Celebrating the CDT in 2014
CDT Montana honors volunteers and hikers at 2nd annual Hiker Hoopla
Afoot on the CDT
On the last Friday of September, Continental Divide Trail Montana threw down for their second-annual CDT Hiker Hoopla, a celebration of every thru-hiker, trail crew volunteer, and outdoor enthusiast who found solace and community along the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail in 2014. Hosted by Summit Mountain Lodge and soundtracked by Whitefish-based bluegrass band 21st Amendment, this jovial gathering brought the CDNST community together for one final hurrah before everyone left the mountains for their respective wintering grounds.
As is the case with any good party, there was plenty of tasty food and libations. A buffet-style spaghetti dinner was served inside the lodge. Ooutside, folks huddled around either the firepit or the wheelbarrow that served as a makeshift cooler for Wildwood Brewing's Bodacious Bob beers. There wasn't much that could be done to seperate this trail-weary crowd from the primal comforts of food, warmth and booze, but we found one way: give away free stuff. Our raffle was stocked this year, featuring swag and gift cards from Mountain Khakis, trekking poles from Leki, warm jackets from the Patagonia Outlet in Dillon, and weekend passes to the Red Ants Pants Festival.
Although there were more partiers than prize-winners, everyone there had reason to celebrate. Any hiker strong and shrewd enough to have made it from New Mexico north to Marias Pass for the Hoopla can tell you that hiking the rugged CDNST is no easy feat. It takes hard work, careful planning and the good will of countless people along the way. The same can be said for the trail’s stewardship and advocacy.
CDT Montana and the hardworking volunteers work tirelessly to maintain and complete the CDNST. In 2014 alone, CDT Montana mobilized over 160 volunteer trail scouts, backcountry horsemen, and trail crew members to improve sections of the CDNST on public lands from Yellowstone north to Glacier. The value of these efforts equals more than $180,000!
The truer value of the work is perhaps best summed up by one of our all-star volunteers, Gail Des Moulins:
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to give back to the trail and contribute to the experience of future hikers. These projects, with terrific people and in some of the most beautiful country in the world, are among the most fulfilling things one can do. I will always be an advocate for this trail and its importance.”
It is a bittersweet feeling to cap another year on the trail. Just like Gail, CDT Montana is excited for what next year holds in store. Thanks for a great year everybody and we hope to see you on the trail again in 2015!