Wednesday, 23 October 2013
I finished my CDT hike on the 5th of October walking to the border of USA/Canada on roads bordering Glacier National Park. The government shutdown forced us out of Glacier, where no one was allowed to enter the closed National Park. We entered the park legally on the 3rd of October with permission from a park ranger, but were extracted the next day under order from park service officials higher up the food chain. It was a different end to my hike than I could have ever expected, yet walking on roads did not dampen our spirits as we reached the CDT northern terminus monument (there are 3 of them).

I will be posting about my journey through Montana in the coming days as my decompression back into society winds up and I begin reflecting on my hike. It was an amazing 5 month journey and I think I am appreciating things more than ever before - more than anything; friendship, kindness and generosity. The people I have met and the friends I have made along the way have been the highlights of the trail for me.

I hiked the CDT to raise money for a new hospital in Kaikoura, so if you haven't already - please consider making a donation at http://www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/hikeforahospital


I have finished!

Posted by Dave Murphy
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Tuesday, 17 September 2013

There are many alternate routes on the CDT, with a full map of the whole trail looking more like a braided river than a straight line. One of the longest alternates is the Big Sky Variant which runs from the southern border of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming to Butte, Montana. The alternate misses the Idaho section of trail but passes through much more of Yellowstone and passes past some fantastic small Montana towns.

The trail throughout he section differeed greatly - just like he rest of the trail - with sections of road walking, good trail and no trail in some parts. The diversity of wildlife in Yellowstone the best I have ever encountered hiking, the best being a bison up close and personal when I was having a midnight break on a night hike. The bison passed within 2 meters of me while I ate a piece of cake in the rain, and walked straight past me snorting, and continued down the road. They are spectacular creatures.

The geothermal fields of Yellowstone were a great way to finish Wyoming with geysers, fumeroles and hot springs lining the roads and parts of the trail. My favorite was the Mammoth Hot Spring Terraces which are akin to the now extinct pink and white terraces in New Zealand.

Montana has been the state with the most trail magic - from both friends and strangers. Hollywood and Nugio, two fellow members of the whiskey gang that we hiked with last year on the Pacific Crest Trail met us on trail at different points and gave us some trail magic. We have also been hosted in Ennis, Butte and Helena - the generosity of whom has  blown us away.

There are more rolling hills, peaks and road walks ahead in the last 350 miles, but I am on the downhill stretch now and racing the snow to the border. Wish me luck!




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Friday, 6 September 2013
I have been running a little short on time the last couple of weeks but I am still on trail and counting down to the finish.

I have about 500 miles to go and plan to finish in 24 days time.

I will update the blog once I get a bit more time. Until then, visit the Hike for a Hospital Facebook site for updates.


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Thursday, 22 August 2013
The second stretch of the Wind River Range was even more rugged and beautiful than the first. We chose a higher alternate route that gave us more scenery than the official route, and encountered a lot of mountain lakes. We made the most of it with a record breaking 6 swims in 6 different lakes. The water was cold and refreshing which made the couple of cliff jumps we found all the more extreme. We didn't make our allotted miles for the day but it ended up being my favorite day ever hiking. The view at sunset was spectacular as we walked from island lake to titcombe lake up a huge glacier carved basin. We camped on glacially polished rock slope with a commanding panoramic view of Titcombe Basin up the Valley.

The following day we climbed over Knapsack Col and made the long descent into the Green River Valley. The accent over was mostly on ice and boulders, up the remnants of a glacier which has almost completely melted to nothing in the last few decades. Parts of the descent on the north side were on steep scree, but it was mostly a case of following rock cairns back down to the official trail.

We split up into two groups for the last 2.5 days. Tourist and Nicotine took the high route over glaciers and we look the low route down a valley and over some rolling hills.

There was a detour due to fire but it didn't take much longer than if we had been able to walk the real trail. Cactus, Virgo and I did a bit of night hiking on the end of the section and got to see a bear charging through a meadow in the middle of the night - my first bear sighting of the trail.

