2021 CDT hike still unsure
Updated: Jan 4
Like for most people this year was not great. I had a lot of issue other than just with Covid and don't need to go into all of them, really just those dealing with my hike.
I've had 2 separate body injuries that have kept me from exercising. First I had hip issues that kept me on the sidelines for 3 months in the first half of the year. The shut downs made that last long than should have; had I been able to get to the doctor sooner I wouldn't had been out that long. The hip issue ended up being an easy fix through physical therapy, was afraid it was a stress fracture.
I was back to running for a few months and was getting back into shape real quick then in October I started having back issues. I've had lower back issues in the past but was always able to run through it. However, this time that was not the case. I tried several different treatments before having an MRI done. The MRI showed a bulged disc and was putting pressure on the nerve which was causing leg pain.
The doctor said that most likely I was going to need surgery to fix it. That was not the news I wanted to hear. The doctor did suggest getting back injections to see if that would help, which he didn't think would do much if any but would need to happen in order to have the surgery.
The doctor did get me some medication to help with the pain. However about a week taking it I started to have some eye issues. I went to the eye doctor, which it had been awhile since I had seen anyone about my eyes because I've always had great vision. The first eye doctor saw some swelling around the retina and didn't seem too concerned and told me to come back in 2 months, things would heal on its own. That didn't seem right so went to see another eye doctor. This one saw I had some fluid leakage around the retina and set me up with a retina specialist. That was good timing as he said the steroid I had been taken for the back pain is what probably caused the fluid leakage so I had to cancel my back injection that was to be the next day.
The third eye doctor pretty much confirmed the second doctor's diagnose. He did a few more extra test and found that there was leakage in both eyes and thought it would heal on its own and to come back in a month. If things hadn't healed there was a procedure he can do.
With the whole eye issue it looked even more like I was going to need back surgery. I did decide to get another opinion on it, an actually back specialist. It's a long story why I didn't go to a specialist at first.
After a short visit with the back specialist he concluded I didn't need surgery and physical therapy will help with the pain. PT will start on January 4.
So where does this leave me for hiking the CDT this year? For the most part my decision will be determined how my body heals up these next 4 months. However, even if my body is ready to go it's not a sure thing I will be hiking the CDT this year.
Covid is still a real threat right now even with the vaccine out there right now. The experts thinks that everyone that wants the vaccine should be able to get it by May/June but every expert has been wrong this whole time so I can't really count on that.
With Covid being like it is right now there are parts of the country that have strong stances and shutdowns. For example, New Mexico, where the southern terminus of the trail is located, has pretty strict laws currently. So, transportation to the starting point will be tough, not to mention the water caches that are located in the 1st 100 miles might not be kept full. That area is very dry and you are relying on those caches. The CDTC is making their decision soon if they will be offer that service this year.
Another issue with having Covid restrictions is up north at Glacier National Park and the northern terminus. Last I heard the Blackfeet reservation is closed off until late September. The CDT spends the last part going through that area so I couldn't finish at that spot. There is an option to where I could road walk the last part to Canada but I would be missing out on some of the best parts of the trail.
Lastly, the other issue I'm looking at is hitchhiking. How willing will be people be up to giving hikers a hitch into town? Unlike the other 2 big trails, AT & PCT, its very hard for the most part getting in and out of some of the towns so those hitches are very important.
The Covid issues will all depend on how well the vaccine can get out there.
Right now I've got time on my side so a lot can happen in those 4 months. So I'm going to start planning right now that this hike is going to happen starting in May. However, if my back doesn't heal up enough or if Covid is till bad I'll just delay another year. The trail will still be there and want to have the best CDT hike possible.
Now next on my list is to find a new tent as my current tent didn't hold up too well on the Colorado Trail this summer. My next post will be more about gear so be looking out for that.