For National Trails Day this past weekend, I hoofed it around Manhattan making my own trail between 2nd Avenue and the Hudson River and back, criss-crossing streets that had trees that depended upon which park I happened to pass. People watching was more my past-time than communing with nature.
For a few days late nod to National Trails Day, I’ve become engrossed in the hiking trails to be found along the Continental Divide. It all started when I found a video of Francis Tapon’s 6,000 mile trip along the Continental Divide. Tapon, a walking type traveler that must sport some great boots, took this journey two years ago.
This travel feat, the first yo-yo trip of the Divide where a person begins and ends in the same place, was one where Tapon passed through scenery quite opposite to my journey around Manhattan. Tapon’s scenery fit song lyrics to elementary music class favorites like “This Land is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful” –as cornball as that sounds.
The snapshots also pay tribute to the notion that spring weather in the United States is not the same. Although some people are throwing backyard barbecues and tossing back beers to cool off by Memorial Day, other places are still covered with snow. As Tapon passed along the trail, the snow lessened.
A person doesn’t have to be a hiking animal like Tapon to partake in the enjoyment. The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail offers several options. There are day hikes and longer that have been mapped out by folks who have made trail development and maintenance their passion. Here’s are links on the Continental Divide Trail Alliance website to hikes in Montana and Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. One detail I appreciate about this website is how the trails have been organized according to which ones are family-friendly to difficult. Family-friendly designates those that are easier to traverse. The trail descriptions also provide information about how to get to particular trail heads and variations on hiking in each location.
From browsing the list, here is one hike from each area that I can personally vouch for based on experience. I’ve seen these spots myself. There’s a big difference in the scenery among these choices which adds to the notion that if you’ve seen one, you definitely have not seen them all:
Anaconda/Pintler Wilderness–Montana. I pass through here each summer on the way to Philipsburg. Anaconda, the town with the same name is touted as “Where Main Street Meets the Mountains.” A brother of a friend of mine camped at Lost Creek State Park campground near here and said it was the most gorgeous place he’s ever been.
Rocky Mountain National Park–Colorado. When I hiked here, the wildflowers were gorgeous. I was by myself and did not see another person for the few hours I set out to enjoy the scenery.
San Pedro Parks Wilderness, Santa Fe National Forest–New Mexico. If you head to this trail in the winter, cross-country skiing is in order. Cross-country skiing in New Mexico is sublime.
Shosone Lake Loop, Yellowstone National Park. When I was in Yellowstone, I hiked in back of the Roosevelt Lodge. The Shosone Lake Loop is closest to Old Faithful. You can’t go wrong in Yellowstone wherever you roam. Old Faithful is worth hanging around for as long as you’re in the area.