He's back at it!

People who know me know that I belong on the Trail. I've thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail (twice),the Pacific Crest Trail and the mighty Continental Divide Trail. I've hiked many of the long trails here in Michigan including being the first to hike both the Ironwood Trail and the Great Lake To Lake Trail. In 2016, I hiked the Israel National Trail and the Golan Heights Trail. My next goal is to be the first person ever to hike the Baja Divide Trail.

The purpose of this blog is to keep anyone who is interested informed of my progress and to encourage those who are able to support me in this endeavor.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Life on the Trail

As I open my eyes early in the morning, I can see that it's just starting to get light. I can hear birds chirping in the distance. What a wonderful way to wake OH MY GOD MY FEET HURT. Still lots of blisters and swelling. And it's freezing outside. Literally, freezing... My water bottles are frozen and SO ARE MY SHOES. While I'm glad to be on the trail, I do not look forward to fording the freezing waters of the Gila River another thousand times today. 

Yes, it's a cold morning and my feet hurt but there is no where else I'd rather be. This is the middle fork of the Gila River. The land of the Warm Springs Apache - the Burning Eye People. Geronimo was born here and his birth place is a sacred thing to the Chiricahua. I don't think they like us being here. I can feel the spirits of Apache warriors looking down from the high cliff walls. 

At this point, we're still 3 or 4 days out from our next stop: Pie Town, NM. We'll pick up our resupply boxes and rest up a bit. I can't wait to get there. I need the rest. My body is pretty beat up. This trail is much more difficult than either the Pacific Crest Trail or the Appalachian Trail. Navigation continues to be a challenge.  Water sources are still very far apart and a couple of times, they have been bone dry when we finally found them. 

Over the next couple of weeks, I'll pass through Grants, NM and Cuba, NM on my way up into the south San Juan Mountains of Colorado. That will be a whole different set of challenges: snow, altitude, heavy gear and a barely defined trail. 

I'm so grateful to everyone who has helped me get to this point: Lynnae and Will in Mimbres, Nita at the Toaster House in Pie Town, the men from the Forest Service who work the fire lookout towers: Phil, John and Dave. And, of course, all my friends at Honor Point, Running Fit, Moosejaw, Fitbit, Stormy Kromer and the Burning Boots Trail Club. 

Please leave a comment and stay tuned for more soon...




Hydration is so important. I need about one liter for every 5 miles I hike. 

I think of my friend Astro every step of the way. 


Made it to Pie Town. 120 miles in 5 1/2 days. 

Nita has helped hundreds of hikers over the years. 
HillierHikes.com

22 comments:

Kitten said...

Sounds tough.....but incredible! Stay tough and enjoy every moment. You should be closing in on my friend Viking, a 6+ foot tall german. He will keep it interesting!

Chris B said...

Way to go Chris. You got this

Marlyss said...

Fun post! I enjoyed reading and viewing every bit of it! But so sorry to hear about blisters on your feet. I can't imagine hiking long distances with blisters....and your picture with Astro's bandana hurt and warmed my heart all at the same time. I'm so proud of your grit.

Anonymous said...

Hi its Xena Taylor! Sounds like a tough hike! You rest up those legs & feet now! I hope the trail gets kinder to you before the snow sets in!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chris...Jim and I are wishing you safe travels and great times on the trail...keep us posted...love ya, J&P

Anonymous said...

Hi Chris...looks like you're in rough but beautiful country. Be safe, take care and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! Sandy

Schrody said...

The sun? NBD. The water problems? Not a problem. Snakes? We're cool.

But frozen stuff in the morning? Time to use some saltier vocabulary.

Christopher Hillier said...

Josh! I met Viking! He was at Pie Town with me. Forgot you know him. I'll drop your name.

Christopher Hillier said...

Thanks, Marlyss! The feet are bad but everyone out here has some kind of pain. Luckily, blisters are superficial. They will toughen into callouses. The feet, ankles and knees are all structurally sound.

Christopher Hillier said...

Thanks, Xena. I'm in Grants, NM resting my feet as I type this.

Christopher Hillier said...

Thanks, Patti! Miss you guys tonz.

Christopher Hillier said...

Thank you San San!

Christopher Hillier said...

You could handle it, Schrody. You would complain a lot but you could do it.

Traci Rink said...

My brother lived in Durango, Colorado for years. The San Juan's are BEAUTIFUL!! We drove to an old ghost town called Animas Forks high in the mountains. I'm jealous- not of the blisters and the cold- but of the beauty! Be safe.

Brian H. said...

YOU ARE AWESOME! AND, YES, I AM YELLING THIS!!

Christopher Hillier said...

Hi Traci! I'm nervous about the San Juans. I hope the snow isn't too deep!

Christopher Hillier said...

Thank you Brian!

Roberta McCoy said...

Stay tough... I have faith... you are not alone... those of us who could not be there physically are with you in spirit... we are looking forward to more stories and pictures....

Anonymous said...

Safe travels, land strider!

Just an anonymous reader enjoying following along on your journey.

Christopher Hillier said...

Thanks, Roberta. As much as I miss all my friends from work, I 'd rather be out here than in there!

Christopher Hillier said...

Thank you, Anonymous Reader! Stay tuned for more pics and stories soon.

Schrody said...

Of course I would do it, but the conversation on my end would be a long string of expletives, and on your end a list of NASCAR stats. It would be fun.