The past few days have been a whirlwind, Thursday last week I wrapped a few last minute items at home like finally getting the washing machine fixed, had an hour of loving on Karluk before saying goodbye and Suzy came and whisked us off to the airport. I nearly lost it as I held my wife and best friend of 16 years in the terminal knowing we wouldn’t see each other for months, but in true fashion, she told me to, “buck up, and get going”. How I ever met such a wonderful woman is beyond what my feeble mind can comprehend she truly is a unicorn in the world of wives.
We set off from Albuquerque where me, “Big John”, “Freefall”, “Czech”, and “She-ra” all loaded into the minivan and set off to Silver City to celebrate the CDT and enjoy the second annual Kick-Off celebration. We wound our way down to the town through the night over mountain passes and dodging many a jackrabbit along the way. Finally arriving late at night worn out but happily greeted by “Sweet Potato” and his loyal dog Rodney.
The next morning things got underway before we even know which way to go. The boys sorted boxes and gear and I went for a visit to coach massage where Marshal spent an hour massaging and cupping my back and shoulder so the pain I had been experiencing the past few months would go away before I start my hike. If you are ever in Silver City and need a massage go see Coach Massage. After that, I headed to the Seedhouse Gallery where the weekend’s workshops took place. I was lucky to get a chance to speak to folks in town about a subject near and dear to me thru-hiking for the working stiff, it was a great talk and I enjoyed sharing stories of my adventures over the years. The rest of my day included a workshop from CDT mapping guru Jerry Brown whit taught us how to use his maps, various apps and a quick refresher on map and compass.
The evening then moved to the Little Toad Brewery where the town hosted us and we enjoyed tons of beers, food and an amazing raffle. My hiking partner “Big John” won a ton of prizes and how now has some great new gear for trail including a CDTC logo Mont-bell umbrella.
Saturday was an early 5 am wake up so we could set up in the big ditch. Vendors galore were in attendance including a few of my sponsors like Toaks, Leki, and my longest sponsor Gossamer Gear. We had a full day of talking trail, making CDT cookies, laughing and bs’ing. At 2:30 we strolled back to the Seedhouse to partake in the thru-hiker forum where we told tales, talked gear and had laughs galore talking about all things hiking. The keynote of the event was getting to listen to Jean Ella tell the tale of her 1978 thru-hike of the CDT, Jean was the first woman to they-hike the CDT and is one of my heroes, her talk was a great way to wrap up the day.
Today was a leisurely breakfast followed by a hike up Gomez peak with various town folks and my good friend “She-ra” who was last year CDTC ambassador and we enjoyed hiking together and passing on the torch to me as this year’s ambassador.
It was so great to see how much the kick off has grown in one year. Last year was a small event and this weekend was at least 4 times as big. I absolutely love Silver City and can’t wait to back there in 8 days. Until then it’s time to go fill up some water, have a beer with my good friend Swami and try to sleep before I head out. I am as giddy as a child on Christmas Eve and can not wait to take my first steps north in the morning.