Beginner Hikes the CDT Day 79-82 July 19-22

Day 79 July 19th it’s better back on the CDT

Overall a better day. It wasn’t the boring road walk that had been experiencing the day prior and the day before getting into Rawlins.

The day didn’t start off fantastic. I hung out in my tent till later because there is a restaurant in town that has the hours posted of 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. I was excited about the opportunity of having a real breakfast before hitting the trail.

Because I didn’t want to be frustrated, I even showed up at ten after 8:00 so that whoever opened the restaurant up would have time to get settled in and all that kind of stuff. But as my luck would have it, I showed up at ten after 8:00 to see that the restaurant was still closed. There was no sign of movement within the restaurant and no cars parked outside.

So I headed down one of the two bed and breakfast, this one is called wild bills. And according to the through hiker app I use, this one has a small store with snacks and such. I met a guy who had hiked the CDT a couple times and decided to live in Atlantic City Wyoming for some reason. He told me the store was good enough to resupply all the way back to Rawlins if I needed to.

I wouldn’t quite go that far because it was basically a bookshelf with some candy bars, some freeze-dried meals, some power bars, and some ramen. I really just needed some snacks and breakfast for the day, so I grabbed the power bar, three candy bars, and some crackers.

There’s another small town that I wouldn’t even call town but a remnants of a town. It’s called South pass City and it was a boomtown during the Gold Rush. They have a little exhibit set up and a small store. The store doesn’t sell much in the way of food, but it does have ice cream and root beer. But just act root beer, but Sprecher Root beer, which is quite good.

So I grabbed a Klondike bar and a root beer and had my second breakfast before hitting the trail again.

I saw the most hikers today that I’ve seen since Grand Lake in Colorado. It was kind of by happenstance but as I was crossing the highway where lots of hikers get a hitch into Lander, there was two hitchhikers there and one getting dropped off from a day in lander. Second later, I bumped into Pepe Le pew again. This time he was so good that he left our campsite this morning got a hitch in the Lander and made it back as I was crossing the highway about five miles from Lander. So if you need more evidence that I’m complete idiot, look no further.

Anyways it was nice to get some elevation back some ups and downs, and most of all trees. The trail was for the most part clearly defined and somewhat interesting.

Tomorrow I’ll hit the Cirque of the towers, which is an alternate on the CDT but is one of the more popular alternates. Frankly don’t know much about it, but I’ve heard it’s spectacular. I’ll do my best to take some pictures and share them.


I’m hoping to make it to Pinedale by Sunday afternoon. I’ll take a light day on Sunday and wait for the post office to open on Monday before hitting the trail again. That’ll make Monday new shoe Monday. Not only new shoes but new inserts as well. These shoes worked out pretty good but I pushed them about 200 miles too far. So at this point they’re completely falling apart and the souls are worn pretty thin.


One of the young kids I met today was named Haystack. He was just getting back from lander and said that he got lucky with his hitch in and out. You told me he started the CDT May 19th which makes him super freaking fast.

I gave him my background while we were walking together and he said something interesting. He said that the trail has never given him any answers, just time to explore questions deeper.

Caveat of that he was only in his late twenties but nonetheless I found it peculiar. Sort of the question I’d like to spend more time talking with him about. First, are you asking the right questions? Second, are you afraid to make an answer?

I like to think I’ve answered some questions out here. I also like to think that I’m good at asking insightful and pointed questions. But I’m also willing to have answers that change. So even if I think I’ve answered the question now circumstances could change or frankly I could just change my mind again later.

I don’t get a lot of these moments on the trail, but there’s been enough of them.

Day 80 July 20th I know my pictures won’t do this justice

Woke up this morning at the normal time did my normal stuff to get ready. Was making very good progress and was feeling pretty good on the trail today. I think I had 14 or 15 miles down by the time I broke for lunch. That’s a good day for me.

After lunch I knew things would get a little bit more interesting. It was going to be a bit more rugged terrain and some climbing and descending. But I heard the views were incredible so I was looking forward to it.

As soon as I was on the Cirque of the Towers alternate I slowed down quite a bit. It was and is incredibly beautiful. Took a bunch of pictures and some videos but I don’t know if it’s going to do it any justice. The conditions were less than optimal. First there was already a ton of snow melt so it was next to impossible to keep my feet dry.

Then came the weather. As soon as I started to climb up the saddle, it started to hail. I’d contemplated camping early because I saw some storm clouds and heard some thunder. I decided to push on.

