Day 69-73 July 9-23th Into Wyoming
Day 69 July 9th starting my Professional Eating Tour
A pretty chill zero. I spent the morning at a pretty cool coffee spot updating my blog. When I got back to the Airbnb room, I made six eggs, four pieces of toast, and four pieces of sausage for my second breakfast. My first breakfast was two old-fashioned donuts and half a box of peanut butter Captain Crunch. I have not been able to keep any weight on and it dropped close to 10% of my body weight. So I’ve decided when I’m in town that I’m going to be a competitive eater.
Lunch consisted of six chili dogs il and almost a whole bag of ruffles, washed down with a one liter bottle of orange soda. For a snack I had eight bakery cookies and a half bag of tortilla chips with queso.
I spent some time at the library working on my blog and taking care of some other stuff. I did a quick walk through the local art fair and then headed to the grocery store for some resupply. I tried to mix things up this week, but really it’s just food.
Day 70 July 10th Heading out of Steamboat Springs
When I got up this morning I finished off my box of peanut butter Captain Crunch and got cleaned up for the day. I headed downstairs to get some coffee and to my surprise the owner had already made me some. So super nice of them.
I made some more toast and ate the rest of the breakfast sausage and got ready to head out. I had to hang around a little bit for the post office to open, but I was second in line when it did. I picked up a box from Alicia and also mailed back my microspikes since I don’t think we’re going to need those anymore. That’s a good thing.
I met a another hiker at the post office named Towhee. A nice young person who is trying to complete the triple crown after hiking the AT two years ago and the PCT last year. They timed it well because I already had a ride lined up and they jumped in on the way out.
Bret, the guy who picked me up a couple days ago, volunteered to bring us back out there. Again, the generosity people is just incredible. He actually saw a couple other hikers when he dropped me off and said, “I think I’m going to go see if they need a ride.”
I’m definitely getting out of the big part of the Rockies and it’s still some up and downs but nothing like what it was the two weeks prior. I was a little slow to get moving and I was a bit stiff, but I still got close to 20 miles in and shut it down pretty early.
I’m 45 miles from the Wyoming border so I should be there in two days.
Day 71 July 11th this part of Colorado is really nice
I slept near the edge of a cliff with a terrific view of the sunrise, and it was warm enough all night to keep my tent open but cool enough to where the mosquitoes disappeared after sundown. All there wasn’t any significant climbs or descents today there was an incredible amount of Mountain Lakes. I think I mentioned before, but I really get a kick out of Mountain Lakes. I think they’re beautiful. I always have the desire to jump into one. But one I know they’re ice cold into another second and get out of that lake I’m going to be attacked by mosquitoes. Someone must it gets to like 95° with a nice breeze to keep bugs away it’s probably not happening on this trip.
There are still plenty of huge snow piles to navigate around. Nothing dangerous to climb over but there definitely was a lot of snow still stuck around. The first half of the day my feet were nice and dry but eventually I got into this large field that was basically a bog. So goodbye dry feet.
I ended up doing around 25 miles and ended up at a national forest campsite. Campsite host was nice enough to give me a free place to pitch by tent, gave me some blueberries, a Costco Gatorade, and piece of pound cake.
I’m excited to be in Wyoming tomorrow.
My wife doesn’t like to admit it, but one of her true talents is writing funny and endearing poems. Every year during Christmas when the kids still believed in Santa Claus, she was single-handedly responsible for the elf on the shelf. And every day between December 1st and Christmas Day, Alicia would write a different poem about whatever hijinks our elf was up to. It would take me weeks to do one, but Alicia could crank them out in an hour right before bed.
Not only would it be a good poem but she would change her handwriting so it didn’t cop here hers. It seemed like a lot of work, but Alicia loves it and so did the kids.
I felt pretty lucky when I got one in the mail the other day and I got a permission to share it with you.
Your adventure is almost halfway through and I’m so happy and proud of you.
You’re accomplishing something you’ve dreamed of for years.
