Thursday, April 4, 2024

For the Gram Weenies Trouble’s Gear for the CDT

With less than three weeks to go I am making the final decisions on what to bring.  I used an app called Pack Light, a kitchen scale and my neighbours hand held luggage scale to help me make those last few decisions. So here it is, the what’s in my pack post (I’m including weights and affiliate links for those interested).

I will be sleeping in Becca’s X Mid Pro 2 tent that she will be carrying.  I will carry the ground sheet and 8 tent stakes.

Total Pack weight (minus consumables and wearables)5428g

The Big Three: 1.88kg


We will be sleeping in Rebecca’s tent. No weight for me!


Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60L Vaporwave.  811g

Sleep System 1071g:

Hang tight Special Edition Heatseeker Topquilt 744g

Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow 61g

Thermarest Z-Lite Sol (customized) 266g

Kitchen: 197g

BSR Ultralight Titanium Alloy stove 46g

Cargo Totanium Spoon 12g

Toaks Titanium 750ml Pot 100g

Small Exacto knife 11g

Food warmer 28g

Mini Bic Lighter

Hydration System 128g:

Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter with blue lid 69g

Sawyer Sweeze bags 2   2.12oz
Smart Water Bottles

Clothing 1411g:

Buff 41g

Darn Tough Socks 63g

Smart wool base layer bottoms 200g

Smart wool base layer top 211g

Frog Toggs Rainsuit


Eagle Creek Wallet

Sea to Summit Bag 22g

Ursack Major 2XL 278g

Hygiene 130g:

The Deuce Trowel 17g

Electronics 926g:

Lixada Solar Panel Charger 87g

Petzl Tikkini Headlamp

With rechargeable Battery 71g

Battery Bank

Sonic Bluetooth Speaker 143g

iPhone XR with cover 228g

Assorted cords


Bug net: 17g

The stuff I will be wearing:

Keen Newport 2 sandals

Gossamer Gear Umbrella 189g

All links are affiliate links and will hopefully help offset the cost of this hike or the next one! 

Monday, March 18, 2024

I’m going to be a ground dweller!

Those who have hiked with me know how much I love my Hennessy Hammock. It is so comfortable and I sleep so good in it! However, I will not be taking it on this trail. There are so many wide open places along this trail. Sure I could hike till I found suitable trees each night but I want to be able to stop for the day whenever I feel like it.  Becca had a perfectly good Nemo Dagger 2p tent that we used on the Sunshine Coast trail in BC last summer but we knew there was better out there! It’s going to be a long walk and every extra ounce is going to count! Her Nemo weighs in at 3.86lbs (1.75kg) but her brand new Durston X-mid Pro 2  weighs just 1.14lbs (0.517g)saving her from carrying 2.72lbs (1.23kg)! 

Gear is the fun part of planning a thruhike! You get to pull out all of your old gear and reminisce about all past adventures. And then, you get to decide what you want to replace, add or take away!  Hikers spend hours sorting it all out. I pretty much know what I like to hike with so I either already had the gear or knew I needed to replace a few items. Because gear is such a researched subject and hikers like to see what other hikers are using. I’m going to post something separate with my gear list and gear weights. Why is the weight important you ask? The longer the hike the more important it is to carry less. It’s easier on your joints and makes everyday just that much more enjoyable!  Most people consider an ultralight hiker to be someone who carries less than 10lbs of gear (not including consumables like food, water and fuel). With that definition I wouldn’t be considered ultralight but I do like my full pack (with food and water) to be 17lbs or less. I don’t seem to notice the weight at all until my pack is more than 17lbs.  Right now my current gear list for the CDT is just under 12lbs (without food, water and fuel). There are many apps that are like online gear closets that let you reconfigure what you may want to take until you get the right weight or comfort level you like. I’m using one called Lighter Pack and Becca is using one called Don’t forget the spoon!  Anyway, I said current pack list because I still have to make a few decisions. Most hikers carry their own shelters but because Becca has an awesome 2 person tent I still need to decide whether to eliminate a tarp from my list or carry it in case of emergency. We are both carrying our full kitchens even though we could eliminate one, I think it will be convenient for one of us to make meals while the other makes coffees/hot drinks. And this time there may be a few more "luxury" items compared to previous trips. I may carry a small speaker and Becca may bring her kindle. Both will be perfect for bedtime stories. 

I’m sure we will have our last minute gear items sorted out soon and when we do I will post each of our gear lists.  

