Hungarian girl completes most brutal trail in the United States
September 28. 2022. – 10:39 AM
"It was a 1978 congressional resolution that created the wildest, most spectacular, and longest trail in the United States: the Continental Divide Trail. It winds on for 5,000 kilometres from the New Mexico border to the northern tip of Montana, by the Canadian border, and its brutality quickly earned it the nickname King of Trails."
- writes Nóri Alberti-Hamlet on her social media page, who is probably the first Hungarian to complete the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). She spent three years eyeing the route before taking the plunge.
The long-distance hiker had already completed the famous 4,279-kilometre Pacific Crest Trail in the United States in 2019, which readers may know best from the Jean-Marc Valée film "Wild". As Nóri Alberti-Hamlet adds, the Continental Divide Trail is nothing like the Pacific Crest Trail (except for the style of completion). There, the trail is easy to follow and easy to walk, while the CDT is mostly the opposite: it's hard not to get off the trail with so many tracks left by cows.
The hike begins in the New Mexico desert, where the only water source is a watering trough for cows. This is where hikers have to fetch water from, which is then made drinkable by using a water purifier. In the hot and dry desert, Nóri Alberti-Hamlet got lost and walked into a sandstorm, the wind threw a stone at her knee and temple, and a sudden gust of wind tore her sunshade.
After having walked 1600 km, having half-conquered pneumonia, the hiker was exhausted. As she writes, she cried many times on arrival in Colorado, sometimes because of the unrelenting pain in her body, and at other times because of the indescribable beauty of the scenery.
At 3,000 km Alberti-Hamlet was faced with steep, 4,000-metre hills, unpaved roads, clouds of gadflies and lots of hail, but the hard part of the journey was not physical but mental. How do you relax when you are mentally tired? Would walking enough make one less afraid of bears and lightning? Those were the questions swirling around her mind.
Her last post on Monday reveals that she reached the stone pillar marking the Canadian border, completing the long march of 5,000 kilometres, with a 279650-metre difference in altitude. The trek took 148 days to complete.
"I no longer felt the freezing cold, the hail, or the constant pain that had accompanied me since New Mexico. I laughed. I cried. When I hugged the stone, drenched to the skin, it felt like time stood still and it didn't matter that I was the first Hungarian to cross the finish line. All that mattered was that in that brief, seemingly endless moment, I was one of the happiest Hungarians."
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The translation of this article was made possible by our cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation.