After three months of nearly non-stop hiking, biking and riding, employees from Honey Stinger, Big Agnes and BAP have completed their “Border to Backyard” quest, covering 740 miles and ascending 145,043 vertical feet along the Continental Divide Trail from Colorado’s southern border to its northern edge. Staff from the sister companies completed the journey in traditional thru-hike fashion, breaking the trip into 24 segments that ranged from 9 to 84 miles.
“Despite countless hours of planning and organizing, the rewards have been incredible,” said Garett Mariano, marketing director at Big Agnes. “Our team worked together and overcame huge obstacles from forest fires to pushing bikes over 13,000-foot peaks. We’re a stronger team that has a new understanding and respect for each other.”
The journey began on June 11 at the New Mexico-Colorado border and ended on September 13 at the Wyoming border. All of the companies’ 120 employees were given the opportunity to participate, on paid volunteer time, and over 70 took part in the adventure.
“The CDT sits a few miles from our office in Steamboat and we wanted to celebrate a trail that our employees use year-round for hiking, running, skiing and mountain biking,” said Bill Gamber, Big Agnes president and co-founder. “This was the ideal year to get our staff on the trail. We wanted a fun way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the CDT and the 50TH anniversary of the National Scenic Trails Act.”
Last year, Big Agnes adopted 75 miles of the CDT and introduced the 1101 line of sleeping bags. A portion of the proceeds from the sleeping bags will be donated to the Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC), the nonprofit group that helps to promote and protect the trail. The brand has pledged more than $25,000 to the organization, which will help the CDTC reroute a 14-mile section of the CDT from roadway to single-track along HWY 14 and 40 near Rabbit Ears Pass, Colo.
The brands will continue to raise awareness for the CDTC and the 40th anniversary of the CDT at Outdoor Retailer taking place at the Denver Convention Center in November.
The following are a few fun statistics from the trail.
Number of participating employees: 70
Friends, family and others who joined: 17 people, 3 dogs, 2 horse, 1 Mule
Age Range of Participants: 11 to 70
Number of car issues: 2 dead batteries, 1 set of keys locked in the car, 3 flat tires
Total Colorado Vertical climbed: 145,615 feet (equivalent to more than 5 Everest summits from sea level)
Number of Bike Mechanicals: 5
Injuries: Sunburns, saddle sores, funky feet, sore shoulders & countless blisters
Broken camp trowels: 3
Fourteeners Summited: Three fourteeners summited. Two of them on the last day of the Summer Outdoor Retailer Show
Other notable mentions: The trip included nursing mothers, first time backpackers and bikepackers, veteran thru-hikers, and people recovering from knee surgeries, hip replacements, concussions, and broken wrists. None of which occurred on trail.