T minus 7 days. It’s Money Time

Maggie wasn’t happy she wasn’t in yesterday’s photo, so here’s a beauty of her in feral condition. It’s what thru-hikers look like after a month on the trail. Going to miss that pumpkin head while I’m walking.

Scrambling like crazy.  Gear is finally checked and checked again and checked again. 

Shed tears as I said, “Good-bye” this afternoon. Incredible people I worked with at Walkerville Public Schools. It was a fantastic 21-year run. 

My gear list is up at The Trek. Check it out. No dollar information going up from me. No way I’m telling what the prep for this thing cost. Still a bit heavy, but hopefully I’ll drop the spikes quickly and be able to let go of the fleece. Spice kit is probably a bit much. It will drop weight and I’ll see what I want to replace. I was surprised at how much my rain jacket weighed. Everyone of those little things adds up to a lot of weight.

I mailed my return permit for Yellowstone back with the required signature.

Threw some tortillas into the last two mail drop boxes to be sealed. Tortillas are amazingly compact and last a long time without spoiling. Boxes through south Colorado are sealed and addressed. Who knows what happens after that. 

Tomorrow we hit the Badger, a car ferry in Ludington, to head over to Manitowoc and the start of the drive west to Montana.

It’s money time. 

Kindness matters

Truckin’ on



Some Friends Wanted Addresses

HERE THEY ARE. Finally, I know.

CDT Spreadsheet Data

This is a link to a spreadsheet with my estimated mileage, days, date, and address data. If you’re going to send a package or letter, please look here to see how it should be addressed. All addresses are United States Postal Services (USPS) unless marked as United Parcel Service (UPS). The spread sheet will be updated with an ACTUAL DATE as I move along the trail. I will not be changing the estimated date column or anything to do with the daily mileage. Not messing with the formulas while on my phone.

Zero Days

When there’s no walking scheduled for the day, it’s called a ZERO. Usually, there’s a lot of walking around town involved, but no trail miles. I’ve only scheduled one zero at East Glacier at the end of the first week. I’ll take another 10 to 30 zeroes or nearos (close to zero trail miles) to rest and recuperate, but I’m waiting to decide on when while I’m walking. The days off could drastically affect the Estimated Arrival date, so watch the actual date for the best idea of how things are going.

Mail Drops

I’m so sick of boxes and maps. I’ve never put together as long a hike as this one, so I’m figuring it out as I go. Everything is boxed through south Colorado. I’m hoping Michelle will get me through the rest of the way. I’ve put together meals and have items laid out, but I don’t have a great idea of how much I’m going to be eating or how fast I’ll be able to move. She’ll be able to shove stuff in a box along with the next set of maps. Mistakes have been made I’m sure, but I’m just itching to get to the trail.


I haven’t been able to walk but a few quick 4 to 5 mile jaunts, so I’m not going to be hitting this in quite the shape I was hoping for. Regardless, the day approaches and I’ve gone so far down this path, there’s no looking or wishing for anything else now. It is what it is.

Kindness matters

Truckin’ on


Ask the Tree. Vol. #2

I’m often asked, “How can I send you something on the trail?” Seeing as it’s come up a couple of times, I thought it would be a perfect question to answer for the second round of Ask the Tree

How do I send you something on the trail? 
What are good things to send?                 How will I know if you got it?

I’ll be picking up packages from post offices along the trail. A PO will hold a package for 15 days if it’s sent General Delivery. 

Address all packages or letters like this:

Michael Sweet

General Delivery

Town, State, Zip Code

In the bottom left corner of any boxes or letters write:

Hold for CDT hiker 

ETA: (date)

Okay, so now you’re asking where are these places and when are you going to get there? Those are really good questions for Vol. #3 of Ask the Tree. 

What could I send? 

Here’s an article from a website I occasionally contribute writing to titled Top 10 Items Thru-Hikers Want in a Mail drop. I’m way too lazy to not to take advantage of that already being written. 

How will I know if you got it? 

  1. SEND IT PRIORITY MAIL. I realize it’s more expensive, but if you want to make sure I get it, it’s the only way to do it. 
  2. Let me know it’s coming, so I can ask for it.
  3. Put candy canes on it. Seriously. General delivery mail can sometimes overwhelm a small PO. Making a letter or a box stand out helps it get into my hands. My daughter, Maggie, will be drawing candy canes on all my boxes. That way when I ask for my mail by name, I can add in that it has candy canes on it. 
  4. Make it freaking fantastic. Then I’ll write about how awesome it was, and if you’re following this blog like you’re supposed to be, you’ll then read about it. Seriously, I have a plan to track everyone that helps/contributes/comes in contact with me along the way, so I can communicate with them about how my trek ends up. 

So that’s how to send it, what to send, and if I got it. My plan for the weekend is to finish up most of my own boxes, so I’ll be able to set-up a blog post soon with actual addresses and estimated dates of arrival along the trail. 

Stay tuned for places named Sula, Leadore, Dubois, Encampment, South Pass City, Pinedale, and Rawlins. 

And as always from now on, if you have some questions, SEND’EM TO ME. 

Kindness matters

Truckin’ on


T minus 20 days. What am I doing?

Packing Resupply Boxes

Leaving home and job aside, the hardest prep part of getting ready for the Continental Divide Trail is having an exceedingly limited sense of how long any section of the trail is going to take me to walk. Because of that conundrum, planning any mail drops takes awhile, and even then I’m not sure whether I’m even close to what I need.

I just keep making the best guess I can and throwing beans and rice or noodles into a box. Really, I worked a bit harder at it than that. Bags of dinners are set up for four days (beans and rice), three days (Thai noodles) or two days (curried couscous). Beans and rice has dried jalepenos, onions, kale, tomatoes, and Fritos with it. Thai noodles have soy sauce, sriracha sauce, peanut butter, dried vegetables, dried cherries, oil, and peanuts. The couscous contains curry, onion, and garlic powders along with oil and dried vegetables. The number of days in the meals was established by the retail packaging of the beans and noodles. I didn’t want to break that packaging apart, so I’m rolling with it. Couscous comes in a 16oz box and it can be broken apart anyway I want. Most of the time using 4, 3, and 2 I can hit the right number of dinners I’m guessing at for the resupply.

After I get the dinners set, I throw in three-day bags of oatmeal or Grapenuts. Whole powdered milk and dried cranberries round breakfast out. I like to start the day with a bar of some kind, so I’m not waiting around. Getting miles early in the day works best for me. Larabars are my favorite right now because they contain just a few ingredients. Eat one of those along with a Carnation instant breakfast, and I’m good to go for the first 90 minutes. If I’m eating oats, I’ll soak them along with the dried berries for an hour in a plastic peanut butter jar. Cold soaked oats with powdered whole milk are pretty good. Soaked oats without the milk are only pretty good when you’re really hungry.

Lunch is almost always a tortilla with peanut butter or humus. I like chips, trail mix, hard candy, cookies, pretzel pieces, and almost anything else for snacks. Just have to make it fir in the box. Seriously, though. How do I plan for a 120 mile walk without knowing much about the terrain or how my body is going to react to the miles? I’m not sure. Guess high and the pack is heavy. Guess low and I’ll be hungry coming into town.