April 14 — Boulder, CO
I would like to officially announce my plans for starting back up on the C2C. In August 2004 I will start from Quebec, bound for Washington. The late-summer start will put me in the New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio during October, November, and December. I will probably hike until mid-December, go home for the holidays, and return to the trail in mid-January; most likely I will be in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
The crux of this east-west linear strategy is this: I will have to pass through Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota during January, February, March, and possibly early-April. I expect to encounter extremely cold temperatures and lots of snow. My preferred mode of transportation will be backcountry skis because they are the safest — they are faster than snowshoes (which I will also be carrying for steep inclines) so I can get out of bad situations more easily; and they will allow me to carry a heavier load in a sled than I am willing to carry on my back.
If I average 15-miles per day through the North Country, then 30-miles per day across the plains of North Dakota and Montana, I will arrive at the Continental Divide Trail in June, which gives me ample time in which to hike the remaining 1400-miles of the C2C — 225-miles of the CDT and all 1,150-miles of the Pacific Northwest Trail.
There are two “cool” ways to the C2C, at least in my eyes. One is the Calendar C2C — which I started in February and failed to achieve. The other is the Linear C2C — which can be done west-east or east-west. In August I will start the Linear C2C.
There are many reasons why I chose to go east-west and not west-east. The main factor was where I can hike in late-winter and early-spring: if I went east-west, I would be in the North Country, where there will be frigid temperatures and lots of snow; but that is better than if I went west-east because in late-winter and early-spring I would be in New England, where there will be frigid temperatures, lots of snow, and big exposed mountains. By being properly dressed and nourished, I can handle frigid temps and snow; but big mountains are an uncontrollable factor that increases my risk significantly.
Other, less influential, factors in my decision to go east-west included:
The Rockies and Pacific Northwest are the ‘crown jewel’ of the C2C — they will be an incentive to keep going. The Appalachians are great but do not provide as strong an incentive.
Washington’s Olympic Peninsula is much more accessible than Quebec’s Cape Gaspe, which make it easier for family members, friends, sponsors, and supporters to join me at the end.
In America, pioneers have always traveled west.
I will be chasing the setting sun until there is no more land on which to chase it.