Youth

Hiking the CDT: Concrete and dust

By Henry Strawbridge

Editor’s Note: The Strawbridge family from Lakeland, Fla., hiked the length of the Continental Divide Trail – all 3,100 miles of it – from Canada to Mexico. Henry Strawbridge, 14, provided updates of their journey to Trout Unlimited as they passed through the historic range of seven native trout species. You can track the family and see reports submitted by Henry on this map.

Between Grants and Pie Town there is nothing but road walking, at least for us. There was one junction we could have taken through a maze of volcanic rock. No one is allowed to put up signs there. The cairns that mark the path were originally placed by the Zuni people to lead them through. 

This was the longest road walk with no trees I have ever done. Our friends, Doug and Liam decided to skip out on us for this piece of the pie. As we strolled down the road in the hot sun, I was jealous of them getting to skip this portion of New Mexico. They had come up with a good system. Walk the good parts, skip the bad.

Hiking the CDT happens via road often. Georgie Strawbridge

Cement is a much harder surface than dirt, and it makes your joints sore and your muscles tired. In some way it seems as if your feet hit the ground just a little too jarringly for your body to stand. You do cover more ground faster on the road grades, though. 

Along the road we crossed through the Acoma Indian Reservation, under some beautiful bluffs. In the cliffs there were some very old caves. With the wind that blew through our ranks, I could well believe that those caves had been worn out over many centuries. What else could wind do over time?

Headed to Pie Town. Georgie Strawbridge

As far as our needs and wants the main thing was water. How did people live out here? One rancher in Pie Town would tell us the only way to get water was by well—drilling deep and hoping. We were grateful for the occasional solar wells put in for the cattle. Without them, I don’t know what we’d have done.

We turned off of a paved road onto Pie Town Road. The dust that was kicked up from passing trucks made it difficult to breath at times. The dust would hang suspended in the road for about 10 minutes.

Pie Town is small place full of some interesting people. 

Everybody knows everybody. Nita runs the “Toaster House,” a hiker hostel (free by the way). She told us all about the history of the area: all the old legends, all the places to see. 

There was even a poem book full of history about cowboys and outlaws who came through. 

Sometimes the trail is two-track. Georgie Strawbridge

While we were there, we were surprised when a lady showed up to interview us for a podcast called The World and Everything In It. That is certainly not an everyday thing. It turned out that my dad knew she was coming all along.  For me this was by far the most interesting town stop yet.

Until next time,

Henry

COVID-19 note: The Strawbridge family anxiously watched as the coronavirus issue threatened their plans to do the CDT this year. After careful consideration the family made the decision to drive to Montana to start the trip to avoid any possible exposure on airplanes. None of the family members exhibited symptoms during the journey.

By Trout Unlimited Staff. 

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