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What does the “hardest hike in America” mean?

The Princess of Darkness (of Trail Show fame) hanging on the edge of Vernacher Col
The Princess of Darkness (of Trail Show fame) hanging on the edge of Vernacher Col

In the past week, this article posted on Gizmodo has been going around claiming the Sierra High Route is the hardest route in the Lower 48.

My recent trip on the SHR really cemented in my mind an idea I’ve been toying with—that how difficult you find a trail or route to be is relative to the hiker—her/his experience, fitness level, skills and knowledge, and mental state.

Our group had some discussion about whether the SHR is more difficult than the Continental Divide Trail. Most of the group thought the SHR was much harder. Although objectively speaking, I know the SHR was more technical and required much more experience and knowledge than the CDT to complete it safely (which thank goodness, we all walked off the trail healthy and safe—a prospect we had put odds on before leaving for the trip), I couldn’t help but agree that I personally found the CDT to be harder.

Allgood descending 30 feet of Class 3 slab after Blue Lake Pass
Allgood descending 30 feet of Class 3 slab after Blue Lake Pass

The main reason for this was because when I hiked the CDT, I did not have the skills, knowledge, and experience that the trail required. I hiked the CDT during the shoulder season, providing me with additional challenges that I wasn’t prepared for. I was worried about not being able to make it through the snow in the San Juans, and tried to hike as many miles as I could, not giving myself adequate time for mental or physical recovery.

Meanwhile, my prep for the SHR was relatively solid (for me). The Sierras were my old stomping grounds and I had a wonderful group of mentors who taught me the skills and guided me through years of experiences in the Sierra that made me feel prepared for the trip. We hiked the SHR during a great season, and although we had some weather issues, I felt good about staying safe in those situations. Most importantly, I hiked the SHR with a great group of friends I could count on who were experienced and who made me smile all day. No matter how hard a trip, it doesn’t seem bad when you’re smiling.

If hardest hike in America means the one that does you the most bodily harm…
If hardest hike in America means the one that does you the most bodily harm…

 

Ultimately, a trip’s difficulty is an equation between you and what the trail and its conditions (especially weather) requires.

The bigger the gap, the harder you will find the route and the more likely you will be injured or find yourself in a life threatening situation. The smaller the gap, the more manageable the trip. Of course, you can always try to increase that gap by creating challenges—hiking the trail faster, hiking the trail in the off-season, adding an extension or yoyo-ing the trail, or hiking the trail with a group of troublesome people.

Walking on ridges during thunderstorms is among the challenges of the SHR
Walking on ridges during thunderstorms is among the challenges of the SHR

After a few days on the SHR, I noted that what our team of experienced thru-hikers felt must have been a little like how a normal backpacker feels when s/he first undertakes a thru-hike of the John Muir Trail. Doing the SHR felt a bit like learning a new “sport”; traveling the SHR has about in much in common with thru-hiking as dayhiking has with backpacking. It wasn’t quite thru-hiking and wasn’t quite peakbagging (or pass-bagging) and wasn’t quite rock climbing.

Steve Roper, the climber who developed the route, calls SHR-ers “travelers” and the term seems fitting for one who undertakes the journey. I felt fortunate that I felt knowledgeable enough about the three “sports” that “traveling” is rooted in, that the SHR was not the most difficult trail for me.

So when you read Gizmodo’s article, take it with a grain of salt to determine whether the SHR will be the most difficult trail for you.

 

Gear for Urban Hiking Denver

In front of the Denver landmark: Casa Bonita
In front of the Denver landmark: Casa Bonita

 

As Denverites are beginning to see the value of Walking Colfax, I was lucky enough to get interviewed by 5280 Magazine about my hike on the “longest and wickedest road in America.”

For people just getting into urban hiking, here a few tips on gear that I love when I’m taking to the road most travelled:

Go Motion Fusion Backpack Light: When visibility is key to your survival, this light makes sure that motorists know you are coming. This was especially important when walking the narrow-shouldered eastern part of Colfax later in the day (as a storm was rolling in).

Gossamer Gear Type 2 Utility Backpack: This comfortable and stylish backpack fit everything I need while also looking city ready. The convenient water bottle pockets allowed me stay hydrated. The Napoleon pocket made it so my wallet was easy to find and accessible. Lastly, I fit a change of clothes PLUS two pairs of Altra Zero Drop shoes in there. It was perfect for changing my shoes half way through the trip to keep my toes happy.

