The Continental Divide Trail follows the backbone of America where the waters divide west to the Pacific and east to the Atlantic. The trail's northern terminus is in Waterton Lake National Park in Canada. From there it dives south through the mountains of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. It ends at the Mexican border. The route is approximately 2,800 miles long, but unlike the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails, the CDT is not complete. It is not a defined trail. Hiking the route involves cross country travel/ bushwhacking. Only a handful of people hike the trail every year and it is considered the most treacherous and brutal piece of the Triple Crown (the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail and Continental Divide Trail).
In June of 2010, I set out to hike the Continental Divide Trail southbound. My plan was to hike the route solo, but luckily for me, I fell in with an adventurous band of hikers, who were also heading south. We became quick friends and headed towards Mexico together through some of the toughest country I have seen.
We braved high, snowbound passes in Glacier National Park, rushing river fords in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, and grizzly bear encounters in Montana and Idaho.
Wyoming greeted us with impossibly high passes in the Wind River Range and desolate lowlands in the Great Divide Basin.
Colorado brought high elevations and wild electric storms in exposed country.
New Mexico hailed us with towering river canyons complete with cliff dwellings, waterless stretches of up to 80 miles, black widows, tarantulas, rattlesnakes and finally, Mexico.
It was the best adventure of my life.