If you want to follow our adventure from Becca’s perspective, she will be blogging in The Trek


"You are never too old  to set a new goal or dream a new dream."  CS Lewis

Sunday, March 10, 2024


Taken on the Appalachian Trail in 2013. I can’t wait to have muscles on my legs like that again

I’m finished dehydrating dinners and putting together breakfasts and lunches and it’s time to sort out how they will get to their final destination. Several people have asked questions about logistics so now is a good time to explain how to plan to hike a really long trail. 3000 miles is a long way and can be overwhelming. What I like to do is look at it like a whole bunch of little section hikes all strung together. It makes planning so much easier for me! For example, when we start at the Crazy Cook Monument at the Mexican/US border we will be hiking 83 miles in the desert to get to the first town-Lordsberg. So I really just need to decide what I need for those 83 miles. On average we will be hiking 20 miles a day but since we won’t even be getting to the border till 10am on our first day we will likely hike less. Also, it’s going to be very hot and I know that heat slows me way down. So instead of planning on a 4 day hike, I will plan on it taking 5 days to get to the first town and add a whole extra days worth of food in case of emergency. Then I add things I might need to start out in a desert (chapstick, sunscreen, electrolytes…). The next section will be Lordsberg to Silver City 74 miles. I basically go through the whole process again deciding how long it’s going to take and making sure there is enough food or special items we might need in that section always adding a day of safety food in the mix. On other trails this is very straight forward because there is one route but on this choose your own adventure trail we have to decide which alternates we want to take along the way. Some of these decisions are based on what we want to do or possible stops along the way but others like the low routes in Colorado will be decided based on weather conditions when we get there. There are always the possibilities of a trail reroute due to fires but other than the weather we can plan ahead and decide where to send our food. 

Back when I hiked the AT I bought a trail guide and used that to learn about the towns I would be hiking through. Today there are interactive apps that give the same type of info but are updated by the hikers who are ahead of me. The Far Out app has the maps with alternates and a feature that allows me to create my own route. It shows possible water sources and hikers update in the comments how much water or the quality of water. The town and city info has everything a hiker needs to know (hotel/hostel info, restaurant and grocery store info, where to do laundry and post office info) and best of all the up to date hiker comments often include prices and whether they thought it was a nice place to go! Most of the pre-planning decisions have been based on info from this app, the CDT Coalition and a few online forums.  This all translates to a giant suitcase full of extra large ziplock bags full of what I think we will need for each little section of trail in between the towns we plan on visiting. Each bag currently has its destination along with a list of things we need to buy in that town. What is still missing is some of the mailing addresses that we will send these packages to. and this leads to another set of questions I’ve had about how do we get our resupply packages. USPS (the post office for Canadians reading this) offers flat rate boxes for set prices. We plan on sending ourselves mail using the medium and large sized flat rate boxes general delivery. There are advantages and disadvantages of using the post office to get our stuff rather than sending it to a local business in each town. The advantages are that we can call and have the boxes bounced forward to another town with no extra fees. The disadvantages are that most post offices will only hold mail for 15 days and we have to be in those towns while to post offices are open. I’ll let you know how this turns out!

So now that we’ve figured out where we are going and what we are going to eat it’s time to start training for this hike. Yesterday was time…. but the food gobbled up a lot more of my free time than I thought it would.  I have time now, so I’m off to get as many steps in outside as I can!


“Carry as little as possible, but choose that little with care.” Earl Shaffer

Monday, January 15, 2024

The Food Plan

This was taken along the Selkantay Trek in Peru.

The affiliate  links I’ve added are meant for future hikers who want to know what I’m using and where to get them. If you are family or friend please just ignore the links (unless you want to try something new).

Several people have asked food questions like “How do you carry all your food?” Or “How much food do you have to carry?” And “How do you keep your food safe?” The easiest way to answer these questions is to just explain how and what we are planning on eating while on trail and then how to prepare for it. We will be eating all vegan meals. 

Breakfast will mostly be oatmeal, cream of wheat, possibly chia puddings and every once in a while fresh baked goods from towns along the way.  We pack out proportioned breakfast in medium sized freezer bags ( and then just boil water on our mini stoves (  and the pot ) and pour the hot water right into the bags. I carry a little food cozy (that doubles as my kitchen bag) and we place the bags into the food cozy for up to ten minutes and wait while our food gets rehydrated or in the case of oatmeal cooked in the hot water. Most breakfasts will be eaten directly out of the bag. 

This is the stove and pot I’ve used for years.

