Mayor’s 2019 CDT Redemption Hike Day 139 (FINISH DAY!)

Mayor's 2019 CDT Redemption Hike-Last Day ST

Day- 139
Date- November 5, 2019
Location- Back in Lordsburg
Elevation- 4,285
Distance Traveled Today- 14.2 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 2,706 miles
Weather/Temp- clear, 80s
Injuries- Sore feet
Pain level- Pain is irrelevant.
Spirits/Morale- Saudade
Wildlife encounters- birds, rabbits
Days without shower- 0
Days without laundry- 0
Hunger/craving- zero

Thoughts/Stories-

So, after 5 years of long distance hiking and more than 11,000 trail miles… I became a bonafide Triple Crowner today! If you haven’t figured out the significance of the chosen finish date (I mentioned having a day in mind a while back) – then please allow me to fill you in! 

Gun Powder Rebel

November 5th is Guy Fawkes Day in Great Britain. Finishing on this day was nothing more than a joke when I was trash talking with Chip’n (Dale, the Englishman I hiked with at the beginning of the trail nearly 2 months ago).  Although Dale and I didn’t see each other during the hike since Helena, we were both in touch throughout the entire hike. We kept each other filled in on the comings and goings of our respective locations on trail.  We were also talking all kinds of good humored shit to each other as well. Anyways, quite some time ago I told him I was going to finish on Guy Fawkes Day so that all of England would have to also celebrate my Triple Crown anniversary every 5th of November – until the end of time.

I further told him I was going to rewrite the famous Guy Fawkes poem to reflect my hikes, rather than Guy Fawkes. As a result of these exchanges, the current pace (since somewhere in Colorado) has been tailored to reach the border on November 5th, and lo and behold… we did it. So, without further ado, I will share the original Guy Fawkes Poem with you. Then, I’ll share my bastardized version – which took me all of six minutes to write while freezing to death in my inadequate sleeping bag a couple weeks ago.

ORIGINAL VERSION…

Remember, remember!
    The fifth of November,
    The Gunpowder treason and plot;
    I know of no reason
    Why the Gunpowder treason
    Should ever be forgot!
    Guy Fawkes and his companions
    Did the scheme contrive,
    To blow the King and Parliament
    All up alive.
    Threescore barrels, laid below,
    To prove old England’s overthrow.
    But, by God’s providence, him they catch,
    With a dark lantern, lighting a match!
    A stick and a stake
    For King James’s sake!
    If you won’t give me one,
    I’ll take two,
    The better for me,
    And the worse for you.
    A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
    A penn’orth of cheese to choke him,
    A pint of beer to wash it down,
    And a jolly good fire to burn him.
    Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!
    Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!
    Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!

MY VERSION…

Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,
The Triple Crown Season and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Triple Crown Season
Should ever be forgot!
Mayor and his companions
Did the hikes contrive,
To blow seven thousand trail miles
All up alive.
Threescore trail-runners, worn from the go,
To prove North America’s overthrow
But, by the Trail-God’s providence, winter they did not catch,
No need to skip trail, or light a match!
A staff and a ribeye steak
For Mayor’s sake!
If you won’t give me one,
I’ll take two,
The better for me,
And the worse for you.
A rope, a rope, to hang my food bag,
A block of cheese to make me gag,
A can of beer to wash it down,
And a jolly good fire to signal town.
Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! Make the bells ring!
Holloa, boys! holloa boys! It’s a thru-hiker thing!
Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!
 

Check and mate.  Needless to say, I win with the final word of trail trash talk. Sorry, Dale.

As far as the day went, I’m not sure anything has sunk in just yet. I was hiking a little before 6 am. Our shuttle was scheduled for 2 pm, but I wasn’t taking any chances with unforeseeable obstacles or setbacks. This ended up being the first morning I left before Jetpack.

FINAL PUSH

The trail was easy – besides the nonstop foot chewing rocks.  There was 500 feet of nearly unnoticeable elevation gain with almost no shade (besides a couple trees you could count on one hand), as well as the shadows cast by deep washes when the sun was at the right angles.  I hit it hard and didn’t stop. My feet hurt terribly, but I ignored them. There was only the destination.

I wish I could say there was some great struggle on this final day.  Some last and vast obstacle to overcome… but there wasn’t. We’d set ourselves up perfectly to coast across the finish line.  The weather was on our side.  The elevations were on our side. The temperatures were on our side – albeit as hot as yesterday! And our bodies were still well oiled high functioning machines.

A Team

When I’d gone nearly 13 miles and was just about a mile and a half from the border, it was only 9:50 am. I sat down in the middle of the trail, opened up my umbrella, pulled out the last of my snacks… and waited. I didn’t know what order my friends would arrive, but I knew I wasn’t going to walk to the border without Jetpack. We’d come too far together not to reach the end as a team.

This hike was funny in that regard. Jetpack and I hiked with or around each other for nearly 2,700 miles of this trail. However, the interesting thing is… during no other thru-hike have either of us consistently spent so much time hiking alone or being alone. Jetpack and I traveled down almost this entire trail together, yet separate. We found a perfect balance of companionship and individual solitude that epitomized the “Hike Your Own Hike” creed. Although we always caught up with each other in every town, went out to eat together for nearly every town meal, and split rooms every time we got one – we probably only spent 40% of the time actually camping together on trail, and less than 5% of the time hiking together. For the most part we always did our own thing, at our own pace, and never smothered or tried to influence the other’s hike. Even still, regardless of where either of us was at any given time, we always had each other’s back, and we were always there for one another if we needed it: Whether it be moral support, working out logistics on trail or in town, running errands, getting food for the other (if one of us was going to be too late getting into town), doing camp chores, coordinating hiker get togethers, sharing food, securing rides, shuttles, and hitches, sharing information and knowledge, or otherwise making this journey as safe, fun, and smooth as it could possibly be. Jetpack was often the glue that held everyone and everything together out there. She was the woman with a plan. The bottom line is… I couldn’t have asked for a better trail wing-man/wing-woman on this hike!