The rest of the walk to the highway was uneventful apart from our encounters with southbound CDT hikers. We were lucky enough to cross paths with 4 pairs of our Pacific Crest Trail friends, and even had a little impromptu Whiskey and Mojito party in the middle of a disused dirt road with Man party and Lush. It was great to spin some yarns with friends and definitely capped off one of my favorite sections of the trail so far.

Dubois WY. Mile 1680

























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Thursday, 15 August 2013
The Wind River mountains are often the highlight of the trail for many CDT hikers and for us it was no different. Huge cirques and valleys have been carved out by ice during the last glaciation and many moraine deposits and boulder erratics cover the landscape. It is a beautiful place and I have vowed to come back one day to hike it properly - not just flying through with my head down.

It took us a day and a half to get from the basin floor back into the hills on dusty dirt roads with a few impromptu breaks when we took a wrong turn and couldn't find ourselves on the map (we were off the map). However, things in life have a way of working out and it just happened to be the time that Dave and Sukey drove past on the way to their self built cabin in the woods. They offered us some pancakes and coffee so we jumped in the back of he wagon and were chauffeured to their cabin. After enjoying many pancakes, a piece of cake, a coffee and a glass of milk we were set. Little did we know that we ate all of Dave and Sukey's breakfast - but they weren't worried about it. Dave drove us back down to the dirt road and we walked into the hills. Even after only a week of road walking, we were ready for the cool breezes, shade, and views that he mountains always provide. 

The highlight of the section was the Cirque of the Towers. Nothing can describe the beauty of the place, looking straight up a 1000ft vertical rock face has its own special appeal. We took a couple of hours off to swim and wait out a rainstorm in the cirque, and headed out over Texas pass into the rolling hills of the south western side of the winds. It was a shame to not have time to hike a route higher in elevation over peaks, ridges and saddles but our current schedule doesn't allow us much time to do the awesome time intensive things.

The rest of the southern winds were by no means boring. There are over 1300 lakes in the winds and it felt like we saw half of them. We walked past lake after beautiful lake, over hills, through streams and through rain and hail for 2 days until reaching Elkhart Pass where we hitched into town.

I am now lying on a buffalo skin rug on Dave and Sukey's floor in Pinedale who invited us to stay as they knew we were coming to town to resupply. If we had've started 30 minutes earlier on our second day, we would have missed the pancake breakfast, missed seeing the house and the cabin that Dave has both built himself, and missed out on making two new wonderful friends. I sometimes think how small decisions and random events can change the outcome of your day, or the whole hike. I feel very lucky to have slept in that day.

Pinedale. Aug 14th. Mile 1600













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It was a short 60 mile stretch to Rawlins from Encampment and included a 36 mile road walk into town. We decided to night hike as much of it as possible and made a good time of it - listening to music, watching the sunset, and joking around on the empty dirt road on our first 30 mile day in some time. The next day on the paved highway walk into town we had breaks in culvert pipes underneath the road as it was the only shade possible on the whole road walk. Just like real hobos.

We ate, slept, resupplied and headed out of town the next day. 6 of us began to walk out of Rawlins along the highway and saw the last business at the edge of town. It was a movie theatre, and was enough of a distraction to get us to stop. With our packs on we walked into the theatre and stowed them at the front. The special effects and sound were a sensory overload, being deprived of such things on the trail we certainly appreciated the simple act of watching a movie.

We headed into the Great Divide Basin in the early evening - a 100 mile section of flat shadeless desert - and hiked till midnight. The next 3 days were hell on my feet. My shoes were pretty busted up after 600 or so miles so I got a cheap pair of runners to use for a couple of hundred miles until my new shoes arrived in the mail. My propensity for destroying shoes reached its full potential on this leg and after 25 or so miles I had squashed the rubber completely on the shoe and was walking on the inside of my heel. Every step was painful as my ankle twisted inwards and made fast walking impossible. This was an issue in the heat of the day as I held the other 3 of us left in the group back from doing our allotted 30 miles per day on this section. We broke up the monotany by playing alphabet and word games on the night hikes and found a bocci ball (p├ętanque) set in the middle of the desert that someone had kindly left at a piped spring for hikers to play.

I'm sure other things happened on this flat section of roads, but the pain blocked most of it out. I will never again hike in $30 running shoes.

Lander. Aug 10th. Mile 1500

















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