Altra Olympus 1.5 Running Shoes: My go-to shoe for urban hiking, this comfy shoe feels great when you’re pounding pavement for 50 miles. The wide toe box (Foot Shape Box) allows your toes to spread and be happy to prevent foot pain.

Altra Paradigm Running Shoes: Designed for ultramarathoners running the famed Badwater to Whitney 100+ miler ROAD race, this shoe had plenty of cushioning and was mind-blowingly lightweight. I switched to the Paradigm for the last half of my last day and my feet LOVED it. I’m never hitting an urban hike without the Paradigm again!

 

To check out the article on hiking Colfax from 5280 Magazine, you can read it here.

Responsibilities of Being a sponsored athlete

Altra Running founder Brian Beckstead and I on the Chicago Architecture Boat tour put on by Altra at the Chicago Running and Fitness Event
Altra Running founder Brian Beckstead and I on the Chicago Architecture Boat tour put on by Altra at the Chicago Running and Fitness Event

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of serving one of my sponsors, Altra Zero Drop shoes, at the Chicago Running and Fitness Event for Women. During event, I was interviewed by Expedition News about what I thought was going to be an article about my Chicago Urban Thru-hike, which was sponsored by Altra. Much to my surprise, the article was actually about the responsibilities of being a sponsored outdoor athlete.

I’ve run into quite a few hikers who know that I am sponsored, and wonder what it takes to be sponsored. I would say there are two things

  • Genuine enthusiasm for the product and the company: I run into a lot of hikers who want a sponsorship—any sponsorship from any company and they don’t care if they’ve never used the product before. I get it. Hikers love free stuff. But too often, I hear stories about sponsored athletes bagging on gear to other hikers—even offering other hikers cash to trade one of their sponsored pieces of gear for another piece of gear that works better. It does you as a hiker no good to carry garbage gear. And it does the company a lot of harm when you openly complain about your sponsored gear. I would say always drop a couple Benjamins paying retail prices for gear, take it for a couple thru-hikes, and know that you love it before you even consider trying to get a sponsorship from the company.
  • Giving back: Sponsorship is a two way street. From a company’s perspective, by investing in you as an athlete, they want to know their money is well spent. By “well spent,” I mean that they are getting more bang for their buck than if they did traditional marketing. Andrew Skurka wrote an article about sponsorships back in 2011 that covers the topic well and writes about the different tiers of sponsorship, an important distinction. I always try to mention my sponsors whenever I talk to media folks and provide photos of me using the gear (that isn’t really hard to do…what with me actually using the gear all the time)
  • Be a role model: What goes around comes around. I know a few hikers who are really accomplished, but have the wisdom, foresight, responsibility, and class to realize that there is more to being a sponsored athlete than just getting free stuff. One friend specifically said that being sponsored isn’t it worth it to him because he would feel like he couldn’t party in town as much as he would like to if he we representing a company. I have the utmost respect for him for having the kind of honesty and authenticity to come to that conclusion. Additionally, I try to be a role model within the community by volunteering with several outdoor related non-profits.

 

For more info on this topic, check out the article from Expedition News about Jeff Blumenthal (who also wrote a book about sponsorships) and his take on giving back to sponsors.

Presentation at the Chinook Trail Association

 

Tomato, Allgood, and I at the northwestern terminus of the Chinook Trail
Tomato, Allgood, and I at the northwestern terminus of the Chinook Trail

In 1986, two buddies, Ed Robertson and Don Cannard, hiked up Silver Star Mountain and looked out on the Columbia River Gorge. They dreamed that one day, there could be a long distance trail that connected where they stood as far as they could see. The Chinook Trail started as a fantasy, but the two friends went the extra mile (excuse the pun) to get the Chinook Trail designated as a National Recreation Trail, to work with the Forest Service, to put pulaskis to the ground, and to establish the Chinook Trail Association. Last Sunday, Brian “Tomato” Boshart, Whitney “Allgood” LaRuffa, and I had the honor of speaking at the Chinook Trail Association annual meeting as the first people to walk the conceptual length of the trail.

