When You Can See the Finish of an Epic Adventure

Ali Becker
Eastern Divide Trail EDT Bikepacking


In just seven days, my partner Mathieu and I will be riding our bikes across the invisible finish line of a 6,000 mile bikepacking trip from the Gaspé Peninsula in Québec, Canada to the southernmost point of Key West, Florida in the USA.

This odyssey was inspired by last year's launch of the Eastern Divide Trail (EDT) on Bikepacking.com, a route which is being touted as the bikepacking version of the Appalachian Trail (AT), and claims to be the longest, contiguous off-road cycling route in the world.

After a particularly rainy spring on the East Coast, we opted to avoid the official start in Cape Spear, Newfoundland and choose an alternate along La TransGaspésie in Quebec — keeping in theme with the EDT by sharing space with the International Appalachian Trail (IAT/SIA). We picked up the official EDT route at the border town of Houlton, Maine.


Eastern Divide Trail EDT Bikepacking


Since then, we've passed through 13 unique and stunning states: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virgina, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and now, four months into the trip, we are wrapping up the final chapter in Florida.

We've traversed hundreds of National Forests and State Parks, witnessed incredible wildlife and experienced breathtaking landscapes. We’ve met kind, curious, and generous people from all walks of life. As two wandering Canadians that stick out like a sore thumb, we've felt a warm welcome everywhere we've been.


Eastern Divide Trail EDT Bikepacking


Like any grand adventure, this trip has turned into a lifestyle, a way of being, punctuated by high-highs and low-lows, with steady undulations of everything in between.

And now, as the final miles lay before us, I find myself blessed with the opportunity to slow down a minute and savor what's left ahead; to rest a bit and give myself the chance to consider how I want to show up for the end of this ride.


Eastern Divide Trail EDT Bikepacking


In the past, my tendency has been to finish grand adventures feeling caught up in planning for what will come after them. In doing so, I lose touch with the majesty that remains right in front of me. I end up sacrificing the present moment, the precious, dwindling time that I've alloted to the current adventure for the illusion of control over the chapter ahead.

Flight plans. Finances. Family obligations. Freelance projects. The list goes on and on, if I let it.

So this time, I told myself, I'd do it differently.

Eastern Divide Trail EDT Bikepacking


I'd take a few days rest before the end of the journey and slow everything down. I’d get off my bike and out of my head and just let myself be still.

Make space to breathe, to stretch, to be — reset my nervous system so that I can round out this trip feeling supple and strong, ready to reintegrate and process.

And what has come up for me in this space of rest — replacing the fear of the future — is an immense feeling of gratitude for the privilege and ability to be on this adventure.

I’m reflecting on all the people who have impacted this trip in some way, shape or form. The ideas, insights, kindness and generosity that others have bestowed on us have inspired me to want to do the same for others.


Eastern Divide Trail EDT Bikepacking


I feel gratitude for …

The unfathomable amount of beautiful places and wild spaces people have had the foresight to fight to preserve — and the continual work that goes into maintaining and expanding them.

The privilege to live in a part of the world where we can safely wander through the woods, ride in city streets, explore new neighborhoods, camp in the abundance of public land, swim in (and drink) clean water and breathe fresh air, all without a feeling of imminent danger.


Eastern Divide Trail EDT Bikepacking


The physical privilege of having a body able to ride a bike, push up hills, brave the high heats and the frigid frosts, see, feel and hear what's happening in our surroundings.

The financial freedom we were able to create to embark on this journey, and the systems that are in place to make it easy to exchange and transfer currency, book hostels and accommodations, order food and purchase groceries.

We live in truly incredible times.


Eastern Divide Trail EDT Bikepacking


And yet, that can easily be lost on us in the daily struggles and humdrum of life; in the anger of injustice, or the sadness of suffering. It can even be lost on us in the middle of our most epic adventures, if we don't nurture its existence.

So this is my pact to myself as I peer over the horizon to the finish line in Key West:

Instead of living on autopilot while the world passes me by, I will do my best to relish in the miracle of being alive here and now, and experience the present moment for the blessing that it is.



Ali Becker is a freelance adventure writer and narrative storyteller who shares compelling conversations about personal transformations, overcoming limitations, wellness education and adventurous situations. You can follow her rambling adventures on social at @thisisalibecker

Trail talk

1 comment

Z Barber

Z Barber

This is great advice, a refreshing way to look at life. Thank you.

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