Middle Fork Little Snake River(1516.7) to N Fork Little Snake River(1542.5) 25.8 Miles
Total Miles: 1503.6
Elevation: 10,309 feet
I just can’t seem to get to bed early these days. I fell asleep while I was writing my blog last night. I woke up after forty five minutes and finished it up. I was very groggy when my alarm went off this morning. I thought about sleeping in, but decided against it. Yesterday’s miles took longer than I expected and I wasn’t sure how today would go. On paper it looked like an easy day, but I have learned the hard way that on the CDT that isn’t always the case. I started hiking a little after six o’clock. I only had about nine miles before I crossed into Wyoming. I wish that I could say that I was done with Colorado, but I have to come back after I get to Canada. I have about 100 missed miles I have to hike. I saw more wildlife this morning than I have in the last few weeks combined. One of the biggest elk I have ever seen ambled across the trail within feet of me. He was absolutely massive. I saw some mule deer as well as regular deer. I think I saw so many creatures because I’ve dropped down in elevation. I’m no longer hiking above 11,000 feet on a consistent basis. Ever since I dropped in elevation the mosquitos have been horrendous. I’m not sure if it is because of the lower altitude or if it is just because I’m hiking in marshier areas. The last several miles I hiked in Colorado were all on forest service roads. Just before I hit the border I had to deal with lots of blow downs. Unfortunately, the blow downs continued well after crossing the border. Most of Wyoming so far has contained downed trees. With my bum knee it made for slow hiking.
Rocky forest service roads
I was super stoked to cross the border. Even though I have already hiked several hundred miles of Wyoming this felt like a big accomplishment. When I was here last month it felt like I had cheated. I hadn’t hiked into Wyoming, I had driven in.
Crossing state lines
Wyoming license plate
I took a nice long break at the border. Since nobody else was around I was forced to use the timer feature on my camera. I think I managed to get a fairly good picture. My early morning miles went by quickly. By noon I had managed to hike 12 miles. I only had to hike 25 miles today to set myself up to meet my mom and dad early tomorrow. I thought I would get into camp super early. However, the weather had a different plan for me today. It went from blazing hot to wet and freezing in about ten minutes. One minute the sun was shining the next it was storming. I had stopped to take a break and out of nowhere a severe thunderstorm blew in. I barely had time to put my rain jacket on. I didn’t get my rain pants out of my pack in time. The storm included hail the size of marbles. At first I tried to hike through it, but the hail was coming down so hard it hurt. I took cover under some pine trees to try to wait out the worst of it. When the lightning got too close for comfort I decided to start moving. I had a really scary five minutes. Between the hail and lightning I was glad that I wasn’t up above tree line.
Remnants of hail on the trail
The rest of the day was spent hiking in and out of severe weather. Hiking was really slow going. The trail was nonexistent. I was following cairns and trail posts through heavy rain. Having to hike cross country with very few trail markers was time consuming and difficult. The heavy rain made it almost impossible. I needed to get my phone out several times to check to see where the trail went. Touch screen phones, rain, and wet fingers do not play nicely together. I had a difficult time just getting my screen to open to view my Guthook app. Needless to say, I wasn’t exactly taking pictures.
Brief break in the rain
The last few miles of the day remained dry. I was glad to have my rain jacket and rain pants dry out before I stopped to make camp. I found a sheltered spot located four miles from the trailhead I needed to meet my parents at in the morning. There was zero chance of cowboy camping tonight. The clouds were once again building up around me and they were rumbling. I set up quickly and then started cooking dinner. My hiking appetite has returned with vengeance. Anytime I was above 11,500 feet I didn’t have much of an appetite. Since returning to 10,000 feet I have been eating a ton. I managed to clean out my food bag and will hike out in the morning with nothing to eat. I’m actually excited. I planned food for this section just right.
View from camp
“Success is a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don’t quit when you’re tired. You quit when the gorilla is tired.”
– Robert Strauss