Great Divide Trail - How did it all begin?


Since 2011 we have been constantly thinking about doing another multiday hiking trip as we did in Lapland (see Nordkallotleden). We lived in Alaska for one year and first thought was to do the trip there since it seemed like the best place on Earth to go for a 1000-km-hiking-adventure. But actually the Last Frontier is very challenging for logistic issues and your wallet.

Since we had the chance to take a 6-month-holiday in Canada this summer, we thought a hiking trip there would be great. After all it’s a new country for both of us. After digging around we found out about the Great Divide Trail (GDT), which is described as a gorgeous and challenging hike through the Canadian Rockies. Sounded awesome!

We have to admit we are not the easiest people to convince about a hiking trail. We have many requirements: the landscape has to be gorgeous, the trail can’t be too full of people and the resupplying mustn’t cost too much. Basically it has to be perfect. There are definitely some cons in the GDT, like you have to pay fees to enter and you have to sleep in campgrounds that you book beforehand. And first we thought it wasn’t for us. But then after checking pictures from the trail and reading some stories of the hikes there we thought it would be worth of the money and effort. We would remember it for the rest of our lives!

The funny thing about the GDT is that it is described as a virtual trail since it doesn’t really exist. It’s a combination of several small trails which are put together BUT not always linked. It means that there is lots of trail finding and bushwalking involved, and that makes it pretty appealing for us.

   Julien studying the Great Divide Trail route


In January 2013 we decided we’re going to hike this trail. It meant we had 4 months to plan it. That included:

• Studying maps and aerial images

• Drawing the trail on GIS software

• Deciding the length of the days and planning the refill

• Building our gear list and optimizing it

• Buying the missing gear

• Planning the logistic (where do we let the car etc…)

It was the first time we planned a trip together. And to make things more challenging, we didn’t have internet at home. But at the end we managed. 

 Great Divide Trail hike early preparation