A continental divide by definition is 'a naturally occurring boundary or ridge separating a continent's river systems.' Running North to South through the Rocky Mountains sits the Continental Divide of the Americas, also known as part of the Great Divide. The Continental Divide separates the water systems associated with the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and it holds great geographic importance to our continent as well as provides us with absolute, geographical beauty. A thread to the seams of country bringing together and forming the American West. In 1805 as the famous Lewis & Clark expedition traversed their way across the country, the group arrived at the formidable ridge-line of the Continental Divide. Much history has happened along the Great Divide, and the divide has proven to be an extraordinary piece to everyone's story who has found themselves along its path.
Speaking of paths, the Continental Divide trail was officially recognized and established by Congress in 1978. Since the establishment of the trail, the CDT has had an extensive history of inadequate funding and lack of public interest. This mixed with an identity crisis that the trail experienced through lack of management, questions of national significance and continued failure of volunteer programs left the fate of the trail in question. Luckily, the glamorous act of thru-hiking started gaining traction on the east and west coasts with the popularity of the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails. Long trails grew public interests and volunteer groups started building long sections of trail on the CDT. Still today, the Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC) is working hard to raise awareness and money to finish the trail.
It is safe to say we decided to hike this trail without knowing all of the above information, but as we plan and learn more we realize that the trail needs hikers just as bad as we need the trail. Next year as we begin our journey up America's "backbone", we hope to join the travelers before us who have made up the trail's story and raise awareness for its future.