Speaking to the CTA
Speaking to the CTA

Speaking at the Chinook Trail Association was the best speaking experience I’ve had in my hiking life. The Vancouver Water Resources building was filled with people who had miraculously given up the opportunity to spend a rare warm and sunny Sunday in February in the Pacific Northwest to hear us speak. Ed Robertson passed away several years ago, but his dream was clearly still alive in that room.

The Oregon desert on the Chinook Trail
The Oregon desert on the Chinook Trail

Don Cannard told us that for many years, he didn’t think he would live to see someone hike the Chinook Trail, so he was imaginably pretty excited to learn that this year, three people and a dog hiked his trail.  It was an honor to meet Don and tell him about all the fun times we had on our hike.

Most of the attendees at the Annual Meeting had been part of the organization since the trail’s conception and there were many senior citizens in the room. Tomato, Allgood, and I got the impression that a lot of people in that room were there to hear a talk they never thought would happen. As Don explained, “We always thought to complete the trail, we would have to be out there building hundreds of miles of trail. But these guys showed that the trail can be hiked now.”

The wet part of the Chinook Trail
The wet part of the Chinook Trail

At the end of our talk, the CTA awarded us with beautiful framed plaques congratulating our hike (even Karluk got one). We gave them a copy of our maps and promised them that within the thru-hiking community, the Chinook Trail is no longer a conception, but a reality that people want to do.

Allgood and I are working on putting out a guidebook and mapset for the Chinook Trail. We believe the Chinook Trail is an ideal trail for someone who wants a long distance hike experience, but can’t take more than two weeks of vacation. The Chinook Trail is close to a major airport, doesn’t require permits, and can easily be reached by friends and family for trail magic. In only 300 miles, the Chinook Trail takes hikers through diverse climates, offering hikers a CDT-like experience without CDT-logistics or CDT-commitment or the CDT-like near death experiences. It’s a perfect training hike to learn about navigation and get ready for more route-based trips.

 

When it comes down to it, hiking, just like any hobby, is kind of a selfish pursuit. Speaking to the CTA was the first time I felt that just by walking, I had done something bigger than just having a fun time. Allgood, Tomato, and I have realized what a cool experience it is as hikers to work with a smaller trail organization. There are probably dozens of smaller trails like the Chinook Trail around the U.S., waiting for hikers to turn conceptual dreams into realities.

The Mental Game of a Thru-Hike with the Denver Post

A beautiful spot on the Colorado Trail.
A beautiful spot on the Colorado Trail.

 

As I thru-hiker, I get to meet some of the kindest people out there, and Dean Krakel, who writes for my local paper, the Denver Post, is one of them. We’ve been exchanging emails for the past year as he prepares for his Colorado Trail thru-hike, and he was generous enough to share some of my tips on mental preparation with the greater Denver Post reading community. I interviewed in person with Dean at a coffee shop in Golden, CO, not far from my work with the Continental Divide Trail.

In this article, he eloquently condenses hours of conversation into a sleek mental prep guide.

Read more about the mental game of a thru-hike here: http://www.denverpost.com/fitness/ci_28318294/hiking-colorado-trail-alone-mental-game?source=pkg

National Trails Day: June 6th

“For me, #NationalTrailsDay is really rewarding because I can start off the summer right by volunteering to work on the trails that I know I’ll be using later in the summer. I have the chance to spruce up trails and put a little love and sweat into something I care so much about.” Liz Thomas Hiking, American Hiking Ambassador. Get out and hit the trail on #NationalTrailsDay on June 6. #GetOutGiveBack. Thanks to The Muir Project for producing this video!

Posted by American Hiking Society on Monday, May 18, 2015

I was honored to be chosen to be one of four  American Hiking Society ambassadors and to share with others my love of hiking and the need to come together to protect the places we love as hikers.

What I love about hiking, is that it gives me the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life. Hiking is the great leveler—nature is a place where the CEO can be best friends on the guy out on his luck, the elderly can befriend teenagers, and where Americans can connect with people from all around the world—foreigners here to enjoy the high quality and unique trail and landscape system found only in the US.

Trails are also a great healer. I’ve met hundreds of people overcoming loss, disease, heartbreak—people who are out of shape trying to get back in shape. For people of every background, getting out in nature is healing and empowering. Being in the outdoors forces us to be responsible to ourselves and reminds us that one person can climb mountains.

