Starting June 2018, I will be through-hiking the Great Divide Trail in Canada. For those unfamiliar, the GDT (Great Divide Trail) travels through Alberta and British Columbia. It goes through the Rockies (Canadian Rockies; this is not to be confused with the American Rockies; there is a separate Great Divide Trail which makes research a bit confusing) and is about 700 or so miles long. It’s shorter than I’d like, and a YoYo (South to North, then back again North to South) is on the table to extend the trip, if I can afford it, which is why I’ll be starting in June and not July.
When I hike the Great Divide Trail, I plan to take lots of photographs and write about it where possible. The internet might not be very good in the middle of nowhere, so I don’t know when I’ll get to upload stuff. Hopefully when I’ve completed the hike, I can help and inspire future hikers; I struggled a bit with research to begin with as it’s not as popular trail compared to the Pacific Crest Trail, The Appalachian Trail or the Continental Divide Trail. Intocascadia’s website has been really helpful.
My ultimate goal was to hike the Pacific Crest Trail but without meaning to moan too much regarding why my US Visa was unfairly denied (in summation, their claims were fictitious–they probably wanted to keep their 30% decline rate on schedule.) Additional international miles on my belt will aid me towards certain goals and ultimately an American Visa should I wish to pursue that route later on. I’ve fallen in love with Canada from the photographs I’ve seen so far, and I may enjoy this hike more than I would the Pacific Crest Trail, if I get lucky with the sun. There are other parts of Canada I’d like to visit one day too. Is this cognitive dissonance aka sour grapes as it were? I don’t think so. I love the idea of Californian heat, snakes, heat, snakes, did I mention heat? Deserts look awesome too. I’m under no illusion I’d absolutely love the Pacific Crest Trail but each trail has their positives.
The Great Divide Trail is shorter than most well known long distance hikes, but it is not as well marked as the trails in other countries or even Canada’s own trails. For me, this raised concern but now it’s pure excitement–it will be nice to do something semi-unique. It’s easier to feel more original when less people have done something. You can also extend the length of the trail and make your own route in a roundabout way if you don’t wish to YoYo it. It’s difficult to know how the first explorers of the earth felt, but I think adventures like this give you a certain glimpse into what their life must have been like.
Anyone who’s familiar with the Great Divide Trail will be aware that it’s actually more challenging (excluding mileage) than the Pacific Crest Trail in some regards. Many people have said I should hike somewhere safer rather than America; to me, there is great irony in that considering the difficulty of this hike, and uh, fucking Grizzly bears. If it was safe, I wouldn’t be interested. To be honest, I’m more worried about getting my camera wet.
Who knows where this hike will take me. Most of my ideas haven’t gone according to plan, so I’m not being as methodical as before. One thing is for sure, everyone says how beautiful the scenery is and the more photographs I see, the more it’s made me excited. I am seeking a life changing experience, to improve my photography skills and to generally do something that makes me happy :).