A legendary journey: calendar year triple crown

When it was all over, Jeff Garmire couldn’t quite believe he had actually done it.

Around 5 p.m. on Oct. 15, 2016, the 25-year-old Oregon State University graduate found himself standing at the Mexican border somewhere southeast of Lordsburg, New Mexico, where a concrete monument marks the southern terminus of the Continental Divide Trail.

Running along the spine of the Rockies for more than 3,000 miles from Canada to Mexico, the CDT is one of America’s great long trails, along with the 2,600-mile Pacific Crest Trail and the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail.

Fewer than 300 intrepid souls are known to have completed all three routes, an achievement known among long-distance hikers as the Triple Crown.

When he reached out and touched that pillar of concrete, Garmire became just the fifth person to have hiked all three in a single calendar year.

“It was like an out-of-body experience,” Garmire said from a restaurant in El Paso, Texas, where he was killing time before catching a flight that would reunite him with his parents in Vancouver, Washington.

“When I finally saw that monument and touched it … everything went blank and I almost felt more relief than anything.”

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