By Addi Greer
Special to The SUN
Driving down from the summit of Wolf Creek Pass with the windows down was the first time I heard about “thru-hiking.”
I learned a lot about it from the hitchhiker, who was a thru-hiker and who had just come off an almost 30-mile day on the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). He was coming into Pagosa for a “zero day” — no miles, to consume some large meals, shower and sleep in a bed. The beds are usually rented at a local lodging establishment, and the need for a shower was why I was driving with my windows down.
His name was Clint, but most thru-hikers take a “trail name” for their long journey, and Clint had lost the C, “because it was too heavy,” and now goes by Lint.
This was about nine years ago, and Lint was on his way from Mexico to Canada on the CDT (running 3,100 miles), hence: thru-hike; and he had already completed the Appalachian Trail (AT) and the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and, come Canada, he would officially be a “Triple Crowner.”
Most thru-hikers start on the AT because, almost daily, “civilization” can be reached; the PCT is popular also; and the CDT, being 437 to 1,000 miles longer than the previous two, can be more remote, exposed and beautiful in places, is usually done last because experience gained is a real benefit.