• GaylyFwd

GDT Section A - The Real Deal.

Updated: Jul 5, 2019

When I did my first section of the Great Divide Trail 3 years ago, I met my first thru-hikers. They strode past me carrying impossibly small bags, wearing trail runners which seemed completely inadequate for the trail compared to my large leather Scarpas. They were thin and worn, and their heels were patched like old tires. They didn't have long to talk, they needed to make miles that day, but the short conversation I had with them has been etched in my mind, and filled me with a trepidation and desire which ultimately lead me to where I am today: Sitting in a library in Blairmore Alberta, nursing creaky joints, and typing with cracked and wind-chapped fingers.

Me: "where are you guys headed?"

Dudes: "Well, we're hiking the GDT"


Dudes: We're just trying to make it to Mt. Robson by October. But it's the real deal out here man. The real fucking deal.

They rushed off ahead, and as I clomped along in my giant boots, I wondered if I could ever do something like that. By October?? It was Early September, and I was already freezing. I later passed them taking a rest break in a clearing. One of them was shoveling mini-wheats into his mouth from a jumbo sized ziploc bag with a vacant, thousand-mile stare in his eyes.

Fast forward three years, and I'm collapsed on the side of an ATV track, shoveling chip crumbles into my mouth with a spork, looking out at a valley with the very same vacant stare, thinking to myself: This trail, is really, the real fucking deal.

8 days into the trail and I've:

- Nearly been blown off a high ridge

- Hiked through an electrical storm

- Been stranded for a day due to weather

- Had a cougar circle my camp

- Had the hardest hiking day of my life

- Had a bear encounter

I'm going to try and do separate posts for each day on the trail and serialize them so that they are sent out one-per day. This should mean that all my posts are coming through about a week after they actually happen.

EDIT: Whoops, Wix doesn't actually have a function to send out posts after the fact, and it's now 11pm and I have to head out for an 8-day section tomorrow morning. I'll try my best to catch up on my posts after Section B. Wish me luck!

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