Wilderness Volunteers recently did a week of work on the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) near Apache Creek, NM, in cooperation with the Glenwood Ranger District of the Gila National Forest. We were building new trail through a section of the forest that is closed to this activity for all but a few months each year due to proximity to Mexican spotted owl habitat. It was hard work but very rewarding to see the new trail come together.

The CDT spans five states and travels 3100 miles along the spine of the country. It is a combination of dedicated trails and backcountry roads and is considered 70% finished. The Gila Forest is building trail to take it off the forest service roads which will improve the experience for hikers using it.

Standing from left: Paul, Cloudwalker, Don, Debbie, Annette,
Josh, Chris. Seated: Paul, Sarah, Liz, Katy, Bill

One evening we were eating dinner when we spied a hiker on the trail, walking south at a high rate of speed. We asked him to join us and didn’t have to worry about what to do with leftovers that night. His trail name was Cloudwalker, and the CDT was his third through-hike as he’d already completed the Appalachian (AT) and Pacific Crest( PCT) trails, in fact, he hiked the AT (2,200 miles) just before he started on the CDT!

He was full of enthusiasm, and it was great to meet an actual through-hiker while we were working on the trail. When we went back to work the next day, we could see visions of these robust characters passing through on the trail we were creating.

Before and After — a trail is born                     photos by Paul Walski

Wilderness Volunteers will offer this trip again in 2015 on June 7 – 13th. Spend a week on the Continental Divide and help us on this legendary trail!

Experience the trail we completed here: