CDT Prep – June 14, 2021: Prelim Post-Trail Thoughts

If you read my Fears/Struggles/Cons blog, you know that my biggest fears have to do with what happens post trail. One of the main reasons I decided to hike the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) was the opportunity to make some life changes after finishing. So even though I haven’t hit the trail yet, I have put a decent amount of thought into what I would like after finishing the hike. As it stands right now, the plan is to try to find a job I like – in a place I like – quickly after I finish up the trail (more on this below). I would like to find a place where I can settle down, plant roots, and make a difference. A place where I can find community.

With that being said, I have heard many people talk about wanting to do more long thru hikes after they finish their first one, and a 4-5 month thru hike will give me lots of time to consider what I want after the trail. Thus, I realize my post trail plans could be quite different after finishing the hike. However, I want to throw out where I stand at this point so that it can potentially give people ideas on opportunities I would be interested in post trail, and possibly have something lined up quickly after finishing the trail should I decide this is the route I want to go. 


JOBS

The list below contains some criteria that, if met, would place a job high on my list. If a job fits the center of the Venn diagram below (yellow star), it would also be high on my list. If you know of any jobs I might be interested in, please let me know about them or feel free to provide my resume to the appropriate person. You can view my resume by clicking here. Assuming I finish the whole trail, I likely won’t be available for a job until at least late November. If you think I would be interested in a job that doesn’t quite fit this, don’t hesitate to let me know about it.

  1. Has some sort of connection to mountains, backpacking, photography, or art. 
  2. Close to the mountains. 
  3. Close to the CDT (preferably in WY or MT).
  4. At least a somewhat regular schedule, ideally M-F 9 to 5 type.
  5. Frequent 2 sequential days off work (for short backpacking trips). 
  6. At least a couple weeks worth of time off each year.
  7. Somewhere with a good art scene.
  8. Not in a big city.

PLACES

I have listed some towns/cities below that interest me, along with some pros and cons. I’ll definitely consider places that aren’t on this list, but hopefully this gives you an idea of what I’m looking for. 

Pinedale, WY

Pros: Very close to the Wind River Range; close to the CDT; common resupply point for CDT hikers; would be back in my “home state”; has an outdoor gear shop; housing prices don’t seem to be too bad; might be a good place to get my art in front of tourists if I could figure out how to do so. 
Cons: not sure I would want to go this small; job opportunities limited; doesn’t appear to be much of an art scene. 

Lander, WY

Pros: close to the Wind River Range; close to the CDT; common resupply point for CDT hikers; would be back in my “home state”; has a couple outdoor gear shops; has a couple other places with job opportunities I might be interested in (NOLS, The Nature Conservancy); appears to be somewhat of an art scene; seems to be one of the more affordable housing markets; relatively close to extended family in WY
Cons: no big cons I have thought of at this point

Butte, MT

Pros: one of the most affordable housing markets in this list of places; fairly close to several different mountain ranges; has an outdoor gear store; appears to be somewhat of an art scene; on the larger side of towns I’m interested in, so more job & housing opportunities; 
Cons: not a common resupply stop for CDT hikers; on the larger side of town size I would want; is there a reason housing is so affordable?

Helena, MT

Pros: common resupply stop on CDT; several outdoor gear stores; fairly close to Bob Marshall Wilderness; appears to be somewhat of an art scene; on the larger side of towns I’m interested in, so more job & housing opportunities; 
Cons: on the larger side of town size I would want; housing probably on upper end of what I could afford; 

Pagosa Springs, CO

Pros: close to the San Juan Mountains; has an outdoor gear store; somewhat common resupply stop on CDT; appears to be somewhat of an art scene; great place to get my art in front of tourists. 
Cons: Housing possibly too expensive; on the smaller end of town size I would like; 

Cody, WY

Pros: lots of family friends and extended family live here or nearby; close to Beartooth Mountains and Big Horn Mountains; an hour away from where I lived most of my childhood; familiar with the town; a couple outdoor gear stores; somewhat of an art scene; great place to get art in front of tourists; 
Cons: not very close to CDT

Billings, MT

Pros: close to extended family in Cody, WY; has an REI, as well as another outdoor gear store; close to the Beartooth Mountains; on the lower end of housing prices compared to other places I’m interested in; on the larger side of towns I’m interested in, so more job & housing opportunities;
Cons: bigger city than I would prefer; not close to the CDT; 

Bozeman, MT

Pros: have heard great things about this place; close to the Beartooth Mountains; has an REI along with other outdoor gear stores; other places I would be interested in working at (Oboz, Mystery Ranch, Go Fast Campers); appears to have a pretty good art scene; on the larger side of towns I’m interested in, so more job & housing opportunities; 
Cons: I have no idea how I would afford a house here; not close to the CDT; 

Missoula, MT

Pros: have heard great things about this place; amazing place to live for backpacking; close to several different mountain ranges; has an REI and other outdoor gear stores; appears to have a good art scene; know a couple other backpackers who live here; on the larger side of towns I’m interested in, so more job & housing opportunities; potentially a good place to live to host people about to begin or just finishing the CDT;
Cons: not sure if I could afford to purchase a house;

Park City, UT

Pros: close to the Uinta Mountains; great art scene;
Cons: not very close to the CDT; not sure I could afford to buy a house here;

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