Not sure my life insurance company would have agreed with my decision making, as the hail got pretty nasty and made the climb much more slippery. I took my time use my tracking poles and try to stay on top of the stones instead of the slippery grass. There were a couple spots where I had to traverse the snow. Not the worst I’ve had to do, but still gets the blood pumping a little bit.

But the payoff was spectacular. The views are simply breathtaking.

You can’t drive here

One of my personal thoughts is that if it’s easy to get there everybody will be there and it won’t be as much fun. This is one of those times where it is not easy to get there and totally worth it.

I know that thought process is biased and unfair because there are a lot of people who wish they could be here and can’t. But frankly as soon as we make it easy to get here we’d ruin it.

Day 81 July 21st so Many great Views

I slept in a bit 5:30ish. I was hoping the sun would come up soon enough to dry out my tent after it rained last night. No such luck, The mountains were blocking the sun. My campsite had a million dollar view. I had a mountain lake, a waterfall and mountains all around me. Majestic is the word I can think of but doesn’t do it justice.

I knew there were some big climbs today and the not so great part about the climbs were there were no switchbacks. I don’t know what it is about some trails deciding not to use switchbacks but it kind of sucks. It sucks up and down.

I think I complained a little bit about my shoes earlier, but they’re completely shot. I’m really just hoping they hold on for the next couple of days. but there’s basically no traction and I’m on the edge of a blowout on each of them. Not the shoes meant to be climbing up steep elevation and scurrying down steep elevation.

But nonetheless that’s what I did today. Some heroes were backpacks. There was also some snow actually quite a bit. One of the ascents had probably a half mile of snow.

The good news about all that climbing and descending was the views were incredible. There were a ton of weekend backpackers out. And it’s a good reason why this place is amazing. It’s not as big as Gila, but packed in a pretty small little area is a ton of majestic mountain lakes surrounded by towering mountains. This would be a perfect three to five day backpacking trip.

Boy scouts

I was walking up one of the saddles and it smelled like cologne. I just couldn’t imagine who would wear cologne while backpacking. But when I got closer I saw a group of teenage boys. I asked if there were any ladies around because it’s smelled like ax body spray.

They claimed it was bug spray and the guy I assumed to be the pack leader said it was just his musty order. I asked if he wanted to smell mine since I hadn’t been in the shower for five days now. He asked where I’d been and I said I’m on the CDT. He quickly told his scouts that I was hardcore.

Another guy asked me where I was headed and I said Canada. He giggled and I told him I only had 1,400 more miles left. I’m not sure he caught on.

Day 82 July 22nd Taking it Easy

I need to be in Pinedale on Monday morning for the post office to open. As I said before it’s new shoe Monday. So there wasn’t any rush to get into town before Sunday.

The route to Pinedale is best accomplished by using some alternate routes to get to a large trailhead that have heard is busy enough to get a hitch into town. Can’t get a hitch there’s a couple people to call that’s supposedly will make the 15 mile drive from town to pick you up.

It’s part of Wyoming is pretty beautiful. There are tons of mountain lakes. They’re kind of cool because sometimes it feels like you’re walking up from underneath the lake. And once I moved out of the Cirque of the Towers area the number of backpackers seem to dwindle. I still did bump into a handful, another group of some sort of adventure kids and a husband and wife who are backpacking around here instead of a John Muir trail. The JMT trail is one of the more popular ones in the United States, but this year there’s so much snow in the Sierras that it’s impassable.

Otherwise like was uneventful. I think I’ve metered my food down just about perfectly. I have two bags of oatmeal, a Clif bar, and a packet of coffee for tomorrow. That should be more than enough for a 10 mile into the trailhead. Once in town I plan to do some serious damage to the local Chinese restaurant.

Thanks again for reading.

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Comments 3

  • Leone Marie Quigley : Jul 25th

    Get those new shoes. Enjoy the majesty God created for all the hikers to see. LYFE Mom

  • Joe Corderman : Jul 25th

    I’ve spent quite a bit of time backpacking in the Winds over the past few years – they are spectacular. You may already have left Pinedale but if not, Wind River Brewing is excellent. I assume you hitched into town from the Pole Creek Trailhead. If you head back out onto the trail from there, you have some great spots coming up as you head north. Unlikely you want to take a little side trip off the CDT, but the Titcomb Basin is special.

  • Christopher : Jul 30th

    Not sure which is more amazing: your photos or knowing there is snow when it is over 100f in most of the country right now


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