Continental Divide Trail 2009

CDTlgmapThe Continental Divide Trail (or CDT for short) is a wonderful connection of trails following near to the crest of the rocky mountains between the US Mexican and Canadian borders. Our route with some variations to the official trail was over 2,500 miles in total.

Our blog post are below but we also have a website with details of a 350 mile variation of the CDT we called the Big Sky route between Yellowstone National Park and near Butte Montana.

Before the walk

  1. March Black Isle coastal training walks
  2. Maps, info and planning
  3. Our Itinerary
  4. Scorn….
  5. Cairngorm wanderings
  6. We head south to the Mexican border

The walk

  1. Mexican border!
  2. New Mexico border to Silver City
  3. From Reserve, New Mexico
  4. Some photos so far
  5. Howl, howl….
  6. Pie Town
  7. From Grants, New Mexico
  8. Cuba NM
  9. Ghost Ranch NM
  10. Good bye New Mexico, hello Colorado!
  11. Northern New Mexico photos
  12. Pagosa Springs -no spring!
  13. Cumbres to Wolf Pass CO
  14. Leadville Colorado
  15. Salida CO (pronounced ‘siliva’)
  16. Lake City CO
  17. Some more South Colorado images
  18. Flip flop through the hot springs
  19. Montana! -Glacier National ‘walk in the’ Park
  20. Glacier NP photos MT
  21. Horse Whispering MT
  22. Urban Montana
  23. Central Montana-Photos from Scapegoat to McDonald Pass
  24. Big Sky Variant
  25. South Montana photos
  26. Yellowstone National Park Wyoming!
  27. Leaving Griz-country WY
  28. Mountains of Light and Wind WY
  29. Wind Rivers Wyoming – some photos
  30. Wind Rivers photos II WY
  31. Southern Winds
  32. Reader, I married him…..
  33. Some photos from the final furlong WY

Post CDT

  1. Our final two weeks in the USA
  2. Gallery of our 650 miles thru New Mexico…
  3. Continental Divide Trail photos
  4. You tube videos!

Our final 2 weeks in the US….



Canyonlands National Park Utah

We rented ourselves a car for the last 2 weeks so that we could become ‘normal’ tourists for a while. First, we took the car down to visit the Martin family and managed a couple of short hikes with MaryJoy.

We then traveled south and visited some nice desert areas in New Mexico, Utah, Arizona and southern Colororado.
Arches National Park, Moab Utah
This is Chaco canyon in New Mexico……
 A lovely camp with the last rays hitting monument valley in Arizona…….

The San Juan river has cut through the sandstone to leave these wonderful river meanders- Goosenecks State Park Utah.


More from Utah…IMG_5164IMG_5198IMG_5200-v2-pano

Some photos from the final furlong…..

The long straight road across Wyoming’s Great Basin. We walked 23 miles in a straight line on this day…..

Great Basin, Wyoming


The sun and lack of shelter required some novel solutions. In this case lunch was under the tent propped up to allow the wind to flow around. Surprisingly- it worked!


We reach the 2000mile mark and celebrate with some artwork using local materials and powerbars!

Martina at our finishing point on September 26th- Battle Pass Wyoming. The next challenge was to make it to Denver , Colorado- it took four hitch hikes and two buses to get there. Ready for a rest…….!

…Reader, I Married Him

Dear readers,

From the lofty Wind River mountains we were washed into the Great Basin of Wyoming by a spell of wet weather. The Great Basin is a curious natural feature where the Divide actually splits in two: in the basin itself, water just goes “down” and seeps into the ground. Mountain ridges either side of it shed the water into Pacific (Green River) and Atlantic (Sweetwater River and Platte River) respectively. What falls in between just soaks in! It is a high plateau covered in silvery sage, inhabited by antelope (more of these later) and wild horses. No shelter, no people, no towns for mile – and very little water. 120 miles of this – our final challenge!

After a recovery stop in the town of Lander (home that weekend of the annual “one-shot-antelope-hunt” – it seems we were lucky to get a motel room!) we headed into the sage desert in bright sunshine. Here we crossed path with the Oregon Trail, the Overland Trail, the Pony Express and the Mormon Trail – thousands of hopeful souls who crossed these waterless plains in search of brighter futures in the 19th century. Now there’s just a big network of trails for the benefit of people who want to shoot wildlife it seems.

The pronghorn antelope isn’t one (an “antelope” I mean), actually. It’s the only exponent of a family of ungulates unique to the USA and wonderfully adapted to being on every predator’s dinner menu between the ice ages: it is the fastest runner in the Western hemisphere at 60 mps – and not just for a sprint but for about an hour solid if necessary – it has very sharp eyesight and can spot things at 3-4 mile distance (or so I read on the WWW), it is certainly very wary of two legged animals walking towards it – we never got closer than 300 meters to any of them. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem concerned about things on wheels (a bit like the sheep on Skye) which, given that your average American hunter shoots from the truck window, is rather a shame for the species. They also are the only animal that grows proper horns (as opposed to antlers) and then sheds them every year. We didn’t find any though.

On day 3 in the basin we camped by a little cow infested yet promising spring under benign cumulus, tent turned into a mild Westerly evening breeze – only to wake 2 hours later to the tent being flattened by a northerly gale with snow … bell-end departed company with the pegs and someone (a man’s job this, surely) had to go out in the lashing storm (in underpants) to re-peg the whole mess. The next morning, snow lay on all the hills around us and an icy northerly continued to blow us infront of itself down the endless straight jeep-roads that serve as the CDT in the Basin.

This morning, we descended from our last Divide peak (Bridger Peak 11,000ft) to a trail head at Battle Pass. This is the pass where we set out in 2004 on a 300 mile taster-hike along the CDT, the end of which was Dillon Lake in Colorado (where we started this year’s Colorado Southbound hike) … sigh … sorry to be so complicated. The upshot is that this morning we completed to make a set of footsteps between Mexico and Colorado on the CDT (with 300 miles of steps from 2004). This year we have walked 2,100 miles.

Now we are finished
Now our feet get a chance to recover
Now we must eat lots so as not to frighten our parents on our return
Now we will hire a car for 2 weeks and be tourists

It doesn’t seem real yet
We’ve done it!

Thanks to all the lifts and support and spontaneous help we have had.
It’s been FAB

ps thanks to Tom and Debbie , Florida for the rare photo of the 2 of us hiking….

Southern Wind Rivers…….

We pride ourselves in pitching the tent quickly, but maybe not this speedily !!

Our trek along the Wind River mountains of Wyoming has now been completed. We made it to the southern edge of the mountains in prairie country at South Pass City. Its been a great hike taking about 11 days. The supermarket in Pinedale, Wyoming shows that we are in hunting country………..

Pinedale supermarket


And autumn is on its way….

Our tent (middle bottom of photo) lost in granite slabs, lakes and mountains. Spider Lakes, Wind Rivers Wyoming.


Martina makes a river crossing with Warbonnet Peak looming above.


We approach the Cirque of the Towers looking like the Skye ridge in Scotland – with Scottish weather.


Cirque of the Towers. Two classic rock climbs here- Pingora Peak’s right hand skyline and the Wolf ‘s Head in the middle.

The end of the mountains… We hit prairie and dirt roads heading for South Pass City, Wyoming