Rawlins, WY(1629.1) to Side of a grassy knoll(1654.1) 25 Miles
Total Miles: 839.7
Elevation: 6,725 feet
These late nights and early mornings are really starting to take there toll on me. I didn’t get to sleep until after 1 o’clock last night. I had all of my town chores done early, but still had to finish writing my blog. Turtle didn’t resupply until late in the evening and was packing his stuff up late. I somehow never heard my 6:30 alarm go off. I ended up waking up at 7 and went to go get breakfast. Turtle decided to skip breakfast and sleep in. I barely even touched my food. I think the alkaline/saline water from yesterday had my stomach upset. Although it could also have been the AYCE thai buffet. I was packed up and ready to go by 7:45, but had to wait for Turtle to finish getting his stuff together. We ended up hiking out of town a little before 9. Our goal was to hike at least 21 miles today. Anything over that we would consider a bonus.
We started the day by hiking on a paved highway for a few miles. I’m carrying 6 days of food for this leg and started of with a liter of water and a liter of Gatorade. That put make pack weight towards the upper limits of what is comfortable. I carry an ultralight pack from Zpacks that is rated for about 30 pounds. I could really feel the weight while walking in the road. Eventually we left the road and started hiking on a series of dirt roads.
Wyoming has a sense of humor
The dirt roads we hiked on weaves through private property. A land corporation donated a 19 mile easement to the BLM(Bureau of Land Managment). This easement allows CDT hikers to pass through the private property without trespassing. We hiked past a mining or digging operation. It looked like they were digging gravel and dirt for resale.
Different types of dirt/gravel piled up
How I spent most of the day
I have to say that so far the Great Divide Basin is extremely boring. There is not much to look at. I actually enjoyed walking on the dirt roads more than the trail. I say trail, but it was nonexsistant. There weren’t enough cairns or trail markers to follow a path, so I mostly just tried to hike in the right direction. Walking dirt roads is faster and easier. Walking cross country is tedious and takes more concentration.
The real issue today was the wind. It started off nice and gentle, but steadily increased throughout the day. By the time I reached camp we had sustained winds of 20mph, with gusts over 30. It made the hike very difficult. My thighs are more sore than they have been the entire hike. I think the combination over extra pack weight and head winds did me in. I’m pretty sure that the wind carried my moral away as well. There was nowhere to go to get a break from it. Turtle and I couldn’t talk. We had to yell at each other to be heard. As a result we spent most of the day hiking alone. I’m a bit faster than Turtle, so every time I took a break I would wait for him to catch up before hiking out. It made for longer breaks today. I finished listening to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Any time I’m having an off day on trail I listen to Harry Potter. It never fails to lift my spirits.
More scenery from today
After about 11 miles we rejoined the road we started off hiking in this morning. We stayed parallel to it almost all day. Considering our late start we made good miles today. Even with our heavy packs the hiking was easy. I saw a ton of antelope and cattle. The cattle in this area are not skittish. I walked past two different herds that did not move an inch. They just stared at me as I walked past.
I also saw some horses. I wouldn’t say that they were wild horses, they just seemed to be roaming freely. I heard some coyotes, but never saw them. I also saw my first horny toad lizard today. I saw a bunch on the pct and expected to see more in New Mexico, but never did. The little one I saw was moving very slowly. It was pretty chilly out with the wind so I think that affected him.
Horny Toad Lizard
The highlight of my day was definitely dinner. I packed out a foot long subway sandwich. It is the first time of this trail that I have done so. I’ve thought about it several times, but never got around to doing it. What a treat not having to cook dinner tonight. I was able to get to camp, setup, and immediately begin to eat.
Walking in the desert, but surrounded by mountains
It is after 10 and I desperately need a good nights sleep. I’m really hoping the wind decides to cooperate tomorrow. I don’t mind a gentle breeze to help with the temperatures, but anything over 10mph is just uncalled for.
“Life’s ups and downs provide windows of opportunity to determine your values and goals-think of using all obstacles as stepping stones to build the life you want.”