It's no longer if and when, but it has now, when and how. I don't know all the details of how I will embark on this journey. Where will my belongings go? My car and motorcycle? How will I afford all my student loans and bills that continue even when I am not working?

All questions that will have answers to them. But for now, the commitment has been made. Which comes with my apologies as you will continue to hear all my rambles while I prepare (or rather, foam at the mouth as I helplessly watch the days melt by!).

Here we go! An 8-year, 8,000-mile journey culminates shortly (comparatively) . 

 

Part Three.

It has been many years since our journey began.

February, 2009, was the start of an epic trilogy. A trio of seemingly unfathomable feats of endurance. The Triple Crown. Nearly eight thousand miles of walking. The Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and the notoriously wild, Continental Divide Trail. There's a fateful saying within the thru-hiker community; you either do one, or you do three.

Once I completed the Appalachian Trail, I knew the bug had bit me. While I never (in that moment) felt I would ever hike another day in my life as my feet throbbed and my emaciated body gobbled up any nutrient (or junk food...) I could shovel into my gullet, I did now know the insatiable desire for exploration and adventure. 

Fast forward two years, and there I am. Starting another trail with my trusty companion and brother-in-arms. Andy and I met on the AT and pushed each other to accomplish the trail. We then began our journey on the Pacific Crest Trail and the next chapter of The Dusty Camel, our newly formed non-profit which stemmed from our trail names on the AT. 

Along the PCT, we filmed our actions, encounters, and daily life. Through the work of As It Happens: Pacific Crest Trail we began to reach the people created The Dusty Camel for. It was our simple desire to help inspire those passionate about the outdoors to embark on epic journeys of their own. 

While the PCT became an unforgettable and amazing journey, our lives took hold and careers and family became the priority. Andy and I have embarked on some pretty ridiculous and amazing expeditions since the PCT. But the ever looming Triple Crown has always hung in the corner of the room, with the understanding that it wasn't a matter of if, but when.

2016 marks four years since the PCT. A lot has happened, a lot has changed. However, what has remained the same, is the calling to explore. 

In the coming weeks I will make the decision whether to write the final book of the trilogy this next hiking season of 2017. Trek, once again, from the border of Mexico to Canada. Through the most wild lands of this country. Lands often uncharted which require bushwhacking and navigation. Once again, I will share with all willing to listen my journey along the Divide; both bright and dark. 

It is with my sincerest hope that Andy and I can finish this together. It is also my greatest excitement at the possibility of adding another of my best friends to this epic trek. 

I don't know, in the end, who will begin the CDT. But it's seeming like come April, 2017 -- I will be hiking the Continental Divide Trail.