Simba Hikes the CDT - Dispatch #7

Simba Hikes the CDT - Dispatch #7

I’ve reached a point on the trail that I thought would never come.


I am finally in New Mexico. 


The last state. The home stretch. The “make it or break it” point on a CDT thruhike. 


My body is fine, will my mind break though? 


Ugh, I don’t know. My mind travels to distant far off places by the hour. Although my brain is forcing my feet to walk 25+ miles a day, my thoughts are elsewhere..


..with my family. With my dog. In my tiny house with a warm fire. Waking up and putting my favorite sweater and pants on. In a coffee shop in Ogden with friends talking about who knows what. Late night guilty menchies trips after lucky slice. 


Painting my feelings away. Warm things. Cozy things. Not.. cold things.


I’m very ready to get off this trail, but my work here is not done. 


Southern Colorado was something to talk about. I have a love/hate relationship with it. The last two weeks in the state were super chill. 




During the day it would warm up to shorts and T shirt weather. All day I would watch the sun disappear further and further over the mountain side, slowly dropping the temps into a frigid, single digit ice age atmosphere. 


I’m a popsicle.


One night Dreamer, Pineapple, and I set up my 2P Tigerwall and her Copper Spur into one tent to huddle together and stay warm. 


We called it the Tentapede. 


Our water bottles froze before we could even finish setting up shelter. Yeah, it was cold. We stayed warm and that’s what matters. 


It was 5 degrees.


When it’s this cold every night, it’s hard to look forward to sleeping. Even with a 5 degree Rab bag, I’m still in the fetal position with all of my clothes on. Sometimes I put my emergency blanket over my hips.


My hips are always cold, and they don’t lie.


We hiked in high mountains on rough trail and on dirt roads down low. The mountains in CO are beautiful, but right now it is way to cold for me. We decided to bail out of the South San Juan’s and take the Great Divide Alternate for 36 miles. which would put us at lower altitudes to stay warmer. The GA would eventually link back up with the CDT at Cumbres Pass, 3 miles north of the NM/CO border. 


I’m happy with the decision and I don’t regret anything. I still have a continuous footpath from Canada and that’s what’s important to me. 


Hiking with Dreamer and Pineapple may have saved my hike. As I’ve said numerous times, this trail is lonely. We have a lot of great conversations and a lot of hard laughs. Sometimes Pineapple is laughing so hard that she might fall over, and that makes Dreamer and I laugh even harder to the point of tears. It’s a great trio.


One thing we do talk about though, is our feelings. Thru hiking brings out the emotions. Dreamer, who is about to be the first Swedish Triple Crowner, said something the other day that really hit hard.. 


“Sometimes I wonder if I never fell in love with Thruhiking, I just fell in love with the PCT”


I’m deciding if this is true for me or not. I’ll get back to you on that.


The practice of Thru hiking is just down right bat-shit crazy. Sometimes I wonder why I put myself through this. What we are doing is a labor of love and a labor of misery. Lately.. it’s been mostly misery with a few sprinkles of love here and there. 


I’m tired. ready to get this over with, but excited for what New Mexico has for me. 


See ya soon Ogden.




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  • Brandon Long