It has now been almost a month since I finished the trail and almost all the northbound hikers have completed the trail with a few brave souls still left to brave the snow now falling in Glacier. I like to have an “ending credits” kind of post that includes all the hikers I spent extended time with on the trail. Here are their finishing photos along with a closing statement from them as many of them are settling back into society. It was a pleasure to share the trail with these hikers this summer and seeing all of their finishing photos just makes me smile with happiness and pride for them.  Hope you all enjoy hearing from them one last time…
Drop-N-Roll(Click Here for DNR’s trail journal) Finished Sept 16th

“As you know, the whole gang (myself, LoveNote, Ninja, Sweetfish, Burly Whites) stayed around East Glacier for a few
days and went to the Hiker Hoopla party hosted by the Montana Wilderness Association. I then took the train back here to Portland (via
seattle to get my car). I’m heading to Florida for a week to vacation
with my parents in Key West, so I still feel like I’m not back in real
life.  I have no definite plans, other than that I want to stay in
Portland. I (still!) haven’t decided if I want to get another
engineering job or figure out something else. I also don’t currently have any big hiking plans, but the southwest is always calling me. I should probably answer.” ~DnR

LoveNote Finished Sept 16th 
“It’s raining in Darby, MT — the type of frigid valley
rain that means snow in the higher mountains. And I am so happy to not
be hiking but instead to be holed up in a cozy cabin, watching the rain
fall from indoors while snuggling up with the new puppy that Burly and I
took home with us when we left East Glacier finally a few days ago.(Click Here to see where this new dog came from…) His
name (for now) is Huckleberry Pie a La Mode, but Huck when he’s naughty
(which he isn’t). After a fun summer on the CDT, I’m looking forward to
settling back into “normal” life — going back to my same nanny gig, my
friends and my little cottage — and getting accustomed to life as a
dog owner. Happily, my body handled the physical strains of the CDT much
more easily than the PCT, and it doesn’t feel like I even hiked border
to border this time! Regardless, I don’t have any immediate plans to
hike another long trail. I loved the CDT, however! At times, it was a
mental push (PUDs (pointless ups and downs) galore!), but I was in great company and felt grateful
to enjoy laughter and friendship on those days. Other days I was amazed
at the astounding beauty along the Divide (but often off of the
official route, go figure) — the Winds, the Gila River, and Glacier NP
stand out as my favorites from the summer. Tonight my sister will arrive
to drive me and HucklePup back to California, and we’ll drop Burly
Whites off at Chief Joseph Pass (which is under snow currently) to
finish his missing section to Anaconda. Next project: sorting about
50gigs of photos and video from the past five months!” ~LoveNote

Burly Whites(formerly Stryder) Finished Sept 16th
My name is Burly Whites. I had a great time hiking
the trail this summer. I am currently in darby waiting out a snowstorm
to hike the stretch of trail I skipped for my sisters wedding. After
that for the next month I will be hanging out in Colorado and California
waiting until ski season starts in Colorado and thusly work. Love note
and I have rescued a red heeler/lab puppy from the Blackfoot reservation
on the south end of Glacier NP. The dog is pretty awesome and we think
his name will be huckleberry. As far as the next travel plans go they
could involve climbing all summer after ski season or maybe getting a
job as a California lifeguard, but I would need a perm like David
hasselhoff’s. so if you know a good barber please let me know. Thanks.

Ninja Finished Sept 16th
Now that I’ve finished the CDT, I plan to retire
from hiking…just kidding. Well, maybe. Who’s to say how I will
feel next spring when the days grow longer, the sun shining on my face
feels noticeably stronger, and the trees start to leaf out? My hope,
however, is that completing my triple crown will largely satisfy the
wanderlust I have felt since first starting to dream many years ago of
thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. The answer I’ve given to others who
have asked “what’s next?” is simply: pursue domesticity. Maybe take up
the piano, hang pictures on my(as yet unrealized) walls, volunteer
with the local trail club…possibilities are endless. The core of my
post-trail aspirations is to adopt a more settled lifestyle and
contentment myself therein. Oh, and to travel to Patagonia and hike the
Torres del Paine circuit. You know, just to keep it interesting. :-)~Ninja

Sweetfish Finished Sept 16th

The finish through glacier was phenomenal, hiker hoopla was lots of fun,
train ride back to Boston was long, but whenever I looked out the
window I just felt that I should be walking it.  Seeing my family again
was very nice, and after getting home and sleeping for an entire day,
I’m just picking up where I left off, and thinking about the next
adventure.  Probably the Camino de Santiago. – Sweetfish

Rockin’ & Silly Chili Finished Aug 2nd at Old Faithful
(Click Here for Rockin’s journal)
“We experienced cold, heat,
bugs, snow, lightening, wind, hail, high altitude, and lots of elevation
ups and downs. But most of all we experienced a friendly and supportive
hiker community. We shared our journey with Wired, Drop n’ Roll, Ninja,
Burly Whites, Sweetfish, and Love Note. Without this important
component the CDT would have been just another long trail. Thanks guys
for the shenanigans and the long breaks! 

