Take a thru-hike, and add in a few spreadsheets, and you get statistics. Lots of statistics.
|NM||662.5||40||16.6||17.9 (3 zeroes)|
|CO||725.1||55||13.2||14.8 (6 zeroes)|
|WY||501.2||29||17.3||18.6 (2 zeroes)|
|ID/MT||624.9||39||16.0||17.4 (3 zeroes)|
|Total||2513.7||163||15.4||16.9 (14 zeroes)|
My hike of the Continental Divide Trail was 2,513.7 miles, which took me 163 days, including 14 zeroes. Not included are 13 days I spent completely off-trail: 7 days in Albuquerque between Grants and Chama; 3 days in Denver when my partner came to visit; and 3 days to get back to Chama after reaching the northern terminus.
Compared to the AT and PCT, the CDT was my fastest trail in terms of daily distance hiked, averaging at 15.4 miles/day, or 16.9 miles/non-zero.
It’s not surprising that Colorado was my slowest state, and that Wyoming was my fastest. In retrospect, I’m surprised that New Mexico was as close to my Wyoming average as it is, but I think that was largely caused by my pack breaking in the Great Divide Basin and needing replacement, which contributed to a double-zero in Pinedale and the rather short day after leaving town.
|0 - 5 mi||6||3.6%|
|5 - 10 mi||13||7.9%|
|10 - 15 mi||36||22.1%|
|15 - 20 mi||43||26.4%|
|20 - 25 mi||41||25.2%|
|25 - 30 mi||10||6.1%|
My longest stretch between zeroes was the 19 days and 335.7 miles from Helena to the northern terminus, closely followed by the 18-day 333 mile stretch between Pinedale, WY and Ennis, MT. Both of these fell short of my record, a 20-day 429-mile stretch on the PCT, from Ashland to Cascade Locks, nearly the entire length of Oregon.
Despite expecting to set a personal distance record in the Great Divide Basin, my longest day fell short. My PCT distance record was 33.8 miles. On the CDT, my longest day was 27.2 miles. My longest four-day stretch was 104 miles, leaving Rawlins, WY, a little short my longest four-day stretch on the PCT (106 miles, in Oregon). Still, though, I hiked two separate back-to-back marathons over the course of a week (a new record for me).
I attribute this shortfall to not being judicious about getting up and hiking near sunrise, wasting precious daytime hours, and a general refusal to night-hike, even in places that warrant it (like the Great Divide Basin).
According to the step counter on my iPhone, I took 7,250,341 steps on my hike (including zeroes), for an average of 41,195 per day. The day with the fewest steps was a zero in Helena, MT, where I only made 6,019 steps. The lowest non-zero day was 15,760, when I had a short day to the trailhead outside of Lake City, CO.
The day with the most steps was 67,101, a 26.9 mile day in the Great Divide Basin.
Not surprisingly, I spent more than half my nights on the trail in my tent. I could (and probably should) have cowboy-camped more often; it would have made setting up (and tearing down) camp much faster.
I was not particularly efficient in towns; every town I arrived in, I stayed at overnight. (I’m not counting South Pass City, WY as a town, since it’s more of a historical artifact than anything else.). But, I had only two double-zeros, in Silverton, CO and Pinedale, WY, compared to three on the AT and two on the PCT.
My longest stretch staying outside was ten nights, in New Mexico, from Silver City to Pie Town.
I also spent 60 nights (36%) alone — either in hotel rooms, or in campsites with no one else around. There’s a lot of solitude to be found on the CDT, but I expected to be alone a lot more often than I was.
I took 39 showers. The longest between showers was 9 days (156 miles) from Lava Mountain Lodge, WY to West Yellowstone, MT.
Laundry was slightly more sparse, with only 22 visits to laundromats. The longest stretch in-between was 13 days, 235 miles, between Pinedale and West Yellowstone.
|Grand Lake, CO||586.5||48|
|West Yellowstone, MT||675.6||37|
|End of Trail||841.3||51|
I wore through four pairs of Merrell Moabs.
