Completing the Continental Divide Trail


Last year, my lovely wife and I set out to conquer the Continental Divide trail. This off pavement trail runs from Canada to Mexico and is approximately 2500 miles long with over 400,000 feet of elevation change along it's length. We ordered the maps from the and downloaded the kml files, since our main navigation tool was to be the Topo Maps app on my iPhone.
We started at the border crossing near Roosville, MT, and over the period of two weeks (including many side trips) we made it to our halfway point at Como, CO. It was the most amazing trip that we had taken up to that point in our travels, and we doubted we could top it.
This year, on July 28th we arrived in Demming, NM. We decided to spend a night in a motel since we would be roughing it for a while. The next morning my wife was attacked by this horrible creature right outside our door.

After rescuing her, we headed for our start point for the completion of our adventure at the Antelope Wells, NM border gate.

At this point, one has to backtrack 60 miles over a road that you just traveled, but this is the only way you can say you did the whole trail. Yes, we're
those kind of nerds. By the way, if you decide to do this trip, carry plenty of fuel. Several towns (like Hachita) noted on the map as having gas stations do, but they are closed down. This was common in this area of New Mexico. I took advantage of our first divide crossing to fill up.

We headed north across the desert for Silver City where we could refuel. We took Separ road thru the Cebolla Wilderness. This is another place to carry plenty of fuel and water. The trail leaving Silver City is actually blacktop, and after about 15 miles we came to Pinos Altos. This is a very historic area, and we spent a while poking around there. It has many old adobe structures, including Fort Cobre. It was then time to go north to this:

We set camp here next to the Gila hot springs. It was wonderful, and only $5 per person to camp and soak in the springs.


The next morning we had our coffee, and went to the Gila Cliff Dwellings with are new friend Bernie. He had camped by us, and turned out to be a very well traveled person. Scheryl and I both enjoyed his stories very much.

We were now on the trails and ranch roads of central New Mexico. Due to the increased rainfall this year, everything was an amazing shade of green. We were rained on almost every day during the afternoon, but most of the thunderstorms were short lived.



Woo Hoo! Double Rainbow!

We arrived in Pie Town way after dark and set up camp. Both fuel cans were empty and we were down to 1/4 tank.
The next morning we awoke to do some more exploring.

One thing they don't have in Pie Town? Gasoline pumps. One thing they do have? Pie, and lot's of it. There are two local eateries and both specialize in you guessed it: pie.

We had a great breakfast (including New Mexico Apple Pie) and when we inquired about fuel, we were told it was available 20 miles east, or 20 miles west. We flipped a coin, and headed west to Quemado. Yes we were happy to be there.

It was a good thing we topped everything off because it would be a while before we got another opportunity. The trail broke off the pavement, and took county roads thru several ranches. You go thru several gates with the caveat of leaving them open or shut as you found them.

After many miles of driving thru the desert, we came upon this lying in the road.

I said to myself, "Self, why would someone leave such a thing lying in the road. I think I should investigate!"
It's a good thing we did too. I learned a very valuable lesson about crossing arroyos with culverts. This one was 6 feet in diameter.

I waded in and the mud kept getting deeper. There was also nothing to anchor the winchline to on the other bank.
We tried navigating around the obstacle on other ranch roads, but it was slow going. We kept finding sink holes on the trails. This one may not look like much, but the surface was only six inches thick, and the hole was 4-5 feet deep.

At this point there was no option other than back tracking about 50 miles and taking the highway around.

More to come later!
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New member
Alan, great write up so far and great pics. I wish to one day travel with you on something like this. Love your FJs new look, keep the pics coming!

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