A Route In Between: Mexico to Canada Through the Heart of the West

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LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
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Jan 4, 2015
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One word.....WOW! “Kudos” is insufficient compared to your achievement.

Just curious.....Do you ever get lonely on what I imagine are hikes with few-to-no people around? Or, perhaps what are your tips/tricks for warding off loneliness? And what about boredom?
Interesting questions...

1) Boredom - that's one of the reasons I really like these DIY/more obscure adventures. It keeps my brain constantly engaged. I can't just zone out and follow the trail for a while. I'm focused on navigation, water management, and all the mundane bits of day-in, day-out hiking life. Of course, when I do get a long boring roadwalk, I can let my mind wander and it comes up with all sorts of wacky things - little jokes that seem WAY funnier to me than they would to anyone else, song parodies ("I'm an Ida-Dude, with an Ida-tude", to the tune of the Barbie Song), philosophical ruminations, etc. Basically, my brain usually does a great job of keeping itself entertained. I will also pop in a podcast occasionally when I just need to go off in la-la land for a bit. Educational podcasts are my preference, as it feeds the nerdy intellectual side that hiking sometimes starves.
2) I have definitely gotten lonely before, but only when there are other people around. As a cannonical example, I hiked a three-week section of the Hayduke Trail last year, an off-trail route on which I saw basically nobody. The end point was Zion Canyon. I wasn't lonely at all when I saw nobody, but as soon as I got to Zion and saw scads of people, I started to feel it. There were people, but they weren't my people. Everybody else is roasting their marshmallows over the fire and doing a really crappy job of observing quiet time and generally just reveling in their relationships, and I'm out here camped behind the dumpsters. But when there's no people around, I generally don't miss them too badly - aside from the obvious desire to see family and friends of course.
 

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LarryBoy

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Yeah, I don't mind dirt road walking at all...as long as their isn't much traffic. Sounds like you timed it right. Water sources and traffic can be tough up there on the Skyline in late summer.

Ok, great. I'll send you a kmz of my route through your website when I have a chance. I've been reluctant to share route details over the years, because half the fun is coming up with your own route (like the CDT used to be not that long ago) but given the explosion in long-distance hiking over the last decade, I think it may be time.
Yeah I was driven to do this route in part because of the changing nature of the CDT. I did it last year and found that it's really not the remote, you're-on-your-own test piece that it has served as for decades. It's increasingly well-marked, busier, and of course, there's the magic Guthook app which basically eliminates the navigational challenge for many users. None of that is a bad thing; the CDT is simply growing into its status as a National Scenic Trail. An NST is supposed to be, ya know, an actual trail. But as much as I enjoyed the CDT, I wanted something that was a little more CDT-a-few-decades-ago. And the RIB was my answer to that.

That's coincidentally also why I've thought a lot about whether I'm ok sharing this route, as I'd hate for it to turn into even another Hayduke, which now has an app and all the rest. So I settled on the idea of making it publically available, with certain restrictions (the first being a trail work requirement) that I'll iron out as I prepare it for publication. I definitely hear you on the "keep it to yourself" front. It's just a really tough balance to strike. How exactly do we share a route so others can have a wonderful experience out there, without losing what made it so wonderful in the first place?
 

Tim Valentine

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May 24, 2015
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Great accomplishment! There must be so many other stories from this trip. I would be interested in the Wolverine siting . So rare and so special.

tv
 

Bob

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Mar 3, 2013
Messages
2,283
Nice...

I'd be interested in your route across the bitteroots .. iv had my eye on a bitteroot divide trip from Darby to Lolo west of Hamilton . If you got in that part...
 

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
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Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
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Nice...

I'd be interested in your route across the bitteroots .. iv had my eye on a bitteroot divide trip from Darby to Lolo west of Hamilton . If you got in that part...
Between the CDT last year and the RIB this year, I've walked nearly the entire ID/MT border... except for the section you've mentioned. The ICT doesn't hit the state line until north of Lolo pass. I'm with you though; honestly, that section of the state line looks like the most scenic and adventurous part. Definitely have it on the back burner to hopefully do a route there someday!
 

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