Re-Thinking The Triple Crown

Begininning of Appalachian Trail--Georgia
Appalachian Trail marker–Georgia
Yosemite Maintenance on the Pacific Crest Trail
Yosemite Maintenance on the Pacific Crest Trail
CDT New Mexico

If you are a long-distance hiker, you are probably aware of hiking’s triple crown. The triple crown comprises the Appalachian, the Pacific Crest trail, and the Continental Divide Trail.

I tried to become a triple crowner, but the CDT took me out. I went alone in my late sixties after having completed the other two legs–the AT and the PCT. I had no idea, even after reading about it, that the navigation would be so trying. I don’t like using a GPS when I hike, but I should have brought one with me. I got lost a lot. When not lost, I had to take compass bearings and consult my maps continually.

I started in the boot heel of New Mexico, at the border near Antelope Wells. It was mid May. It was hot and water was scarce. By the  time I finished New Mexico, I was well behind in my expectations and knew I would have trouble finishing if I didn’t step up the pace. I wasn’t able too. I did Colorado but had to skip a lot in Wyoming, and I did little in Montana. By that time, it was too cold and snowy for me, and I got out.

I have great memories of the CDT. New Mexico was neat and Colorado was impressive–especially Rocky Mountain National Park. If I had it to do over again, in my quest for a triple crown I would do three things: Bring a GPS for the CDT and the PCT, hike with a friend on the CDT at least. Two heads are better than one and tasks can be shared. Finally, I would do the CDT after the AT and save the PCT (for me, the easiest and most scenic) for last.

Carry on fellow hikers!

Published by Ray Anderson

Hiker and writer. Have hiked the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, The Long Trail (Vermont), and some of the Continental Divide Trail. My trail name is "HAMLET." Have written three hiking novels (thrillers). The first one, "THE TRAIL," was traditionally published in 2015. My second hiking thriller, "SIERRA," released Oct 2016. Book three in my AWOL hiking-thriller series, "THE DIVIDE" releases from Turner Publishing 8/18/2020.

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