How do you feel after finishing the ADT?
“I’m oversatisfied, it’s an overfilled cup, it’s a special treasure…I’m mostly speechless… I’m not tired, I feel energized. I’m ready to do something else. Ending in California was wonderful. It was fun, we had good weather, it was beautiful.”

On the last day, “the seals were just out not far from shore, flipping around in a big school”

Would you recommend the ADT to others?
“I would recommend this trail to anyone. Even if you can only go for a day or a week or a month. But only if you’re prepared.”

What were some favorite parts?
“Tincup, Colorado, an old mining ghost town where we were welcomed at the annual community potluck was inspiring.”

“Kansas was fantastic, walking along the Santa Fe Trail and imagining being in a wagon. The people there were wonderful, they all knew about their history and wanted to share it with us. And the land took us by surprise, it was not flat, it was beautiful with rolling hills.”

How many shoes did you wear out?
“We lost count after a dozen pairs.”

What will you do next?
“There are too many things to do. There are trails all over. We might give talks at schools. And we need to save some money.”

What will you miss most about the ADT?
“I’ll miss waking up every day knowing I’ll meet someone new around the next corner.”

What was the biggest surprise on the trail?
“How we people from New England, who are so close-knit and who hold so close to ourselves could knock on doors and ask for a place to stay and be greeted with such kindness and generosity.”


How do you feel about finishing?
“It’s very gratifying. It’s a relief to finish, but I’ll miss tomorrow and the next day. The experience sort of rubbed in. It’s kind of sad when it comes to an end. It was amazing.”

What kept you going?
“We didn’t think it was such a feat. We didn’t know until Colorado that we were the first people to backpack it.”

“The adventure is so great that you can’t stop. When you’re hiking the trail, you don’t know what’s around the next bend. You meet new people and you talk to them, and it’s so interesting. Then you don’t know what you’ll see over the next hill, and you don’t want to miss it.”

What was the worst part?
“The worst part was the desert area when we had no water. It was 107 degrees [in Nevada]. The water we were carrying was so hot you could hardly drink it.”

What will you do now?
“It’s sort of a shock because ‘boom’ that was it, now it’s over-what do you do now? Now, when we go home, it’ll be tough. We’ll see the same people. We’re not going to see someone new every day. This trail started us meeting people. We’ll have itchy feet. We’re thinking about the Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, the Appalachian Trail extension up to Canada or down do Florida. We hope we can do them before we’re too old.”

What were some favorite parts?
“Tincup, Colorado, really made quite an impression.”

“The first time we looked down on Lake Tahoe. It was so beautiful. I didn’t have a clue when I was going to see. And then we went down to meet the people” in Tahoe City who’d invited them to dinner.

“This trail opens you up so much to trust people, to talk to people. It was fantastic. That’s why we tell people to go out and do what you want to do if you have a dream. Go for it, don’t wait.”

Coast-to-coast hike background
A day on the trail with the Cottrells
Trail Tales