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‘My wife thought I was crazy:’ Man hikes entire N.M. stretch of Rio Grande

Las Cruces resident Pete Livingstone hiked more in one month than most people hike in a lifetime.

“As people, we’re all capable of doing more than we think,” Livingstone told ABC-7.

The 54-year-old decided to hike the entire 540-mile-stretch of the Rio Grande in New Mexico, without a complete trail.

“Five hundred or so miles isn’t that far if you just take it in reasonable chunks,” he told ABC-7.

Livingstone said he would hike between 15 and 32 miles a day. Beginning up north at the state line with Colorado, he said his goal was to gather data so the state can provide a thorough trail.

“I realized it’s going to be a few years off,” Livingstone said. “I’m not getting any younger. I want to try this thing now, even though it’s not complete!”

His journey lasted for 26 days. Livingstone slept along the river and purified his own drinking water.

For food?

“I had some great meals at some of the gas station convenience stores,” Livingstone told ABC-7. “Junk food tastes great when you’re hungry.”

Many portions of the trail were very difficult to navigate, with a lot of “bushwhacking,” on his part. At times, he had to hike on a highway because a trail was nonexistent or dangerous to navigate.

“Early on, pretty much every day they were times I thought I wasn’t going to be able to make it,” Livingstone said.

He said he had only a handful of showers and nights in his real bed.

“I think some people thought I was homeless,” the hiker said.

He can still recall his first meal with in-laws in Socorro, New Mexico.

“That was fantastic,” Livingstone said. “I probably ate about twice as much as I normally do.”​

It all led up to an epic moment: His final ascent up Mount Cristo Rey on September 26th. Livingstone told ABC-7 at times, he doubted whether he would finish, but he still put one foot in front of the other.

“If I fail, I tried,” Livingstone said, “In this case, I made it.”

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