Our lunches are mostly going to be cold soaked meals. “What is that,” you ask? A cold soak meal is a meal that has been made ahead of time and dehydrated in a dehydrator making it safe to eat months  later while making it a  lot lighter to carry and taking up less space in our packs.    Instead of requiring boiling water to rehydrate we just need to add cold water and wait about half an hour for our lunch to rehydrate. To save time we will probably add the cold water as we finish up breakfast and let it rehydrate all morning while we hike. While some hikers choose to cold soak in freezer bags, we are planning on carrying small, empty peanut butter jars as our cold soak containers (we can reuse the freezer bags that way plus it ensures that there are no food spills in our packs). Some of the lunches we have planned are:

Orzo Salad

Greek style Pasta Salad

Potato Salad

Quinoa Salad

Sushi Bowl

Mexican Bowl

Broccoli Slaw


Most of these can be fully made ahead with just a few additions on the trail. Fats don’t dehydrate well and can go rancid quickly  so to avoid that problem we will be adding any dressings, oils, mayos or avocados once the meals are rehydrated on trail. On days that we leave town we will likely pack out subs, sandwiches or fresh food that needs to be eaten within hours.

Dehydrating stuffing in my Salton dehydrator.

Our dinners will be hot meal made the same way we make breakfasts. Some of the dinners we have planned are:

Spaghetti Mushroom, onions, garlic, gravy & rice

Mexican quinoa Mashed potatoes, stuffing & mushroom 

Pasta with squash sauce

Lentil veggie stew

Lentil, sweet potato curry

Vegetable chilli

So how do I make meals several months in advance? I dehydrate them! I have a cheap Salton Dehydrator ( ) and I’ve borrowed a second dehydrator from my step daughter ( ). Using two dehydrators will allow me to make 20 meals at a time! If we were to make all of our food we would likely need 816 meals! That’s a lot! And it’s also not realistic! Some days will be spent in towns where we will eat at restaurants that probably eliminates at least 90 meals right there. On top of that hikers get sick of what they mail themselves real quick. To minimize that problem we will likely use our meals for the first and third months and plan on buying   In towns along the way for the other months. That means I only need to make two months worth of food for both of us which would be 360 meals. That is still a lot but when you consider that breakfasts are mostly just proportioned hot cereal it makes it so much easier! 240 meals! 120 lunches and 120 dinners. 

“Ok, but are you really going to carry all that dehydrated food in your pack,” you ask?  Definitely not! I don’t like to carry any extra than I absolutely have to! The plan is to mail our food first to friends in the US and then to post offices in towns along the trail.  These are called mail drops. We will arrive in a town, go to the post office and pick up our next weeks worth of food. 

The Ursack Major2xl Bear Resistant Bag

“But how do you keep your food safe”? As someone who works in a commercial kitchen my first thought when I hear that is about keeping my food from going mouldy or bad but I realize that’s not what this question is about at all! People want to know how we plan on keeping our food away from animals! Enter the “ Ursack Major 2XL (” This is a bear resistant bag made out of an extremely tough material. It will hold a weeks worth of food for both of us! We each own a smaller version of this bag but it only made sense to save the weight of carrying both bags and just buy the bigger one that will store all of our food safely each night. There are two downfalls to this bag, one is totally preventable the other we would just have to deal with it if it happens to us. One of the disadvantages of this bag is that it isn’t smell proof so animals may be attracted by our delicious food. This is entirely preventable! We can put our food in an odour proof bag  ( ) first and then put that bag inside the Ursack. The second “disadvantage” is that while no animal can get into our food, they can crush our food trying to get to it. Hikers who have had this happen to them are a minority but it does happen and they have had to eat powdered, crushed  food. But hey, they still had food to eat and didn’t have to starve till they made it to the next town!

“What about snacks?” We will likely just buy snacks to pack out at each town stop that way we can get what we want at the time and not always have the same snacks. 

Enjoying coffee along the Cape Chignecto Trail in Nova Scotia.

I can’t believe I didn’t mention coffee! We haven’t discussed the possibilities yet but  I have been trying out different powder creamers. So far this one is my favourite: ( ). On previous hikes we have used this pour over but we will likely just use instant coffee (

So that’s the food plan. I’ve already started dehydrating and will keep you posted on how that’s going occasionally.  Thanks for reading and if you have more questions about food, feel free to leave it in the comments.


“When you have a dream, you've got to grab it and never let go."
Carol Burnett

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

The Continental Divide Trail

There are more than a few dozen who have completed the Triple Crown. I think the current number is 85.

Before I hiked the Appalachian Trail I had been reading trail journals for years. I read so many amazing adventures (mostly of the AT) but every once in awhile there would be a hiker who would go on to hike the Pacific Crest Trail and then the Continental Divide Trail. It’s called the Triple Crown when you have thruhiked all three trails. Anyway, that’s when the dream began to hike all three trails. It was really just a pipe dream, my focus at the time was just learning all I could about the AT.  Fast forward more than a decade and here I am all these years later having hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail with one more trail to go. In reality there have been many smaller trails that were just as much fun in between (and I’m sure there will be many more smaller trails in my future) but in my mind there is just that one big trail left to do! 

