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!

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