If you’ve ever wanted to adventure, explore, and have fun in the outdoors, but aren’t sure how, National Trails Day is great way to get out there in a safe and fun way.

National Trails Day is a free series of outdoor events on the first Saturday in June. Whether you want to try hiking, horseback riding, trail running, mountain biking, canoeing, or geocaching, each year, you’ll be joining 150,000 people from all 50 states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico in National Trails Day events.

I know that for me, National Trails Day is really rewarding because I can start off the summer right by volunteering to work on the trails that I know I’ll be using later in the summer. By volunteering at National Trails Day events, I have a chance to spruce up trails, give back, and put a little love and sweat into something that I care so much about. Later this summer, when I finally do hit the trail, it’ll feel good to walk past a spot that I worked on and know that I contributed to making a little part of the world a better place.

So whether you’re curious about what this whole nature thing is about or you’re already an outdoors junkie, chances are there is a National Trails Day event tailored to your interest. There are gear demos, guided plant and wildlife hikes, wilderness skills and training—and it’s all free. Bring your kids, bring your neighbor, bring your friends, bring your grandma—National Trails Day is an all ages event and we want everyone to be there!

Find an event near you at www.nationaltrailsday.org. National Trails Day is the first Saturday in June. See you on the trail!

Women’s Backpacking Tips

Cover to Women’s Backpacking Tips by TRAILS Magazine!
Cover to Women’s Backpacking Tips by TRAILS Magazine!

I’ve made a lot of mistakes, wasted a lot of money, and ended up pretty messy and stinky–but through learning the hard way, here are some nuggets of wisdom that should give women out there the knowledge and skills to never do what I did again!

This was a story I shared with my good friends over at TRAILS Cultural Magazine in Japan. But don’t be frightened–the complete English text link is here!

Everything you’ve ever needed to know, wanted to know, or just are curious about with regards to being a woman backpacking.

Check it out!

 

Transcript of my Speech at Backpacker Magazine

Loving nature. Photo by Barefoot Jake Morrison.
Loving nature. Photo by Barefoot Jake Morrison.

American Hiking Society is the only national organization that promotes and protects foot trails, their surrounding natural areas, and the hiking experience.

I was lucky enough to give a speech at Backpacker Magazine’s headquarters in Boulder, Colorado this spring at an event for American Hiking Society. Here, in my own words, I share why hiking is important to me and why it is so crucial that we protect our trails and natural places for future generations.

Check it out!

http://www.americanhiking.org/blog/exhilarated-that-by-my-own-human-power/

Speaking at the AHS event at Backpacker HQ. Photo by John Cactus McKinny
Speaking at the AHS event at Backpacker HQ. Photo by John Cactus McKinny

Trans Adirondack Route

A year ago today, I started the Trans Adirondack Route—a 235 mile hike across the Adirondack Park, the largest forest preserve in the Lower 48. I never finished it—the TADK has a notoriously high drop off rate—and was ashamed enough about it that I never did a write-up about the trail. A year later, I’m able to reflect on its beauty and enjoy the trail for what I was able to complete, instead of what I missed.

I got quite adept at crossing beaver dams on the TADK
I got quite adept at crossing beaver dams on the TADK

Created by a former Adirondack backcountry ranger, Erik Schlimmer, the route is an elegant look at the undervisited and well-visited parts of the Park. I had never been to the Adirondacks, and it’s a little off the beaten path, making the whole Park feel wilder than almost anywhere I’ve been on the East Coast. Furthermore, Erik told me that the ‘Dacks don’t have a strong backpacking culture—those who enjoy the Park tend to be dayhikers or peakbaggers. Those who do venture into the backcountry sections of the trail that require overnighting tend to be traditional, “heavy” backpackers. This means with the TADK, the thru-hiker has a rare opportunity to enjoy the park as few do.

Famous cliffs over what I believe is Tirell Pond
Famous cliffs over what I believe is Tirell Pond

I was the first person to attempt northbounding (the book is written for southbounders), and it was strange to be dropped off in front of a house on a dirt road—the official southern boundary of where the park starts. The Adirondack Park is an innovative mix of public and private property, making for a cool conservation model but sometimes less-than-ideal for exploration. The trail followed wide snowmobile tracks past tranquil ponds. The trail was still snowy and icy at parts, and in other parts, was boggy and marshy and required traveling through some very cold water.