One of our shorter hikes was the Selkantay Trek in Peru!

Many of those shorter hiking trips had been taken with my daughter and there had been many conversations about her hiking the CDT with me but it still seemed like more of a dream than a goal that was actually going to happen. All of that changed recently when my daughter purchased seats on a shuttle to the border of Mexico and flights to Tucson,Arizona and said “We are going on a trip!” I am so freaking excited about this! It’s awesome that she wants to hike it and hike it with me (even though she already knows I am a lot slower than her). I saved this trail till the end because it is a more difficult trail that requires good navigation skills (most hikers who have hiked it say they lost the trail almost daily) but she is choosing to do it as her first long trail! I’m so thankful she is willing to do this with me and make my dreams a reality!

About this trail:

The Continental Divide Trail (known as the CDT) is a 3,100 mile (4,988 km) footpath that starts at the Mexican border in New Mexico and ends at the Canadian border in Alberta. This sounds like a crazy amount of miles but it isn’t exactly a single path trail like the AT or the PCT, this trail is more like a choose your own adventure trail. It has a whole bunch of alternate route options that make the length of trail shorter or longer depending on which routes we take. Let’s just assume that we will be walking at least 2,600 miles (4,184 km)so it will end up being around the same length as the PCT. As long as we walk each step from Mexico to Canada it doesn’t matter which routes we take! The trail starts in a desert (I already am planning to hike the Gila River alternate as it takes us along a river, to natural hot springs and ancient Cliff dwellings) 

and will take us up to Colorado and several 14,000ft hills to climb! Then on to Wyoming to the Great Divide Basin, the Wind River Range and Yellowstone! Next the trail will take

us to Idaho  and then Montana where we will hike through the Bob Marshall Wilderness and Glacier National Park. It ends at the Canadian border at a monument in Watertown,Alberta. 

Wikipedia lists the hazards as:


 black bears



grizzly bears




 mountain lions

 severe weather


 Sounds like it’s going to be fun!

Here are a couple of terms hikers use and I may refer to at some point in this journal:

CDT = Continental Divide Trail

NOBO =hiking northbound (on this trail that means starting at the Mexican border)

SOBO = hiking southbound (on this trail that would be hikers who started at the Canadian border

Camel Up = drinking as much water as possible at a water source in order to carry less water

Baseweight = the weight of everything you are carrying minus consumables (food, water, fuel) and  the clothes you are wearing

Cowboy Camping = just sleeping under the stars (no hammock, tent or tarp)

There are definitely more terms I can think of but I’m not sure if they will apply to this trail. I can add as we go along.  I have been asked so many questions about not only this trail and about hiking in general and I will try get to them another day. Right now I have an adventure to prepare for! 

Thank you for taking your time to read and learn about this trail and our adventure. I hope this inspires you to go out and do what you love doing. If I can do it, so can you!


“May your dreams be larger than mountains and may you have the courage to scale their summits.” Harley King

Monday, November 15, 2021

And the Landscape Changed

We spent a week travelling back to Ontario from Vancouver Island and saw so many beautiful places in such a short span of time! 

When we arrived back on mainland we took a different route than we have in the past and found ourselves driving just north of the American border. 

Seeing the border markers made me feel like I was at the beginning of another adventure (and in a way we were, it just wasn’t a hiking adventure).

Of course it made Michael feel like he needed to jump back and forth between the two countries.

Our only planned stop was in Abbotsford to spend a day with Michael’s brother Peter. We ended up picking him up and going up to Yale where the guys spent the day gold panning and I took lots of pictures and learned a little bit of local history.

It was a gorgeous area and one I’d like to come back to and really explore.

Peter found a ton of Rubies and Michael thinks he found gold!

I found pretty rocks!

We all enjoyed a perfect day!

We spent the night in Abbotsford and headed east in the morning. At Revelstoke we stopped several times to take pictures.

It was so sad to be leaving BC but our first stop in Alberta at Canmore was just as breath taking! I love this cute town!

We are so grateful for the chance to travel and see these beautiful places.  As we drove into the flat land we saw a different kind of beauty.

And soon we were in the centre of Canada (east to west centre).

And then there was the familiar landscape of Ontario.

It was a whirlwind of a trip. We were in a bit of a rush to make it back in time for our grand daughter’s birthday and we made it!