This past week has been incredible! The Wind Rivers! Truly an remarkable wilderness. Dramatic peaks, crazy scrambling over talus and boulder fields, spectacular cirques with bright blue waters, and valleys and parks nestled so comfortably in the colored rock. I hope to encourage everyone who’s willing to get there someday. It’s a magical place.
It didn’t come without a struggle either. We made pretty big miles, 170 in about 6 days. I made the brilliant decision that I didn’t need a rain jacket for this past week of travel, and paid for it. It was a first for me, as a pretty tolerant, cold-weather creature. I actually stopped mid day to pitch my tent and crawl inside my sleeping bag to keep warm. It was only cold rain, nothing I’ve never seen, but perhaps I’ve taken for granted how much the gear saves my life. I always joke about the game I like to play called keep-moving-or-die, but this time, with no break in the rain from 7 am to 1:30 or so, it just didn’t seem like the wisest game to play. Lesson learned. Banjo and I were both just sporting handsome, yellow, vinyl ponchos, the likes of which you can obtain from your local gas station for $2.49. Banjo and I were both being dumb. He passed me in the rain that day and saw me in my tent. I told him I would be fine, just needed to warm up for an hour or two and he tentatively passed on, hoping to keep moving and stay warm. Half an hour later I heard his footsteps return, “Kiddo, I’m being stupid. I’m going to pitch here too.” Misery loves company, its true, and nearly frozen loves it more! We napped and kept in touch through our tent walls for the next few hours and then had a great break in the weather. A reprieve! We both crawled out in our soaking clothes and walked over to the sun spot near us. “We’re going to be ok!” he said. “We’re gonna make it!” I said. And really, the rest was pretty great.
Banjo and I got split up the next day over some trail confusion, but we met up later that night, it was an absolutely glorious hike, and when we got to highway 28, we got picked up by a semi-truck! It was neat! So great to ride with them and learn a lot about the ins and outs of being a trucker. There life is nuts, but so is mine, so we seemed to have a nice understanding.
Another really great thing about these mountains is that I had a three pound bag of cookies to get me through it all! Special thanks to my sweet friends Jocelyn and Mary. Cookies are the way to my heart:) I made Banjo and Stabby both very jealous of my stash. It’s been a great week.
We all had our last night together here in Lander. This town is fun. So many young, adventurous folks talking about climbing and hiking and biking across the country. I got chased down the street by a young man last night, “Wait, excuse me. CDT hiker?” It took us about 10 minutes to realize that in 2013, in Stehekin, WA on the PCT we sat on the same log in the lake on a beautiful day, swimming with other hikers and loving life. The guys and I celebrated connecting our flip and moving on to the flop with some local pints and hot tub time. Then ordered pizza and made root beer floats in order to be true gluttons.
All is well. I am feeling great, and hopeful for a less than 3 day hitch down to Chama!