Embrace the Brutality – the origins

The origins of the phrase “Embrace the Brutality” for the CDT.

R>L, D-low, Disco and myself

Embrace the Brutality

The un-official slogan of the Continental Divide Trail and the title of an excellent documentary by Shane “Jester” O ‘ Donnell.

There have been stories floating around about the origins of this phrase.

A few statements I’ve seen written online:

  •  “Some hiker a few years ago came up with it”
  •  “I think Mags came up with it?”
  • “Wasn’t it Yogi who coined the phrase?”

The truth is that the phrase was coined by Mike “d-low” DiLorenzo back in 2006.

On my own CDT hike back in 2006, I was pretty much drained mentally by the end of my SoBo journey.   The navigation, the being by myself and the wear and tear of just hiking for months on end. It is normal.  But it was tiring.

I called my buddy d-low up from Pie Town, NM.  Having hike the CDT in 2005, he knew what I was going through. We talked for perhaps thirty minutes. I vented, he listened, he offered some advice.

The following day, I checked my email via the Pocket Mail that I was using to write articles at the time.

D-low summed up our conversation and concluded with the statement  “Embrace the brutality”.

I thought this was brilliant.

I cc’d Yogi on my reply.

She loved it.

She used it as the first page of her CDT handbook the following year.

The rest is history…..

Now, there seems to be some confusion over the meaning of this statement.  It is not for bragging rights, or to say how difficult the CDT may be or to make the trail out to be miserable.

It is what a sarcastic, blunt East Coast guy says to another sarcastic, blunt East Coast guy.  Namely: Suck it up. Quit your whining. Take the trail experience for what it is. Enjoy it all.

Or perhaps a bit more gently, when I wrote the meaning previously:  “Embrace the challenges. Embrace the beauty. Embrace the wildness. Embrace all that is so great about the CDT!”

Embrace the Brutality of the CDT…however you may define it.

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