Hiking long trails has a way of grabbing a body’s soul and
refusing to let go. It is a gift I cherish daily. After coming home, I
have to admit the adjustment back into the real everyday life has been
an uphill battle. The CDT forced me to grow and change in many areas
that were not natural for me. I am currently in the process of using
these new strengths to develop a simpler work and personal life and
healthier body. Part of this plan includes lots of upcoming trip plans
and dreams. I am teaching, hiking, climbing, and started Cross Fit. Right now I am looking to hike through Scotland on the TGO Challenge next May and to finish hiking my last large section of the
Pacific Crest Trail through Oregon and Washington next summer. Silly Chili started a year long graduate nursing program at Concordia
University in the middle of August. He loves it and is very challenged.
In his spare time he is studying and working out at a lot rock climbing
gym. As for
right now, I am on my way to explore the fall colors in the Eastern
Sierras and maybe even climb a peak or two.” ~Rockin’

Mtn Rat(Click Here for Mtn Rat’s journal) Finished Aug 17th

“I finished my CDT thru hike over a month ago. Did it actually happen?
Hard to say. Sometimes the memories are vivid, sometimes they are vague
and distant. Came off the trail full of energy,but that soon changed as I
embarked on a two week holiday. It was perfect as I just ate all the
time and had about a 3 hour nap everyday. Had weird dreams though. I
would be walking a section of trail with about 3 miles to get to where I
wanted. I would walk and walk and never get any closer. That happened
every night for a little over 2 weeks then stopped. Just over a month
out I am back to normal with just a little foot soreness in the morning
and a couple of toes still displaying some lingering numbness. I am back
to running and have started flipping a heavy timber end over end to get
some functional strength back. Man thru hiking is hell on the upper
body strength for me.

As for the mental part. No changes. No epiphanies. No life changes.
Maybe I am more patient and discomforts are no longer uncomfortable. I
just do stuff and don’t let it get to me. I also have a renewed
appreciation for the automobile. :)” Cheers, Mtn Rat

Estero Finished Sept 9th

“Im still traveling around and visiting family and friends
before I go back to Florida for the winter. Currently I’m riding a train
from Washington state to Pennsylvania.

I have done the AT 2011, PCT 2012, and of course CDT 2013. I
am considering the PCT or AT again next summer but work this winter
will determine that.” ~Estero

Stopwatch & Optimist (Click Here for their trail journal) Waterton Aug 29th*
*Stopwatch and Optimist hit Waterton and returned to CO to complete the couple hundred miles they had to skip due to a fire. They completed that and tried to return to the remaining section where Stopwatch still had some miles to complete, but the weather did not cooperate and they headed home.
“Since finishing the trail, we have returned to Seattle where Optimist is taking the opportunity to learn a new skill
by attending nursing school. While Stopwatch is headed back to work, most
likely in the field of finance, she will also be writing her third
self-published book, this time about the CDT. Her first two books are about their PCT and AT thru-hikes from 2007 and 2011. Though we will
be hanging up our hiking boots for now, we are getting back into
running and plan on racing anywhere from the half marathon up to 100
mile trail races. While in Seattle, we will be taking sailing lessons
so we can take our adventures off-land, and lastly, we hope to
soon embark on the adventure of parenting, something that scares us both
more than a grizzly bear in Glacier.” ~Stopwatch & Optimist

Bloodbath & Rampage Finished Sept 3rd

“We are spending a month in Phoenix with Rampage’s
family. In October we will be leaving for our next adventure – a
teaching job in Changwon, South Korea. Being off trail has been strange
and the adjustment back into daily life has been an interesting one. The hardest part of being off trail is how easy it seems to slip
back into the ‘daily grind’ and how quickly the trail and the entire
thru hiking experience seems to fade into the background. Perhaps this
is why we continue to seek out experiences that involve travel
and change and challenge – so that we don’t lose ourselves in the
civilized, corporate American machine so to speak. So off we go! We have
been offered a one year English teaching contract on the southern tip
of South Korea. After which we plan to hike the PCT (again for Bloodbath, first
time for Rampage) and eventually start nursing school in 2015. We can say
that out of all the adventures in our future, we can’t wait to get back
out into the backcountry!” ~Bloodbath & Rampage

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