On May 16, Recreation Services and Resources Director Scott Hurst and his son Eric Hurst presented their experience riding the Great Divide together.

According to the Adventure Cycling Association, The Great Divide traditionally rides from Antelope Well, New Mexico up to Jasper National Park, Canada spanning just over 3,000 miles with over 200,000 feet of elevation gain.

The Hursts took a slightly modified trail, pedaling 2,735 miles from the bottom of New Mexico up to Banff, Canada where they met their family for Independence Day. They climbed over 150,000 feet over the 225 hours they spent on their bikes.

During the presentation, they showcased information and pictures from the journey, a similar bike and pack to the ones they used and a table full of equipment they carried.

While traveling, they would camp when they were too far away from a town to have a bed. Occasionally, they could find real campsites but sometimes they would have to “stealth camp.”

Gear carried on the bikes

Gear carried on the bikes Photo credit: Frances Lay

Erik Hurst described that in stealth camping they would find somewhere virtually invisible to passers-by and spend the night there. In the middle of nowhere, they had to find what worked.

“This route is defined by the word, ‘remote,’” according to the Adventure Cycling Association.

Sometimes, the nearest town was over 100 miles away but when they happened to stop in civilization, they would utilize hotels, campsites or Warmshowers.

Warmshowers is a community of hosts who offer a place in their homes for cyclists on tours. Cyclists and hosts are part of the community for life once they pay a one-time fee. As previous hosts, the program was familiar to the Hursts even though they had never been hosted.

Along the route, there were lots of moments that could make unprepared bikers quit, but the Hursts kept going.

“It rained pretty much straight for two weeks or more,” Scott Hurst said.

Scott Hurst recalled that the mud was soupy one day. They were able to keep riding though, so they did.

One of the Hurst's bikes after a muddy ride.

One of the Hurst's bikes after a muddy ride. Photo credit: Scott Hurst

Towards the end of the route, Erik Hurst’s bike stopped pedaling. His freehub, or the pedal power transmitter, had gone out. This led to 20 miles of skating and coasting before Scott Hurst’s wife contacted a local bishop for help.

Scott Hurst concluded the presentation by talking about the last few days of the journey and how they trained. Hurst confirmed that they would both do the 37-day ride again.

“I’ve already been thinking about how to make that happen,” Scott Hurst said.

To learn more about outdoor activity opportunities, check out the Outdoor Resource Center website, or go to their Instagram page.