Today is March 31st. I'll be leaving good ol' Vail, Colorado on April 22nd and starting my hike on either the 27th or 28th of April.
What's it mean? It means it's time to engage panic mode. No more dreaming, thinking, and talking smack. Nope, it's time to put this "arm-chair hiking" to rest and get down to it.
While I am still finalizing my gear, looking through maps in search of halfway reliable water sources in New Mexico, arranging mail drops (more on that soon), I do have myself a plan that'll get me from Colorado down to the Mexican border!
It's been a while since I've been able to see my parents.
Initially I wanted to take a trip to New Jersey before putting foot to trail but it just isn't feasible. I'm obligated to work until the end of the ski season (April 20th) and based on past weather trends I'd like to reach Canada and finish my hike by or before October 1st. With 3,100 miles of trail to cover, every moment I delay could lead to miserable conditions at the tail end of the trip, potentially hike ending conditions. So, I ruled out visiting home until after the hike is completed, when I will have plenty of time to relax and enjoy the company of friends and family without the mental burden of final trip logistics and preparations hanging over me.
But! Turns out my folks wanted to see me as well. And, they went ahead and figured it was time for a little vacation of their own and so have decided to come out here to Vail and take a little road trip with me down to Mexico. How cool is that, huh? Not only do I get to spend roughly a week with my folks, but it makes my planning much easier. No flights, no buses or trains, no relying on strangers to dump me in the desert. Instead, I get to kick it with my family, take my time, and enjoy a week of not working or hiking before kickin' into high gear.
Now -- I do have to question my parents' motivation for coming out here. Sure, they miss me. I haven't seen them in a while. And, they haven't spend much time in this area of the country. But, I can't help but think their decision isn't partially motivated by my mother's nagging feeling that something horrible could happen to me at any moment on these sort of hikes. Unfortunately, this trip will likely only increase her level of anxiousness. The CDT starts at the sort of place more hospitable for hiding bodies and illegal border crossing than going hiking.