Cold River
Cold River

The route connects existing trails with cross country and a bit of roadwalking, making for a fun mix of navigation. I didn’t feel like hitchhiking on this trip, so had planned only one resupply in Piseco, NY, picking up a package I sent General Delivery to the PO. The town also had a little store where some friendly locals asked me to sit with them and chat. The locals were somewhat used to hikers—the TADK shares some 100 miles of tread with the well-marked Northville Placid Trail (a 133-mile trail that should be on every Thru-hikes for the Working Stiff or Thru-hikes You Don’t Have to Quit Your Job For list).

My favorite part of the hike was the West Canada Lake Wilderness. Although I postholed my way through most of that area, I loved the haunting lakes. The highlight of my entire trip was watching a moose swim in the Cedar River. The Cold River country—relatively flat, dotted with three sided shelters, and including a cool bridge crossing of the rock-carving Cold River—was also a trip. This section also was subject to the mother of all blowdowns—what seemed to be an entire forest taken down by Hurricane Irene. The trail was flagged and appeared to be carved out of this mess of fallen trees, which made for obstacle-course like travel.

The bridge over Cold river
The bridge over Cold river

The entire trip, I didn’t see a human for a week except for my resupply in Piseco. Perhaps that is because all the locals knew better than to venture into the ‘Dacks in April during one of the biggest and coldest snow years on record. I didn’t get reception for most of the trip and enjoyed being out there, alone, on trail that hadn’t been visited by humans for months (according to many of the trail registers I read).

As I gained elevation, I saw the craziest ice I’ve ever seen in my life. At times, I was walking on five feet of sheeted ice which broke apart under my feet and was sharp!
As I gained elevation, I saw the craziest ice I’ve ever seen in my life. At times, I was walking on five feet of sheeted ice which broke apart under my feet and was sharp!

I ended my trip early, leaving on the Northville Placid Trail, to avoid the High Peaks. Anything over 2,500 feet had me postholing up to my waist. The worst instances had me postholing into snowbridges (which given the amount of water on the ADK, happened often). I hadn’t brought an ice axe and was hesitant to go cross country up Avalanche Gulch solo as I’ve never had Avalanche Training.

I’m eager to return to the TADK and finish the last 70 or so miles I have to do. Thirty of those miles are what I suspect are the most spectacular of the whole trip—the High Peaks. Forty two miles are paved roads, which, when it comes down to it, I don’t mind that much. Perhaps I will be lucky enough to return this summer or in the fall when the colors are alive. Until then, I’ll settle for the knowledge that I was rewarded by hiking in a new part of the country and getting to have the woods to myself.

For more information about how to hike the TADK, check out the guidebook or map set or the Trans Adirondack website.

 

 

First Annual Silver City CDT Kick Off

The first annual CDT Kick Off (aka CDT Trail Days) took place in Silver City, NM this month. Photo by April Sylva.
The first annual CDT Kick Off (aka CDT Trail Days) took place in Silver City, NM this month. Photo by April Sylva.

Anyone who has ever hiked the PCT and CDT can tell you that while the two trails may have a few things in common, they are very different trails. It turns out that as different as the PCT and CDT are from one another so, too are their respective Kick Offs. This month, I had the opportunity to participate in this year’s First Annual CDT Kick Off (officially known as CDT Trail Days) in Silver City, NM. Whereas PCT Kick Off can be exhausting, overwhelming, and crowded, CDT Kick Off was intimidate, personal, and low-key. All weekend, CDT Trail Days emphasized collaboration between the city and the trail, giving a unique spin to the traditional hiking festival.

Allgood enjoys the Gateway Ale!
Allgood enjoys the Gateway Ale!

The evening started off with a Happy Many Hours at the Little Toad, the local brewery in Siler City, NM. Local elected officials spoke and the Little Toad tapped a keg of Gateway Ale, a tribute to the CDT-Silver City partnership that was created last year when Silver City became the first CDT Gateway Community. This beer featured hops grown by monks within view of the CDT!

