This is the fifth and final interview in a series about preparing for and reflecting on the three long-distance trails that comprise the Triple Crown: the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail.
Kate Yugo finished the Appalachian trail in 2016, the Arizona Trail in 2017, and the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018. She's a travel nurse who works 13-week contracts at different hospitals around the US. She loves her job, which allows her to choose when and where she work and to take time off for thru-hikes. In 2019, Kate is going for her Triple Crown, starting her journey on the Continental Divide Trail in April, and she expects to finish in five or six months. Interview has been edited for clarity.
What are you bringing and why?
I will be using most of the same gear from my other hikes (AT 2016, AZT 2017, PCT 2018), since I know I like it and it works well. I have an Osprey Aura 65 pack, ZPacks Solplex tent, and Enlightened Equipment quilt. I use the Sawyer Squeeze. I tried the Katadyn BeFree on the Arizona Trail, but went back to the Sawyer. You just can't beat being able to attach it to any water bottle.
How do you think the CDT will be different from your other hikes and how are you modifying your gear?
The CDT will definitely be more remote than what I am used to and I am really looking forward to the challenges that will bring. For each trail, I get a few new pieces of gear. For the CDT, I am changing up my cook system by getting the BRS stove and a new titanium pot instead of my old, heavy Jetboil.
What do you anticipate to be the most difficult stretch of the trail and how are you preparing?
The desert will probably be the most difficult portion of the trail due to the long water carries. Prepare? Oh, shoot. I should probably start doing that.
What excites you about your 3L Vecto?
The two openings sound like it will make it easier to fill. Especially in some stagnant water sources that I'm sure I will find on the CDT. I'm also excited about how durable it is since my Platypus bag broke while on the PCT.
How do you handle hygiene on the trail?
I'll rinse off sometimes when I get to water sources, but most of the time you just have to embrace the stank. I keep my hair in braids and only take them out and brush my hair when I get to a shower. For my period I use a DivaCup. No trash to pack out!
Do you have any fears about hiking alone as a woman on the trail?
I have never felt afraid about being a woman on the trail as I am a woman during all other parts of my life as well. I will be carrying bear spray in grizzly territory for protection from the bears
What are the details on your resupply strategy?
I try to send as few resupply boxes as possible. I think part of the fun/challenge is creating a resupply from limited resources. You can end up with some really interesting meals that way!
Any budgeting tips?
The last few years I've only worked about half of each year. The only reason I've been able to do this is because my job allows me to start and stop whenever and that I always live below my means. That means something different to each person so it's hard to give specific advice. Some people can save up for a thru hike and still live how they usually do. Most have to give up things like cable tv, daily coffee, going out to restaurants and bars, and buying new clothes. The best thing you can do is keep track of your spending and then see where your money is going and what you can or cannot cut back on.