From the Flat Basin to the High Cirque
North of Rawlins we officially entered the Great Divide Basin. This is a area where the Continental Divide splits, leaving a large basin where the water flows downhill into itself. The area is flat and hot and dry, naturally. I think we all felt like we were back in New Mexico.
With the terrain in my favor I decided to pull a 50-mile day. Of course I slept through both my early alarms so I wasn’t moving until 6:45. Fifteen and a half hours later I finished my 50-mile day in the dark. I definitely do not enjoy night hiking alone but that is what happened since I decided to sleep in.
I had some intentions of trying for back-to-back 50s but that went out the door when I decided to sleep in. “Canada isn’t going anywhere,” is what I told myself. I still managed a 36-mile day. I took a few breaks, but those only happened when I found shade.
This lined me up perfectly to arrive in Atlantic City by lunch the next day. The next two towns were Atlantic City and South Pass City, two old mining towns that continue to exist today as very small towns and tourist destinations.
I arrived in Atlantic City for lunch at the one restaurant in town. I ate the only two vegetarian options on the menu, salad and french fries. Of course I also enjoyed a few adult beverages at the bar. Soon after I continued five more miles to pick up my resupply box in South Pass City.
I spent the rest of my day hanging out in the old mining town. Sort of using the 20-mile day as a rest day. Of course I also took advantage of the power outlets and Wi-Fi in the area.
After a restful sleep I continued on. From South Pass City the trail slowly climbed over the day. The trail now would enter the Wind River Range. It’s a mountain range I have never visited and it’s a section I’ve been looking forward to since mile one. I camped at the beginning of the Cirque of the Towers alternate junction, ready to climb into the famous mountainous region the following day. There are two alternates that I was planning on taking, and these go into two beautiful areas that the “official” CDT would otherwise miss. The first alternate being the Cirque of the Towers and the second being Knapsack Col.
The following day I headed up and into the meat of the Winds. As I climbed and crossed over the first rocky pass the famous Cirque spires came into view as I looked down a huge, rocky valley.
Soon after I descended down to a more popular area, only once I saw many people I realized it was in fact the beginning of the weekend.
Then I climbed up and over Jackass Pass, entering the Cirque of the Towers. Wow. I don’t think I’ve seen anything so beautiful. It is such a unique place. Among the pauses to stop and take in the beauty I was still able to bag a 30-mile day.
The next day I descended off the CDT onto a side trail heading down toward the town of Pinedale. This resupply stop unfortunately includes five miles of sideways hiking, miles that won’t be counted for my northbound trip. Once I made it to the trailhead I was able to quickly get a hitch into Pinedale.
Pinedale is a lovely little Wyoming mountain town. I ended up taking a zero to rest and relax.
Heading out tomorrow to go back up into the Winds!
July 15, day 77: 14 miles
July 16, day 78: 49.5 miles
July 17, day 79: 36.5 miles
July 18, day 80: 18.5 miles, South Pass City
July 19, day 81: 31.5 miles
July 20, day 82: 30.5 miles
July 21, day 83: 29.5 miles
July 22, day 84: zero, Pinedale
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