When I delayed my planned thru-hike of the Continental Divide Trail last April due to COVID-19, I was cautiously optimistic that, by April of this year, the virus would have been well under control, things would mostly be “back to normal”, and I’d be on trail. That didn’t really happen.
Instead of the CDT, last year I had to content myself with the Tuscarora Trail, which I’d decided would be safe enough to hike because it had extremely simple resupply logistics: the trail went directly through (or within a mile of, in one case) a trail town, so hitchhiking was unnecessary, and it was very easy to avoid people.
In January of this year, I was cautiously optimistic that I could still be on the CDT in late April. But, I’d made the decision not to start until after I was able to get my vaccine shots and I was fully vaccinated. And seeing the slower than anticipated rollout of coronavirus vaccines, I mentally prepared myself for the reality of not being able to start hiking within my planned window.
Hedging my bets, I picked up some contract work in January that was both interesting and flexible, in that, while I had a six month contract, they were okay with my leaving early, in April. (Unfortunately, hiking and writing about it doesn’t yet pay for itself!)
April came and went, and by mid-May I was fully vaccinated. And while I probably could have made my way out to the CDT and gotten started nearly a month later than I wanted — or else hiked southbound — I would have either felt rushed from a later-than-ideal start, or else have not gotten the hike I wanted to. And, though vaccinated, I still felt a little uneasy about the overall situation on the trail (or rather, in and around towns) as it currently is.
I was disappointed, but not surprised, when I finally made the decision to delay my CDT hike again, to 2022. Like last year, it felt more like committing to the reality of the situation than anything else. I’d already made the decision; I just had to acknowledge it.
So now, the plan is, CDT next year, and the Tahoe Rim Trail this year.
It’ll be a long wait for me and the CDT, not getting to the trail until some six years after I decided I’d hike it, and two years after I’d originally planned.
I fully expect, though, that the Continental Divide Trail will be well worth the wait.