Happy Tuesday! I’m cruising through this week eagerly anticipating our hiking trip this weekend. In honor of our trip, I thought it was time that I revisited a book I showed you guys a few weeks ago. I did finish it, and I am long over-due in giving you guys a book review!
I think I’m sensing a developing theme. Two days in row of thru-hiking talk. I know I don’t mind
Last year, I read Wild by Cheryl Strayed, and was hit extremely hard by the desire to hike one of the “big” trails here in the U.S. Since that time, I’ve done so much research on the subject, and it’s gone from a wild fantasy I thought I could never do to a full-blown obsession. Therefore, you can imagine I snap up any and every book I can find on the subject.
That’s how Hiking the Continental Divide Trail by Jennifer Hanson found its way to my door about a month ago. I had a few other books lined up in front of this one so by the time I picked it up I was eager to jump in. It did not disappoint! Unlike some of the other thru-hiking books I’ve read, I immediately found Jennifer to be a likable person and the evolution that she goes through as a hiker was something I could completely relate to.
Jennifer Hanson and her husband Greg set off in April of 1997 to complete over 2,400 miles on the Continental Divide Trail that winds from the Mexican border in New Mexico all the way to Canada. I felt drawn to this particular story because it was a tale of a husband and wife team. This is how I’ve always hiked, and over the last few years John and I have developed a rhythm and routine. It was interesting to see the similarities and differences between Jennifer and Greg.
What I found to be the most powerful part of the story, however, was the almost 900 miles of the trail that Jennifer completed alone. 1,500 miles into their trip, Greg could no longer ignore the agony he was in from a previous injury. Any hiker will tell you how imperative it is to listen to your body. An injury can sideline you in any sport, but on the trail it can mean the difference between life and death. Greg did the smart thing and left the trail early, but Jennifer decided to continue alone. This really spoke to me. As I said before, I’ve never hiked alone, and, although I think it is smart to have a partner 99% of the time, I can’t help but wonder what that kind of solitude would feel like. It inspired me to try a trail on my own, and I’m considering a solo hike for the next month or so. We’ll see how if it pans out!
As Jennifer continued alone, she was keenly aware of the absence of other females on the CDT as well as other trails she was familiar with. Several passages on this subject stuck out to me. She spoke about how routinely she would encountered Boy Scout troops on previous hiking trips, and I realized that we as a society push girls toward more “feminine” pursuits from an early age and that leads to very few of us enjoying the outdoors as we grow older. Boy Scouts go hiking. What comes to your mind when you think of Girl Scouts? I was so glad the booked raised this intriguing issue. It’s gotten me thinking about what I can do to encourage young girls to fall in love with the outdoors.
Overall, I absolutely loved the book. She even included a detailed breakdown of resources that could serve as a helpful starting point for those wishing to hike the CDT. The only small critical thing I can say is that the material is a little outdated. Although the book was only published last year, Jennifer’s hike took place in 1997. The resources available for the CDT as well as the trail itself have changed drastically in the last fifteen years. That being said, if you’re not a thru-hiker, that criticism will mean very little to you. This book is inspirational no matter what journey you happen to be on, and I give it a resounding recommendation!
So what’s up next, you ask?
I know-it’s a sickness
What are your thoughts on “girl” vs. “boy” activities? Do you have any great ideas I could use to inspire young girls?