You can download the final CDT Yo-Yo schedule in an Excel spreadsheet format if you'd like. Perhaps future thru-hikers (or yo-yoers) may find some use in it.
Post-trip reportLooking back, this schedule wasn't that far off. What's most surprising is that I arrived at the Canadian border exactly when I said I would: July 25. However, because I arrived on that date, I knew I would return to Mexico way before Nov 11, because in my spreadsheet I simply reversed the schedule for my return journey, without taking into account the fact that I would take a shorter route on the way back and not have to deal with any snow. Therefore, I knew that I could shave off 2 weeks on the return. That's exactly what I did: I finished Oct 25.
First draft of CDT Itinerary
I wrote the stuff below about 6 months before the CDT Yo-Yo, just to get some rough ideas. It evolved into the final schedule (see above for link). I'm leaving the stuff below for the curious.
Trying to pick a smart start date for a CDT yo-yo isn't easy. You have a two-month departure window: April 1 to May 30. Leaving in March would put me into Colorado in April, which is so early that I'd be running into more snowboarders than backpackers. Leaving in June has two problems: start with an inferno in New Mexico and end with snow blizzards in Colorado on the return (in November or December).
Leaving in May doesn't give me much room for error or to have fun. Therefore, leaving in April is better because the CDT isn't immune to Murphy's Law.
Instead of posting a firm schedule, these are the rough estimates:
The only date that matters is my goal to get out of Colorado and into New Mexico by Oct 1. With this schedule I'm shooting for exiting Colorado Sept 21. Although I could let that date slide a month, the more I delay, the more challenges I will encounter. I would face snowshoeing through many parts of Colorado. Temps in October are quite cold and the wind bites. The weather can get so bad that hikers have to take a lower route (I don't want to do that) or skip a section (no thanks) or put their lives at risk (now that sounds awesome!).
Those who overanalyze the times will notice some strange things, prompting these Frequently Asked Questions:
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