Conquering the Continental Divide Trail as a Family
Meet the Strawbridge Family. In 2020, they took on the Continental Divide Trail (3100 miles!) as a family! We were so inspired that we wanted to find out more about how they completed this epic adventure and had to share with you all.
Please introduce yourselves! When not trekking- what are you most likely doing?
We are the Strawbridge family, composed of parents Vince and Monica and Aiden (18), June (17), Henry (15), and Georgiana (14). When not on the trail, you can find us trying to learn to love our neighbors as ourselves in the midst of everyday life. You can usually find us involved in school, sports, music, keeping animals, reading, cooking, visual arts, and the lives of our friends and family.
How did you discover Bobo’s?
Bobo’s came on our radar when looking for bars/ snacks for the trail that had more “real food” in them. The organic ingredients, long burning carbohydrates, and less refined sugar were what attracted us. We also liked the way Bobo’s makes efforts to love their community.
Tell us about your Continental Divide Trail experience as a family? What inspired you to take this on?
Having finished the PCT in 2018, we took on the CDT as part of our goal of finishing the triple crown of hiking (AT, PCT, CDT) as a family. We were initially inspired to hike long trails as a family in effort to experience the outdoors for an extended period of time, take on a challenge together, bond as a family unit, find our own way of educating our kids, learning we can do hard things! There was a lot of inspiration!
When did you start and finish the Continental Divide Trail as a family?
June 24, 2020 and November 2, 2020
What were some of the big takeaways from this experience?
Navigating all of our different needs/preferences was a real effort. Functioning as a team is absolutely necessary when trying to do something so big, and sometimes we weren’t all on the same page. Listening to each other, reflecting on our own contributions to problems, asking for forgiveness, and forgiving each other are imperative.
How much time goes into prepping into a trip like this?
A lot! We spend months before hand getting together food and gear, reading about other people’s experiences on the trail, getting used to walking long distances, adjusting schooling schedules, etc. It’s a huge endeavor when so many people are involved. It’s a lot of work.
In your own words, how would you describe your day to day on the trail?
Day to day is pretty predictable on the trail. Even though the terrain and weather are always changing, we stick to a similar schedule most days. We get moving early, eating breakfast on the go. We stop for a long lunch (about 2 hours) where we cook, talk, relax, and recover a little from the morning. We then walk until dusk or as long as everyone is feeling ok. We set up camp, usually have some laughs about the day, sometimes do a high/low of the day for everyone, eat a quick dinner and go to bed early. Throughout the day, we listen to books (some together, some on our own), music, play word games (when we aren’t tired of each other), and just generally find ways to pass the days while walking. There is a lot of time to fill!
How do you prepare nutritionally for these extended trail endeavors?
We have to think a lot about food and nutrition b/c that is our fuel to complete the task! We try to calculate how many calories we will need daily (different for all of us--especially growing teenagers vs. middle aged parents), and put together boxes of food to ship to ourselves that will meet those needs. Since calories aren’t all equal, we try to pay attention to good protein, fat, and long burning carbs. It’s not easy to get the vitamins we need with dehydrated/shelf stable food so we take supplements. In town, we try to eat as many fresh fruits and veggies as we can.
What other foods do you bring with you?
Dehydrated meals, granola, nuts, dried fruit, nut butters, jerky, dried meats, nutritional drink mixes, coffee, teas, condiments, chocolate and candy.
What's your favorite bar and when are you most likely to eat it?
Do you have any other adventures planned?
We are hiking the Appalachian Trail this spring/summer! Hopefully we will then have completed the Triple Crown of long distance hiking together as a family! Follow along on all of our adventures @strawbridgetreks on Instagram.
The Strawbridge Family