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Hiking tips for the Continental Divide Trail or CDT

Millions of people canceled their travel plans in 2021 as Covid-19 halted international travel around the world.

Renee Miller and Tim Basinger were not among them.

A couple is “hikers across the road,” a term describing a style of hike that begins and ends at different locations, often over long distances.

Instead of staying at home, the American couple saw the pandemic as an opportunity to hike the 3149 miles of the Continental Divide Trail that runs across the United States between the borders of Mexico and Canada.

TikTok famous

Miller and Beissinger shared their four-month journey along the trail commonly referred to as CDT on social networking site TikTok, where they now have 1.7 million followers.

“We knew … other tourists would be interested in seeing someone on CDT,” Beissinger said. “But the fact that a lot of people were inspired and motivated to think more about hiking … was just fun and rewarding.”

According to USDACDT covers the entire United States from north to south, passing through famous tourist destinations such as Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park, and along the Rocky Mountains.

Basinger and Miller arrive in Canada after a four-month trek that began at the US-Mexico border.

Courtesy of Timothy Basinger and Rene Miller.

The couple gained popularity on TikTok as subscribers watched the scenic views on CDT and followed their progress.

“We didn’t have to work to show how beautiful it was,” Beissinger said.

The couple said they received messages from people who said they were inspired to go camping – some for the first time.

Beissinger said one man told them he was inspired to go hiking for health reasons.

“He lost 42 pounds,” Beissinger said, adding that no prior experience is required for long-distance hiking. “You just need to have desire and passion.”

Hiking Tips

The couple’s social media pages and online blog, from packing lists to recipes, provide tips for getting ready for your CDT hike.

To ensure they have an adequate supply of food, Miller and Beissinger dehydrated 100 homemade meals and mailed them to the various cities they planned to travel through during the hike.

“It’s really nice to have healthy homemade meals at the end of each day,” said Miller, who said these meals usually contain a combination of carbs, vegetables, beans, and flavors.

Miller and Beissinger shared 15 different recipes on their blog, such as cashew coconut curry and taco pasta, with instructions on how to dehydrate and prepare meals.

Courtesy of Timothy Basinger and Rene Miller.

The couple reused disposable water bottles throughout the hike as they weigh less than aluminum bottles.

Courtesy of Timothy Basinger and Rene Miller.

Crossing the desert, Beissinger recounted how they began to run out of water after running out of a spring they were using.

“After going back 11 miles and really rationing the water and feeling thirsty, we found a nice full cow pot,” he said, referring to the water bottle. “Cow water has never tasted this good.”

Irregularities along the way

Miller and Beissinger’s CDT journey may seem like the perfect way out of the constraints many faced in 2021. But their journey is fraught with challenges, they say.

Due to the fast changing weather, it was often necessary to travel in the rain for hours.

Severe weather conditions were the norm during the couple’s journey from Mexico to Canada.

Courtesy of Timothy Basinger and Rene Miller.

“We had raincoats, raincoats and even gloves, but we always had wet feet,” Miller recalls. “I had blisters on every toe.”

Each pair changed five pairs of shoes in a four-month period, she said.

The equipment, which was brought in to keep them warm and dry throughout the trek, “could have been a matter of life and death when the weather changed,” Beissinger added.

Miller and Beissinger encountered animals ranging from bears to mountain goats during their four-month trek.

Courtesy of Timothy Basinger and Rene Miller.

Traveling during the pandemic also meant that when the couple got off the trail to travel to cities, drivers became more careful about giving them a ride.

“Usually the trail is in the mountains,” Beissinger said. “We usually hitchhike to the city … the cars were maybe more nervous when they stopped and picked us up.”

The couple did not always have access to a shower. They once went 23 days without bathing.

No regrets

Despite the fact that their careers were put on hold and unforeseen problems arose during the trip to CDT, “I never thought about quitting,” Miller said.

“The desire to go home to bed also means the responsibility of not following the trail and being away from this beauty,” Beissinger said.

He said his favorite moments of the hike were when the couple found themselves “off the beaten path.”

The touring duo is currently north of the Arctic Circle in northern Sweden and is experiencing a “polar night” – a phenomenon in which the sun does not rise for weeks or even months, depending on location.


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