Friday, May 31, 2013

Day 52- Official and Unofficial

We left Rawlings the evening before going south.  We stayed on the official trail which promised to take us pass some saline lakes.  We thought these were them, and perhapes they were, but we didn't sample them.  We had left town with enough water to hike at least 30 miles (I had taken 4 liters from town).
This lake had dried up until all that was left was a blinding patch of salt.  
In addition to 4 liters of water I also packed out a large pizza from Rawlings.  All other lunches this section would be a disappointment     
Shortly after lunch Portait and I left the official trail for an alternate along a dirt road (the trail made a giant C with both ends nearly connecting to the road.  It seemed silly so we didn't do it).  We had 23 miles of road ahead of us--much of it looked just like this.  The wind was still whipping through the Basin, but not as much as it had to the north, so in lulls in the wind Portrait would read aloud making time and miles pass much quicker.  

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Day 51-South Pass City

The Wind River Mountains early in the morning with no clouds blocking them from view.  It was one of our first real clear views of what awaits us in July
Looking south at the Basin.  Neither Portrait and I were sad to be leaving it...although as Portrait pointed out to me, we weren't really leaving it, we had a section of the Basin to do south of Rawlings.  
The Historic Town of South Pass City.  It was a mining town in its day, now it is more of a museum.  We poked about, braving the bitter winds that seemed to be tunneled down the town's main street for awhile.  Then we headed a few miles up the trail to highway 28 and the end of our section.  We hitched into Lander to resupply.  Then we had to get out of Lander...without using our thumbs.  Three hours creeped by and we were picked up by a Texas rancher who had sold out and was on a road trip before heading to South America.  Squashed three into the front of his truck's cab he took us all the way to Rawlings.    

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Day 50- Another Windy Day

We woke up to rain falling on the tent and I had a tick crawling on my neck--I guess I missed one the night before during tick check.  Portrait mumbled something about a zero day in the tent.  I knew he meant "lets stay in the tent until the rain stops."  I was in full agreement.  We didn't get going until 11 o'clock--but our tent was dry.

The rain stopped, but it was a cold and very windy day. We had been catching glimpses of the Wind River Mountains as we hiked through the Basin.  We won't be hiking in those mountains until after finishing CO and hopefully all that snow will have melted by then.  
We stopped for lunch and water near the banks of the river.  We were lucky enough to find a little bit of shelter from the wind.  
Wyoming has impressive clouds and they seem not to rain on us.
One mile off trail is the tiny town of Atlantic City.  We walked down to the village hoping to find a meal, internet, and possibly a place to camp.  Even though the Grubshake was closed the owner welcomed us in and still feed us a hot meal.  They were very friendly and very interested in our hike.  We also found internet, but had to walk back up to the trail to camp--but we did so with full bellies.  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Day 49-Sun Dog

The stunning scenery of the Basin continued.  Without taking pictures of the wild flowers there doesn't seem to be much to see in this area.  It's dull enough that we start to day dream about other, more fun things that we could be doing instead of tick checks and being blown about by the wind.  
At lunch time we stopped by a small pond.  Portrait just happened to notice this shred of rainbow caught in the cloud.  The sun dog looked much more vivid in person.  
Dark clouds moved in late in the afternoon.  It seemed to be raining everywhere in the Basin, but where we were hiking.  The storm did send cold winds our way that had no trouble pushing us around.  
The Oregon Trail passed through the Basin, along with the California Trail 
We set up camp within sight of the Trail markers in an open field at the mercy of the wind.  It turned out the wind wasn't our biggest foe--but instead the rock hard ground.  We bent 4 tent stakes trying to pitch the tent.  

Monday, May 27, 2013

Day 48- Wyoming Wild Flowers

(Post written on May 27, 2013:  I have a back log of blog entries that will be posted when I get to a town with a computern but for now here is a glimps of what Portrait and I have been up to.)
It was a head down and just walk kind of day. I spent most of it looking at my feet as they traveled the jeep road through the Great Divide Basin.  Sometimes my hat brim blocked my field of vision when the wind bent the brim down to my nose. Because I was looking down so much I had the time to notice the wild flowers--and there isn't much else to see in this section. So here they are:  Wyoming Wild Flowers.
Flowers by the A&M Reservoir.  The water tasted like grass, but was clear and cold.   
Wild onions near the stream

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Day 47-The Great Divide Basin

This area of trail is known for the wild mustangs that live there.  Theres three were not so wild, the others kept their distance.  We also saw two coyotes and herds of antelope.  The first antelope we saw, last night, was thrilling, then we saw about 20 more last night, and saw at least a hundred today.  

