Michael Hervey has been an Outdoor Outreach volunteer since 2016; in April 2017, he will be taking on a long-distance hike along the Continental Divide Trail. Michael has taken this opportunity to raise money for Outdoor Outreach, and bring awareness to cultural and socio-economic barriers to outdoor access.
My thru hike of the Continental Divide Trail is beginning to materialize. With a departure date of April 28th, the remaining days are counting down and I am beginning to remember what a joy it is to be out hiking. The freedom and solitude, the total immersion in the environment, all of these images and emotions of hiking long trails are reigniting in my mind. With every day that passes, the goal set out in front of me is beginning to weigh heavily on my shoulders, though it is not a weight of sacrifice, but a welcoming and familiar burden. This adventure is bound to be remarkable, and I am growing anxious to set out for another amazing summer full of experiences that will be with me for life.
Last week, I traveled up to Northern California to meet up with good friend and hiking partner, Nick Zeitler, in order to discuss our CDT preparations and to run in the Formidable 50k trail race in Auburn, CA.
We spent a few days before the race outlining the first sections of the CDT that traverse remote and dry desert in southern New Mexico. As part of our preparations, we worked together to finalize a few items of gear, evaluate our trails maps, and decide where to send food drops along the first few hundred miles of trail. In order to get to the southern terminus of the CDT, you must have access to a four wheel drive vehicle because the start of the trail lies in the middle of the desert, two hours south of Lordsburg, New Mexico.
Traveling to Northern California was exciting for me, and it is proving to be exactly what I need to get my mind in the right place for the journey ahead. Travel across the state allows me to step back, and have a greater perspective, and it opens up the opportunity to meet a wider range of people to help spread awareness about the amazing work of Outdoor Outreach.
With preparations for this summer well underway, and a fast time of 5:46 at the muddy and rugged Formidable 50k, my trip North proved to be a success. Now that I have returned to San Diego, I have been hitting the trails hard in order to prepare my body for the journey.
As much as I am excited to get started, I am feeling like I am going to miss my family and loved ones that live at home in San Diego. There is a toll to learning more about one’s self, and that is that this kind of meditation requires time away.
Yet, at the same time, I know that hiking is something that I love and that I want to pursue, but it is undeniable that I have a life here at home that will be waiting for me. I can’t underestimate the toll that my absence has on the people that care about me, so as I am gearing up for this adventure, I am also trying not to take what I have for granted.
So as April 28th is coming on quickly, I face it with excitement and solace. To return to the trail is to return to my home. So for the few months remaining, I will prepare so that I can welcome this adventure with open arms.