Piedra Vista grad completes Continental Divide Trail

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FARMINGTON — Amanda Goldstein continues to push through some of Mother Nature’s toughest terrain, as she recently wrapped up a five-month expedition hiking the Continental Divide Trail.

The Farmington native started the long journey on April 18 just south of Lordsburg, located in southwest New Mexico roughly 95 miles north of the Mexican border.

She then fought through snow, steep slopes and even a swarm of mosquitoes to Glacier National Park, located at the border between northwest Montana and Canada.

After enduring the elements on the 3,100-mile trail, Goldstein completed the hike on Sept. 16.

“I wanted to push the limits of my body,” said Goldstein, who hiked 20 to 30 miles per day on the CDT.

Goldstein said the CDT was a “sketchy” trail to traverse.

She first crossed through the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado in June. Then came the Wind River Range in western Wyoming, where she encountered a “cloud of mosquitoes” from dawn until dusk.

Goldstein said dealing with the mosquitoes tested her sanity, but she kept pushing forward.

After reaching Montana, Goldstein said she saw 13 bears near the trail, including four grizzly bears within a half-mile radius, but they did not approach her. Goldstein said another hiker was a mile ahead of her and managed to scare the bears from the path, so she went on unimpeded.

Goldstein said she teamed up with five other hikers after hitting Montana, but did a large part of the hike on her own.

As Goldstein neared the end of her journey, she ran into yet another obstacle. A wildfire broke out on Aug. 13 and forced Glacier National Park to be evacuated. With her planned route out of the question, Goldstein resorted to an alternate route to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection checkpoint.

As she reached the end point, it started snowing.

“It was a little anticlimactic,” Goldstein said.

Goldstein is no stranger to long-distance hiking.

The 2007 Piedra Vista graduate previously hiked the 2,659-mile Pacific Crest Trail, which stretches from the California/Mexico border to Canada, in 2013.

Goldstein also hiked the 800-mile Arizona Trail, which goes from the Mexican border to the Kaibab Plateau in northern Arizona, in 2015.

Goldstein said hiking those two trails led her to want to go for a third hike of that magnitude, and she eventually found out about the CDT through a friend.

Goldstein, who started backpack hiking with her family during high school, said the CDT had more up-and-down slopes than those other two hikes.

Fresh off her latest challenge, Goldstein will depart for Peru on Nov. 26 for a six-week hiking challenge. There, she will embark on multiple hikes of four to five days apiece.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.

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