My first pair got replaced early, after Grants, when I was in Albuquerque due to the fire closure. (Without the closure, I would likely have had new boots sent to Chama, adding 250 miles to the first pair.) I could have held out longer, but with more rugged terrain and snow in Colorado, I wanted a fresh pair of boots to be safe.
After that, I had new boots sent to Grand Lake and West Yellowstone. That last pair of boots I used for almost 850 miles, the furthest I’ve ever gone in a pair of Moabs.
I also had a pair of crocs, which served me well in camp, in town, and for most water crossings outside the Gila River. They didn’t get much wear, and should easily make it through several more hikes.
I resupplied 31 times, with seven boxes sent ahead.
I mailed boxes to Doc Campbell’s (on the Gila River Alternate); Pie Town; Twin Lakes, CO; Encampment, WY; South Pass City; Brooks Lake Lodge; and Ghost Ranch, NM. All of theses boxes were sent from the trail, with the exception of the box to Doc Campbell’s, which I sent from home a couple of days before leaving for the trail.
The longest time between resupplies was the seven-day 128-mile stretch from Doc Campbell’s to Pie Town. (Due to overpacking the Doc Campbell’s box and eating more food from the store than I expected, I wound up with entirely too much food at Pie Town, and gave away several meals.)
The longest distance between resupplies was 132.5 miles over six days from Rawlins to South Pass City.
The only resupply fiasco was Rawlins through Pinedale. I’d made a last-minute decision to skip going into Pinedale (a ten mile hike + half-hour hitch off trail), and instead attempted to push 168 miles from South Pass City (where I had a box waiting with food to Pinedale) to Dubois. This involved leaving Rawlins with two extra days of food, to supplement the box in South Pass City. However, the weather and the Cirque of the Towers alternate slowed me down considerably, and I went into Pinedale anyway, meaning I’d carried two extra days of food through the Basin for absolutely no reason.
|Category||Cost||Per Day||Per Mile|
|Total (without Gear)||$11,588.95||$71.10||$4.61|
The CDT was not an inexpensive hike.
Despite having several other hikes under my belt, gear was still a significant expense. This included a new pair of trekking poles, a new puffy jacket, sleeping bag, ice axe, and bear sack. (My boots made up the bulk of the Consumables category, the remainder being fuel.)
Lodging was generally expensive, especially since I rarely split rooms with other hikers. Colorado was the most expensive in general. Colorado (Steamboat Springs) and New Mexico (Santa Fe, returning to the trail from Canada) were both tied at $207 per night for the most expensive hotel rooms I’ve ever paid for.
Food was split roughly evenly between grocery stores and restaurants, proving once again that tasty town food is just not cost-effective.
Transportation was inflated a bit due to the need to return to New Mexico to finish the trail after arriving in Canada.
The main takeaway is the same as on my prior hikes: it’s hard to spend money when you’re out in the wilderness, and staying in town is very expensive.
Few trails have as many alternate routes as the CDT. Officially 2,975.3 miles long, I hiked 2,512.8 miles (462.5 miles less). An astonishing 605 miles of that were alternate routes (38 in total), so there’s roughly a third of the official CDT route I did not hike. (That certainly gives me something to look forward to next time!)
The longest alternate was my variant of the Super Butte Cutoff (also known as the Big Sky Cutoff), 177.6 miles that cut off a whopping 498.7 miles of the CDT, by taking a more-or-less direct route from West Yellowstone to Butte, rather than the official trail’s meandering route along the Idaho-Montana border. (This was also my least favorite alternate, taken only because I was running out of time to reach Canada before winter weather arrived.)
My favorite alternate by far was the Gila River Alternate, 106.3 miles which bypassed 175.3 miles of the CDT.
The alternate that added the most miles was the hike to summit Mount Elbert. That took 8.5 miles to bypass 3.4 miles of the CDT (adding 5.1 miles), in order to summit the tallest mountain in the Rockies and in Colorado.