Exploring challenging trails and quiet frontiers. Not many people have an opportunity like this to spend time reflecting and maybe reminisce. You can look back on the last 45 years, and make the plans to help shift gears. I know you were on the path you are meant to take.
Even when your body starts to slightly ache. Climb those mountains, cross those streams watch every sunrise with its colorful beams. Wake each morning knowing that I’m thinking of you.
And I’ll be here waiting when your hike is through.
Have I mentioned how lucky I am recently?
July 12th day 72 I’m in Wyoming baby!!!
I got up at my normal time and last week or so I’ve been eating breakfast and drinking coffee as soon as I’m done packing up my tent. Right before I was going to split, the host of the campground asked if I want a coffee and I explained I just had some and that my wife and I are coffee snobs. Furthermore my wife had been looking for the best instant coffee and had sent me some recently that was very good. It was easy to mix, had some intricate flavors, and also had a bit of oil to it. Good coffee should have an oil gleam on top of it. No, your Keurig won’t have it. But if you go to the pretentious place down the street where they make their coffee via a pour over, you’ll see it there.
Anyway, the lady really like to talk, and wasn’t one of those people who ever asked you your thoughts or opinions or what you were all about she was always just too busy jabbering. I sort of felt bad for her husband, who in the three or four conversations we had never said a word. The couple was recommended via far out the app the thru-hikers use, but they weren’t my favorite people. I appreciate the blueberries and pound cake, but at least feign interest in what I’m doing and where I’m from.
Another hiker showed up an hour or so after I had made camp, named Yeti. He’s the only Israeli hiker I’ve met and I think probably the only one on the CDT this year. A younger guy with lots of energy and a bit hyper.
The trail this morning was fine; a couple of river crossings which I dread jumping into but also enjoy soaking in. Something about the initial shock involved in the cold water but also the effects of the cold water on my feet are pleasant at this point. I dream sometimes of soaking my feet in an ice bath.
I was making pretty good time and did throughout the day until the end. I was hoping to get in 26 miles and I think I ended up just doing 23. The place I stopped was at a higher elevation and I figured the bugs would be a little bit less and it would be a bit drier.
The exciting news is that I’ve crossed into Wyoming. Colorado was something else. I sort of wish I start over today. I feel like the San Juans are a unanswered email that I clicked open but then right clicked and selected Mark as unread. I know why I left them unread, but that doesn’t make it resr any better. Those first three days in Colorado were extremely challenging, but mostly because of the snow. Wonder how I would do if there was a more reasonable amount of snow in the sand Juans.
Either way, here I am in Wyoming. The plan right now is to hike into Encampment tomorrow, do a little resupply, grab a good meal, and a couple of beers. Then the next day start making my way towards Rawlins Wyoming. I think there’s still some pretty significant snow from here to Rawlins, but I think it’s probably possible at this point. Once in Rawlins I’m going to try to catch a hitch to the other side of the Great basin. That will save me a significant amount of time as I traverse Wyoming.
Attacked by whitetailed ptarmigan
I thought it might be a grouse, but I think it was a whitetailed ptarmigan. I was literally walking along minding my own business, and this thing rushed towards me like I was easy prey. Luckily, I had my trekking pole in hand and poked it a little bit to keep it away from me. I was probably 15 minutes removed from seeing a moose on the trail and doing everything possible to not get anywhere near it. And that moose and her baby were pretty lazy and weren’t apt to move. But this damn bird was apt to chase my ass all down the trail. You can see the video if you’d like; I have no idea why it was so I fired up with me. If my buddy Theo is here probably would have ended its life. My guess is it was protecting its baby, but who knows.
Day 73 July 13th did you know CJ Box used to live in Riverside Wyoming?
Nothing special planned for the day. I had 18 miles to the trailhead, where I was planning on getting a hitch into encampment/riverside. They are Twin towns in Wyoming with a total population of about 150. I was hearing good things about the towns so it’s kind of looking forward to it. One of the funny things about being a thru-hiker is that you don’t mind small towns, you just need them to have everything you need. And encampment/riverside seem like the perfect place. I was plannng on staying at a RV park that offered $15 tent camping and $1 for a shower and towel. Which happened to be right across the street from a bar and a restaurant. Two separate places.
