The Great Divide Trail Departure Day aka When God Laughed

The mountains have been calling me since my last hike on the Continental Divide Trail in 2016 and the call has been getting progressively louder for the past year. So I started looking into hiking the Great Divide Trail. The GDT follows the Continental Divide in Canada and will pick up where I left off in 2012 on the CDT.

The Great Divide Trail traverses the continental divide between Alberta and British Columbia, wandering through the vast wilderness of the Canadian Rocky Mountains for more than 1100 kilometres. It is one of the most spectacular and challenging long‐distance trails on the planet.
The Great Divide Trail is not officially signed and not always even an actual trail, sometimes merely a wilderness route, inspiring modern-day adventurers to walk the same paths of the original explorers to the area. A journey on the Great Divide Trail promises to be demanding but on the GDT you’ll discover a definitive wilderness experience in one of the most magnificent settings on Earth.

The GDT is purported to be as, or perhaps more, challenging than the other long trails that I have done. Not having done it yet, I expect it to be like the most difficult bits of the Continental Divide Trail. In addition, there are more Grizzlies north of the border. For these reasons, I’ve gone against my normal MO and have sought out others to hike with. I’ll be hiking the trail with Shroomer, Coyote, Hurricane and possibly Maverick; all experienced long distance hikers. I hiked a few weeks with Shroomer on the CDT, met Hurricane on the PCT, but don’t yet know the other two.
Three or four months ago, I went through the difficult and convoluted national park reservation process to reserve spots for myself and the others for the 10 or so nights that we will be in the national parks along the way. I have spent the past several weeks in frenetic preparation for the trip, and will be mailing most of my food ahead (once I get to Canada) because on the go resupply is difficult, at best, and very expensive.
As always, the hardest thing about a long distance hike is the time that I’ll be away from my nieces and nephew. We’ve tried to make the most of the few weeks remaining and they’ve been a big part of my preparations.

The day arrived for me to leave on Wednesday (yesterday) and to my utter embarrassment I discovered at the airport, that my passport was expired. As I mentioned, I’ve been planning this for around a year so I have no excuse, but I just knew that it expired in 2020. I don’t know why I never looked at it; I certainly should have. Of course, I feel exceedingly foolish. That is all water under the bridge now. Flexibility and resourcefulness are indispensable traits that are required on any thru hike; as is the help of others. I’ve just had to dip into the pool a little early this time. With the help of my amazing friends JK and GK, I have a way forward. If not for them I would surely have been a Boat without a paddle. I’ve had to reschedule my flight for Saturday and make an appointment with the US Passport Agency in Atlanta to get a super, expedited passport. If all goes well, I will have passport in hand on Friday afternoon and be ready to go for my Saturday flight. As a result of this little snafu, I’ll be missing the majority of my family reunion in Alberta with the Canadian side of the family. I hope they will forgive me.

Now for the part about God’s sense of humor. So, something very similar happened to some friends recently and in my imagined superiority I thought to myself; “how could they not know that their passports were expired and why didn’t they check the date?” I’m certain that God was laughing at that precise moment..

Comments 8

  1. Very rainy here in Airdrie. Hope it isn’t too bad in Waterton. Hope you met up with everyone. Safe travels.

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      Hurricane and maverick both had to pull out. We tagged the border today and will head north in the morning.

  2. Well, the weather in Waterton is looking like rain.
    Will be praying for you to have a good start, not too wet, on the 4th.
    Love you little brother and always thinking about you!

  3. I was just thinking about you recently and wondering when you might go for another adventure! I will be looking forward to your trail journal and wish you the best. That passport trick sounds like something I would do! Take care!

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  4. What a wonderful Preface to your Journey.
    I am certain your nieces and nephew will miss you every bit as much as you will be missing them. (great pics – love the smiles!)
    Happy Trails! and Godspeed –

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