Cindy Ross sets out to conquer another section of the ‘Continental Divide’


(Posted 11th November 2020)

At it Again

Tonight is our last night in our bed, last night to take a bath and soak in the soothing comfort of hot water, last night to be in the security and safety of our log home. Tomorrow we climb into the loaded truck and head to New Mexico, knowing when we see our home again, we will not be the same people. Who knows what the next 6-7 weeks will hold.You change every time you go out and do an epic adventure.

Our fifth installment of Circling Back to the Divide is ready to be kicked off as we pack for 500 miles backpacking New Mexico’s Continental Divide Trail. Hope this year is the last. Twenty plus years ago when we covered the entire Divide, (subject of “Scraping Heaven”), it took us five years. Hoping this year we can finish and I can get to work on another book!

We had flights in early April and were planning on heading to the Mexican border with the northbound thru-hikers and hiking up to Cuba, in northern New Mexico where we left off last year, but Covid had different plans for us all. The trail communities did not want hikers coming through their town, bringing germs and infection. So many of these folks live a marginalized life and the heads of the national scenic long trails told hikers to stay home. And so we did.

October is supposed to have much of the same weather in New Mexico as April, so we are driving our truck full of trail food and water, hoping to be as self-sufficient as possible, and “git er done” this fall.

Todd has concerns. If any of you know my husband, he always has concerns, but maybe more than usual this time. There is the standard- will our aging bodies hold up- the knees, the back (his issues), the hips (my issue)? Will we struggle like pack animals under the weight of our loads since we are unwilling to hike super light which would mean not enough cold-weather clothing, a too light sleeping bag, a tiny tent that’s all net and freezing, besides being so cramped for our two largish bodies, and not enough food- we can’t stand hiking hungry, all things we are not willing to exchange for super light packs. And so our packs will be the largest and heaviest out there, no doubt, if there is anyone out there, which means no other company. The biggest concern however, is no water. Most of the 450-500 miles is a desert environment. It’s bad enough in the spring, let alone the drier fall. Animals might not be out grazing so their stock tanks might not be full. The few springs that are there will most likely be dry. My young and strong friends last year on the CDT were doing 30-40 days. Todd reminded me that I NEVER did a 20 miler and I reminded him that I did one once, a 22 mile day, on the PCT because the water source was dry and I just about died and I was 28, not 64.

I am hoping we will be OK, will power through (or crawl) and have some fun along the way, (and with the help of the Trail Angels we might just be able to do it). The kids are coming out to join their parents at the end of the month to hike up the Gila River Wilderness, crossing the river hundreds of times in one week (feast or famine when it comes to water). I just hope that once they leave Nov 1 we don’t say fuck it, we’re going home too, and leave the last 160 miles to the Mexican border for another year. Which won’t be next year with two books coming out and one is April 4. My sister reminded me that 2022 will make us even two years older! I don’t want to be reminded.

So send up some good wishes, thoughts and a few prayers. I will post some photos on FB along the way. Love to you all and here’s to completing the CDT or bust!

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