The hike into the trailhead was really wet. It reminded me of the scene in the labyrinth. The movie with David Bowie. If you haven’t seen it I feel bad for you. Anyways, there was the scene where David Bowie, playing the bad guy, was asked what obstacle he should place in the way of the people trying to navigate the labyrinth. And I was thinking that the CDT trail designers were thinking the same thing. In reflection, they started with hey how about a desert, and then they moved on to hey how about 200 plus river crossings and a bunch of riverstones, and then they moved on to hey how about the Rocky Mountains and a ton of snow. And here they said, How about a bunch of bogs? We can make the trail and a stream look identical and if they want to walk around this trail, they’ll end up walking in the marshiest, boggiest crap they’ve ever met.
I might sound a little better, but that’s only after I stepped into a stream I thought was maybe 12 inches deep only to find out it was waist high. I ended up face planting in the mud, and stuff for my pack flew out in front of me. I’m sort of glad no one was there, but at the end of the day I was still covered in mud and a bit angry about the stupid stream.
Anyways I finally made it to the trailhead by about 3:00. A few hours later than I was planning but I also wasn’t expecting the great terrain that I encountered.
There was an older lady in the parking lot with a white panel van, yes the white panel van that you should never enter, especially as a hitchhiker. But nonetheless, I asked her if she was headed toward encampment, entry replied no but I’d love to give you a ride. That’s a sure sign that you’re headed towards your doom. But she had two dogs in the back and a kayak so I assumed I was safe.
On the drive into town she kept asking me questions about where the CDT went and specifics I honestly didn’t know and she even handed me a trail book to look at while I was sitting in a kayak in the back of a white panel van. Her dogs were super friendly and the one in the back played next to me while I tried not to get car sick.
She dropped me off at the one and only gas station in town. I grabbed a quick chocolate milk and walked across the street to the visitor center.
I’m positive you’re not as big of a fan as I am. But if you like reading easy, fun and entertaining books, CJ boxes books about Joe Pickett are perfect. There’s nothing to him, you can read them in one day if you want to, but they’re fun and I really get kick out of them. So when I got into this town and saw a sign of the visitor center that said Joe Pickett, I got really excited.
So I asked the guy man in the visitor center, an older gentleman with a huge belt buckle, a large hat, and a button-down shirt, he told me that he didn’t have anything to say about CJ Box but if I wanted to I could get my book stamped. I was pretty disappointed but nonetheless I listened to the guy Yammer on for a few minutes before I made my way towards the RV park.
The RV park was just about the perfect place to put up a tent. It was close to a highway but not super busy and the lady manning the front desk was nice enough to show me around, and give me a towel for my shower. Once I took care of business, which for thru-hikers is laundry and a shower, I bumped into the owner of the RV park and gave her a hard time about not having any CJ Box books on the shelf above the laundry room. She said she used to have them but people kept stealing them.
She then proceeded to tell me that CJ box used to live about a half mile from here. Not only that, but her husband bought the used truck from the game warden who Joe Pickett was based off of. And then I could see the truck driver on the campsite if I paid attention.
I then went across the street to the local bar, where the bartender told me about a couple of times or CJ Box had visited. She wasn’t much of a storyteller nor very astute at scanning credit cards, but the beers were affordable and a couple next to me were nice enough to buy me two rounds.
I then went to the local restaurant, a burger and pizza place. There I’m at a nice gentleman at the bar with amazing hat who told me he’d had it for the last 20 years. I said that was beyond impressive and that I need you to know where he got it.
The bartender referred to CJ Box as Chuck and said that just what everybody in town knew him. She told stories about how he would put people in his books and everybody would wonder who he was talking about and do their best figure out who the fictional characters were in real life.
It was fun hanging out in the town I don’t even read about and I look forward to spending some more time in Wyoming, exploring some of the areas I’ve run about in the Joe Pickett series.
As always, thanks for reading. I wish I was a better author and A better hiker. But I’m having a great time and I hope you enjoy reading these short insights
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