One of our other favourite pieces of gear was our Enlightened Equipment Accomplice quilt. It's a double quilt, that is completely customisable. We got the tall, and had ours rated to 10degrees Fahrenheit/ -10degrees Celcius and we have zero regrets. It was warm enough, still under 1kg (2lbs) and it has only once got soggy because us, all our gear and the entirety of the mountain we were on were all soaking wet (it is filled with dry down, which definitely helped I think). It doesn't even smell bad (I have no idea how that is, but seriously, two stinky thru hikers in it every night and no odour). I ended up getting a thermal bag liner, because Bourbon sleeps much warmer than I do. That was a perfect compromise for us. I could be a little warmer, but we could both sleep any which way inside the quilt still.
I like sleeping with one leg bent, which you can actually do comfortably in a quilt, and Bourbon is a side sleeper and says he got way less twisted up in the quilt than he does in a typical sleeping bag. When we hike together, I doubt we will ever take anything other than this quilt now. Even when it got ice crystals on it, or lots of dew, 5 mins in the sun and poof, the down would fluff back up and the skin of the bag would dry out.
The downsides are few but worth noting: in a quilt, if you don't sleep in thermals there is a high chance you will be sleeping straight on your sleeping mat. Which makes for a sweaty night's sleep if your mat is plastic. We actually have sleeping mat "sheets" at home that we usually use, but we left them behind on this trip for the sake of the extra 2oz. In warmer temps I will definitely sacrifice the extra weight for that little bit of comfort. Occasionally I would also wake up with the drawstring from the neck of my side of the bag wrapped around MY neck. Not a great feeling. Once I get home I will stitch that loose end down with my sewing machine so it can't happen any more.
If you have ever tried sleeping with a partner with your sleeping bags zipped together you'll know just how frustrating that can be. I happily report this is almost as comfy as the duvet on our queen size bed at home, and give it a solid 10/10 would recommend. #enlightenedequipment #eeaccomplice
I forgot to mention in our last post, the RV park in Ennis was excellent. If you're ever in the area it is awesome value, has super spacious clean showers, and is right in the centre of town.
We rejoined the trail in Butte, which was awesome. Even though it was still kind of sucky weather and there wasn't a huge amount of water around (15mile carries between sources, and a lot of sources not marked on guthooks) it was good to be back on trail. The trail north from MT hwy 90 was in great condition and the miles went by super fast. We easily did 22miles after lunch one day! I know a lot of people miss this section because they take the Anaconda cutoff, but we really enjoyed it.
Best in show on the CDT goes to this diminutive Icebreaker Chase Headband. I carried this instead of a beanie for the entire trail. I added a beanie in Northern New Mexico and the South San Juan, but then went straight back to using just this as soon as I started pushing the beanie off during the night.
Honestly, it was the most heavily used item I carried in my pack. It could pull down over my eyes to keep the sun out, kept my head warm, weighed almost nothing, took up almost no space and was cool enough I could wear it whilst I was hiking. That was really its biggest benefit. It helped keep the cold air out of my ears and off my forehead, but didn't make me over heat like a standard beanie. I will never hike again without one of these in my pack.
So, the last few weeks of the trail got on top of me. We hit longer and longer days, and I just didn't have the energy left to write. But I'm going to catch you up now, partly because I got some great photos in the last few weeks that I really want to share!
Honestly, the Wind River Range was spectacular. I enjoyed it far more than much of Colorado. The trail was generally in better condition, and the mountains were just totally beautiful. 10/10 would recommend. We hiked out to Pinedale for a resupply partway through, which was definitely a good reset in the middle (I had too much food and my partner had too little, which always happens with us. As soon as we get into the mountains my appetite goes way up and his goes way down!)
First of all I would like to thank everyone who will see my journal. This is a huge undertaking for me, and I do wonder what the hell was I thinking at times. Then I realize this is for those veterans who paid the ultimate price in defense of our freedoms.
I am representing the Brothers in Arms Foundation during my thru hike. My goal is to raise funds for this amazing organization. Please look them up at: www.brothersinarmsfoundation.org
If you enjoy my journal please share it far and wide. Visibility helps me stay motivated and lets us never forget our fallen brothers and sisters in arms.
Back at the car, our gear loaded in the back, and somewhat surprised it is already over. You know it was a good trip when:
End of the journey.
When can we go again?
Talking about finishing the trail next year.
Happy 65 birthday Mom and Dad and 45th wedding anniversary - the reason we did this trip together was to celebrate these milestones. And happy hiking to al my hiking partners on this trip @toesalad, @karentogo, @hammerhead - love all of you so much!!