START: Doc Campbell’s
FINISH: Columbus, US/Mexico Border
DISTANCE: 174.6 miles (290 km)
DAILY AVERAGE: 43.7 miles (70.3 km)
TOTAL DISTANCE: 2592 miles (4171 km)
Major Route Choice #4: Columbus or Crazy Cook/Antelope wells? I chose the former for two reasons; firstly, it provided easier access for my family to meet me at the finish, and secondly, it was closer to airports for onward transportation to New England and the beginning of the AT.
Family: During the final nine days of the CDT, I was periodically joined by my sister, brother-in-law and two nephews. They had flown from Australia especially, and it meant the world to me to see my family again after so long away from home. Hands down the highlight of the entire CDT.
One more to go!: The CDT was the penultimate hike in the 12 Long Walks series. After more than 12,000 miles in just over fifteen months, only the Appalachian Trail (AT) remains. After losing a couple of weeks on the PCT due to the whims of Mother Nature (Poodle Dog bush and historically high June/July snow levels in Oregon and Washington) and ‘Father Time’ (dodgy left knee), the CDT was for the most part smooth sailing. I was fortunate with both weather and health. That being said, with an eye on reaching Maine by mid-October, I probably pushed as hard on the CDT as on any other trail, with the possible exception of the GDT last year. Seventy four days was as quick as I could have gone. This in itself is somewhat of an anomaly, as generally speaking during longer trips I tend to hike within myself (i.e. 85 to 90% capacity) in order to avoid both injury and burnout. Onwards to Maine…………