In 2000, “Flyin'” Brian Robinson became the first person to complete (within one calendar year) what is known as the Triple Crown of long distance hiking – the Appalachian Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail. All told, that’s about 7,000 miles of hiking!
It takes a special kind of person to be a “thru hiker” on any of these long distance trails. It takes planning, dedication, stamina, and just a little bit of craziness – in a good way. Lots of time has to be spent figuring out when to go, how much ground to cover, and where you can resupply. It got me to thinking about what it might be like to thru hike the Great Plains Trail. While the smaller details are yet to be in place, one thing seems clear: The best way to do the entire trek would be to start in the north during late summer an work your way south as fall advances. The weather is the most stable at this time of year and the worst of the heat would be over.
Below is a very rough description of how a thru hike on the GPT might be accomplished.
August: Start at the northern terminus, about mid month, and hike south.
September: Begin the month near the Black Hills, finish the month in Colorado or Kansas.
October: From CO or KS, continue south and end the month in New Mexico.
November: Finish the hike and celebrate on the summit of Guadalupe peak, then head home in plenty of time for a well earned Thanksgiving dinner!
Who will be the first to complete a thru hike of the GPT?
After adding the GPT, what will doing all four of the north/south long distance trails be called? The Quadruple Crown?
I don’t know. Let’s build the trail and find out!