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

Born to Hike

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So that's where you have been! To bad you chose not to do the Wellsvilles - I could have brought you lunch!
Nice summary of an incredible Journey!
Must.have.video. :)
 

Artemus

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Well the whole "miles per day" is fraught with enough accounting tricks to give an Enron exec a creepy grin... but that being said, here goes:

I began on March 25 and ended on September 14. But I also took over a month off in May-June due to the enormous snowpack. My dates were about perfect for a normal snow year, but this was not a normal snow year. And start the AZT any later, and it'd be crazy hot down there. So excluding that break, I think I spent about 130ish days on trail, including the occasional rest ("zero") day. I conservatively estimate about 2500 miles for the whole thing, which works out to just shy of 20/day.

That doesn't really tell the whole story though, as that figure includes all the time I didn't spend hiking - waiting for new shoes to get mailed to me, a few days off for a family event on the other side of the country, or just the occasional rest after a particularly grueling section. I'd say an "average" day on the trail was as follows:

AZT - 26-27
DHR - 25
ICT - 20

So for example, I typically carried about 3.5 days of food for a hundred-mile stretch of the AZT, 4 on the DHR, and 5 on the ICT. The Idaho Centennial Trail leg was a lot tougher due to trail conditions and my pace did slow somewhat on that leg as you can see. Overall, my pace conformed pretty well to an "average" thru-hiker pace on one of our other modern long-distance trails in the West (PCT, CDT, AZT, Colorado Trail, etc). It was almost identical to my pace on the CDT in 2018, which was right around average.

Coincidentally, that's one of the things that's great about the DHR - it has a much wider weather window than either the PCT or CDT. There are two reasons for this:

1) The high plateaus of S Utah melt out 2-3 weeks before the San Juans (CDT) or Sierra (PCT). This allows you to start several weeks earlier than you would the other trails.
2) It's "only" 2500 miles long - 150ish miles shorter than the PCT and about 350 shorter than most folks' CDT hike.

As proof, I completed the hike in the biggest snow year ever, while being a slower-than-average hiker.
Very interesting. Well, quality of hike-wise, is this Prime RIB your favorite of all compared to the other three of the triple crown that you have hiked?
 
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LarryBoy

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Very interesting. Well, quality of hike-wise, is this DHR your favorite of all compared to the other three of the triple crown that you have hiked?
For me personally, it was far and away my favorite long hike - though part of that was because I was pioneering something new and that's just what I really like to do.

For others though, I'd say the DHR is roughly on par with the CDT, scenery-wise (I haven't hiked the PCT, and the AT is such a different environment that it's unfair to compare them). The CDT has those "perfect ten" parts (Glacier, the Winds) that the RIB lacks, no two ways about it. I mean, the Sawtooths and the Wasatch north of SLC and the Paria are all great, but maybe don't quite rise to the level of jaw-droppingly awesome that you'll find on the CDT.

On the other hand, the scenery on the RIB is more consistently good than on the CDT. The CDT really does have quite a few boring filler miles (the majority of the state of New Mexico, for example), and while the RIB definitely has its not-so-great parts, I'd say an average day of scenery on the RIB is probably a bit better than on the CDT. I found that, because of this, the RIB was more rewarding on a day-in, day-out basis. Overall, the scenic difference between them is within whatever margin of error you want to allow for.

The major difference would be that the RIB is far rougher around the edges than the CDT is - more disappearing, crappy trail, fewer resources, more figuring it out on the ground, more solitude, etc. I see that as a feature, others may see it as a bug.
 

Artemus

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For me personally, it was far and away my favorite long hike - though part of that was because I was pioneering something new and that's just what I really like to do.

For others though, I'd say the DHR is roughly on par with the CDT, scenery-wise (I haven't hiked the PCT, and the AT is such a different environment that it's unfair to compare them). The CDT has those "perfect ten" parts (Glacier, the Winds) that the RIB lacks, no two ways about it. I mean, the Sawtooths and the Wasatch north of SLC and the Paria are all great, but maybe don't quite rise to the level of jaw-droppingly awesome that you'll find on the CDT.

On the other hand, the scenery on the RIB is more consistently good than on the CDT. The CDT really does have quite a few boring filler miles (the majority of the state of New Mexico, for example), and while the RIB definitely has its not-so-great parts, I'd say an average day of scenery on the RIB is probably a bit better than on the CDT. I found that, because of this, the RIB was more rewarding on a day-in, day-out basis. Overall, the scenic difference between them is within whatever margin of error you want to allow for.

The major difference would be that the RIB is far rougher around the edges than the CDT is - more disappearing, crappy trail, fewer resources, more figuring it out on the ground, more solitude, etc. I see that as a feature, others may see it as a bug.
Excellent description, and inspiring! I am now reading your Hiking Route Guide and may pick some parts to section hike. I will reach out to you if I need more details. Thanks for more hiking route inspiration in our pretty great state amigo!

BTW L O V E to see you mention Pando! That creature demands much more respect and protection than we give it.
 

LarryBoy

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So that's where you have been! To bad you chose not to do the Wellsvilles - I could have brought you lunch!
Nice summary of an incredible Journey!
Must.have.video. :)
The Wellsvilles look crazy and tough and beautiful... but they're shorter than the Bear Rivers and woulda made for more more crappy basin walking in S Idaho. Plus that nice ridgeline trail in the Bear Rivers is just too great to pass up. You in Brigham City I assume?
 

Born to Hike

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The Wellsvilles look crazy and tough and beautiful... but they're shorter than the Bear Rivers and woulda made for more more crappy basin walking in S Idaho. Plus that nice ridgeline trail in the Bear Rivers is just too great to pass up. You in Brigham City I assume?
The Wellsvilles are literally my backyard - I live in Cache Valley and hiking the ridge on that mountain range is always a treat. I don't blame you avoiding the S Idaho basin though (there are miles and miles of old lava fields too)!
 

Laura V.

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Wow! What an incredible trip you stitched together! I have been dreaming for a long time of doing something similar myself. Thank you for a great trip report. You've given me some ideas to think about! Happy trails to you.
 

LarryBoy

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Wow! What an incredible trip you stitched together! I have been dreaming for a long time of doing something similar myself. Thank you for a great trip report. You've given me some ideas to think about! Happy trails to you.
Thank you! The AZT-ICT link-up was just begging to be done. Happy dreaming and planning!
 
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