John Fayhee spoke at the Little Toad Brewery reading from [caption id="" align="" width="1"]<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0929969871/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0929969871&linkCode=as2&tag=lizthoadvhik-20&linkId=QSIJZ7R4CXS2YLH2">Along the Colorado Trail</a><img style="border: none !important; margin: 0px !important;" alt="" src="http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=lizthoadvhik-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0929969871" width="1" height="1" border="0" />
John Fayhee spoke at the Little Toad Brewery reading from [caption id="" align="" width="1"]Along the Colorado Trail

. Photo by April Sylva[/caption]

A big highlight of the first night of CDT Trail Days were readings by Philip O’Connor about CDT hikers as told from his tales of living on a fire tower near the CDT in his New York Times best-selling memoir, Fire Season.

John Fayhee read from his book Smoke Signals about his time in different trail towns along the Colorado Trail. It was amazing to hear nationally accomplished authors speak in a little bar, in little Silver City, speaking about a trail that for many years was so under the radar. The whole evening felt intimate and familiar—the essayists signed books and even presented a few hikers with copies. It was so Silver City: A small town where many of the occupants are nationally renowned, but you could never guess it because of their low key, friendly attitudes.

POD and Bearclaw attack the Pie Town pie.
POD and Bearclaw attack the Pie Town pie.

The highlight for many of the locals was watching a hiker win a blueberry pie from Pie Town and then witnessing all the other hikers swarm to the pie to consume it. At first forks were used, but then carnage ensued and the hikers resorted to their bare hands. Today, the head of the Chamber of Commerce told me that photo may appear as an ad for the town of Silver City!

Hikers gather at the Little Toad
Hikers gather at the Little Toad

After the raffling of many awesome items, the event ended with live music and dancing. The hikers danced alongside locals of all ages. It felt like at CDT Trail Days, this wasn’t a “town and gown” (or backpack) sort of venue. It was a place where we all danced alongside together, the old and the young, the high heeled and the trail runnered. A woman in a wheelchair stood up and danced so happily and freely with her arms. An older man danced by himself. Transpeople, ranchers, hikertrash–here, everyone could be who they were and be happy with it.

Hikers admire the murals created by Silver City kids. Photo by April Sylva.
Hikers admire the murals created by Silver City kids. Photo by April Sylva.

The next day, Silver City was full of festivals, events, and markets—but CDT Trail Days was just one of the many events in town. I went on an art walk to learn about the murals that kids in town have created. Surprisingly, most of the attendees were hikers. An artisan’s market occurred next door to the classroom where CDT speakers spoke about trail topics. I talked with local artists and bought myself a necklace crafted from a stone found near the CDT. Some of the artisans dropped by on a trail presentation I gave after the market closed.

She ra, Not a Chance, Li Branford, and Bearclaw. Photo by April Sylva.
She ra, Not a Chance, Li Branford, and Bearclaw. Photo by April Sylva.

The night ended with a Beer Festival at the Little Toad, where once again, hikers and townies danced side by side to local music. The few dozen hikers who attended slept within stumbling distance at the chic downtown Murray Hotel (offering a great hiker rate), ate breakfast alongside locals, and chatted with townies in coffee shops. I can only hope that the folks of Silver City came away from the weekend believing that hikers are a normal sight in town, bringing liveliness, enthusiasm, and dollars to a small community.

Hikers with Smoky the Bear. Photo by April Sylva.
Hikers with Smoky the Bear. Photo by April Sylva.

That Sunday, a record number of hikers and locals showed up to do trail maintenance on the CDT. Several hikers joined a local trail club to hike on a county-owned trail that wasn’t even the CDT. The whole feel for CDT Trail Days was a festival of sharing between the hiking community and the Silver City community. Hikers showed they cared about learning what Silver City is proud about—their art, music, food, and people. The community got to see what hikers are proud about, too.

Hikers at a forum on long distance hiking. Photo by April Sylva.
Hikers at a forum on long distance hiking. Photo by April Sylva.

As a hiker, there was something really cool about attending a trail festival that wasn’t just another glorification of hikers. Part of the reason why I hike is to expand my horizons, meet new people, and learn about a part of the country I haven’t visited before. Instead of hikers taking over a place, setting up tent city, and doing their thing, CDT Trail Days felt like an integration of hikers and hiking into the community. CDT Trails Days glorified all the CDT has to offer—a world far more expansive than a 2 foot wide trail.