Our first water source in Wyoming.  Not a bag source either.  It is also where I found my first tick as it crawled along on my shirt.  
Once we were away from the developed areas around Rawlings this was our trail and this was our view.  We had entered the Great Divide Basin:  the mountain range splits creating a flat desert bowl.  By the time we stopped for dinner we had hiked 28 miles so we decided to go for a 30.  We were done our day with sunlight to spare--which was good because we did a tick check.  I had 3 ticks attached to me and Portrait was lucky enough to only have one.  

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Day 46-Rawlings, WY

We left Dever on an 11 o'clock bus and four hours later disembarked in Rawlins, Wyoming.
Our plan was to hitch north to South Pass City, but even though the laws changed back in February, it is still illegal to hitch hike in WY we were informed by the cops (we were also informed we were not allowed to wave at cars).   So we walked north out of Rawlings.

The trail passes through a mix of private and public lands--it was like being back in New Mexico.  

Friday, May 24, 2013

Day 44 & 45- A Flip

After spending the night in Pagosas Springs we got a ride from fellow hiker Beacon who had rented a car and was doing trail magic for hikers.  He took Portrait and I two hours away to Alamosa, CO.  Once there we bought two bus tickets north for the next morning.  We spent the night at the Grizzly Inn and then it was a six hour bus ride to Denver, CO.  While hiking Portrait and I had talked over our options--we weren't enjoying ourselves and we didn't want to spend all our time in Colorado walking on forest roads so we had come up with a plan.  
In Denver we looked around, visiting The Money Museum, buying food from street vendors, and spending time in the Tattered Cover Book store before meeting up with an elementary school friend of mine.  
The view from the Capital Building
Denver, the Mile High City

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Day 43- Pizza in Pagosa!

Still on walking on roads Portrait and I came across this awesome yurt.  It was around noon and the door was padlocked shut or we might have wanted to stay there.  It was day 6 of a 4 day stretch of trail and I was very low on food so we pressed on.  
Once again we're in the snow.  Neither of us bothered to put on the snow shoes for the mile long stretch of snowy bushwacking down to a lake and another road.  For the past couple of days we felt like the CDT hikers of the past--piecing together a route consisting mostly of forest service roads. 
The lake we hiked down to and the road that would take us two miles to the road into town.  
Once again we thought there would be a bridge, but instead it was time to get the feet wet again., but not our shoes. 

Pizza in Pagosa!  After 6 days of some of the hardest hiking I've done pizza was a  must. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Day 42-Road Walkers

After leaving the trail the night before it started to snow--really snow.  We could only imagine what it was like for the hikers up on the mountains.  We had a mostly pleasant walk on a road along a lake.  
It snowed through the night leaving a light dusting of fresh wet snow on our tent.  We hung around camp waiting for the sun to come out and dry our stuff.  

Two sleeping bags and a tent drying in the sunshine while Portrait and I had breakfast--also in the sun.  
Red Mountain:  the site of past gold mines.  Not much gold was found in the area and the prospectors moved further west.  We walked on a road climbing upwards towards a pass and the trail although we had no intention of rejoining the trail.  
Eventually we hit snow on the road.  We put on the snow shoes and walked on.  It wasn't the same type of snow walking that we would have encountered on trail--there were no traverses and no exposure--just heavy wet snow that stuck to the snow shoes, drenched our feet, and weighed us down.   
Near the end of the day the road we had been following started to descend.  In the valley below was a river and on the banks enjoying dinner was a lone black bear.  We were on the road, thirty feet above him, and able to just watch as he foraged.  After a few minutes he did notice us and he took off running for the trees...the same trees we planned to be camping near.  When we finally arrived at the river crossing we found no bridge.  My feet were dry for the first time since we left Chama five days ago.  We took our shoes and socks off and crossed.  We didn't hike much further before finding a treed area to camp in.