Friday, April 22, 2011

Married to the Trail

Last weekend, I caught up with my high school friend Mary, who I hadn't seen in who knows how many years. These days, she's living an outdoorsy life to the fullest out on the West Coast. After hiking the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail in past years, she's now getting ready to thru-hike the Continental Divide Trail this summer, from May through October*, alone.

The CDT is no joke. It is 3,100 miles of primitive and challenging backcountry trail from Canada to Mexico along the backbone of America. Only 70% of the trail is complete, and it presents the most remote and challenging terrain, fewest signposts, and fewest hikers of the three sister trails. This is truly an epic feat I could never imagine doing (I'm too scared of bears and wild animals), but to Mary, waking and walking in the woods every day is her life's passion. This girl is hardcore. She leads white water rafting trips in the summer and lived in a yurt for six months.

She's started a blog to record her travels, called Married to the Trail. Since she will be out of communication on the trail, she will keep a written journal, and when she gets to town now and then, she'll mail journal pages back to her boyfriend, who will transcribe her words to update the blog. Old technology meets new technology at its finest.

Mary will also have a GPS device to broadcast her location each day on a map on the blog so we can follow her journey. And the GPS has a 911 button, just in case. I know I feel a lot better knowing about that!

* In October, another of my good high school friends will mark a major milestone...a new baby! First baby in my crew.


  1. wow - just wow. I recently read A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. He hikes (most of) the Appalachian Trail in the book and I gained an even deeper respect for those who accomplish such an amazing feat. I would like to hike the 100 mile wilderness in Maine in the next 5 years. If it works out, I might try going for the whole shebang.

  2. I don't think Bryson got anywhere near half of the trail. I had the privilege of meeting Speedstick (Mary) on the PCT, she's a lot of fun.