THE BORDER

After close to an hour and a half of sitting on the dusty trail, flicking tiny black ants off my legs – Jetpack was the first to arrive. We walked the last mile and a half together. This entailed losing the trail in the desert scrub twice. Then, having to bushwhack our way through scratchy vegetation in order to pick it back up again. Fitting and typical for the end of this trail. 

We both arrived at the border a little before noon,  walking up to the destitute and decrepit barbed wire fence tracing the invisible line between the United States and Mexico.  I swung a leg through and tapped my foot on the other side.  “Tag. You’re it, Mexico,” I said with sardonic finality. Jetpack shuffled a foot through as well. Next, we hugged and congratulated each other. We took some pictures with the monument marking the Southern Terminus of the trail. Then, we sat down under the small shaded pavilion and waited for our other two companions… as well as a new life to sweep us away. 

Katana

Words really do escape me today. There was no real up-welling of emotion or profound revelation. This hike was difficult, but I didn’t really struggle on it. I can’t clearly recall any single moments when I felt “all was lost.” And to be perfectly frank, doing an entire thru-hike without a dog was orders of magnitude easier than doing one with a dog. You might think this is an argument or a good reason not to bring one,  but I would disagree. The “fulfillment factor” is much higher with a dog. The side adventures are much more frequent with a dog.  Choosing to bring a dog along is in essence choosing to do what is difficult and exponentially more meaningful (for me at least), rather than expedient and straightforward. I could have never hiked this trail with the ferocity I did if Katana was with me. If I hadn’t hiked as hard as I did,  I wouldn’t have made it through Colorado before the snow… again. So I have no regrets about how I hiked the trail this time around, despite how much I missed the Little Dog.

PENDING THOUGHTS

I suppose I’ll have more to say when all of this settles and digests a little more.  I’ll have at least two more posts detailing the journey back from the border and home, as well as post trail thoughts, philosophies, and mental well being – very soon.  I’m feeling somberly content at the moment. I think to close this journal, I will reflect on the only real revelation I had this morning during the final walk…

The first time I did a long trail, I did it because I felt my life was lacking something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I felt lost. In the process, I found myself, as well as much – much more.

The second time I did a long trail, I did it in an effort to recapture what I had felt on the first long trail. This was folly, and a lesson unto itself – not to begin something with concrete presupposed expectations. However, I didn’t come away with nothing.

To Be Continued

Every long trail I’ve done since the second one, I’ve done for the pure adventure, self discovery, and the experience itself. I don’t know that I’m actively searching for anything anymore, but I’m continually finding things I didn’t know were out there to be found. I can only assume there are countless more waiting to be discovered – within and without. I have a homesickness for places I’ve never been, and I’m perfectly content with reaching them one step at a time. 

(First week on the AT vs last day of Triple Crown pursuit)

You can read my current and past posts, and see my photos by clicking this link and going to Boundlessroamad.com

Go to More about Katana

Go to CDT Day 1

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26 Comments

  1. Thanks Kyle. Congratulations. You are a deep thinker and I loved every word and will miss the updates. Thanks for taking the time to keep the journal. Must be hard work.

  2. Congratulations! I have read your books and followed your blogs from the beginning. Your writings help us vicariously live out the journeys with you! Can’t wait for your next book!

  3. Congratulations!!! I have been on parental leave since March, and have been reading posts on your website almost every night (some nights it doesn’t happen, life with at 7 month old and 19 month old). You have a great writing style, and your posts have provided motivation for me when pushing 80 lbs of stroller + babies up and over hills in my home province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

  4. You are an inspiration, Congratulations! Thank you for sharing your adventure, wisdom and enthusiasm these past few years. Your poem is fantastic and captures your spirit so well.

  5. Congratulations! Thanks for sharing the journey. It was like reading a chapter of a book every day. Met you and Katana at Florida Trail/Billy Goat day, and have been following you since. Looking forward to the next journey. Bearcharmer

  6. Congrats to you and Jetpack reaching your goal and your achieving Triple Crown status! An amazing lifetime achievement. It goes without saying I along with everyone will miss your daily blog. Hoping there will be another grand plan in the future.

  7. Congratulations! while I only met you for brief moment in Leadville (I hiked from Kenosha Pass to Leadville) and had the pleasure of dinning with you, it was fun to read your journey. It was especially exciting to read the days when you mentioned Swift as she is my daughter. Fun fact 11/5 holds a special place for us in history as that’s the day she entered the world. Congrats to you and Jetpack once again.

  8. Congratulations. Thanks for letting us tag along on your adventures. I’ll miss the daily trail updates but probably not as much as you’ll miss Jetpack. Congrats to her as well. Give CatFox a scratch on the head for me. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

  9. Congratulations my friend!!!! First thought when I see you standing at the southern most Terminal on such a beautiful day is Well, I came this far, let’s turn around and do it again. Your truly living your dream..!! Thanks for sharing all 3 of your triple crown hikes!!!

  10. Another fun fact about your completion date: You said you have done 11K miles in 5 years, matches up with 11/5.

  11. Congratulations! I am going to miss you in my inbox. Enjoy your homecoming and reunion with Katana. Until the next one…..

  12. Your an Inspiration Mayor. I have enjoyed following your trails immensely! Congrats on the Triple Crown! One hell of an achievement. Can’t wait to hear what’s coming up next! Brad

  13. Way to go you hiking machine!
    Arizona trail, North Country trail, Natchez Trace, or American Discovery Trail all await!

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