Long Days Taking in the Enchantment of the Basin
The Great Divide Basin in Wyoming is a section of
trail road that not too many hikers speak highly of. This is due to the heat, exposure, and lack of water while trudging through nearly 120 miles of desert. Temperatures were regularly pushing 90 and shade was less common than a reliable water source. However, the basin was consistently flat which, after hiking through all the mountains of Colorado, was a welcome change of pace. The openness of the land constantly had me in awe with nothing and no one around for miles.
The basin is full of empty space. The dry grass and sagebrush fill the areas in between the dirt. Off in the distance, cows graze, wild horses saunter, and pronghorn antelope practice their daily ritual of running really fast whenever my presence startles them. Closer to my feet, grasshoppers hop, lizards scuttle to safety, and birds get spooked off their perch. The ground jumps to life as I walk through and then settles back down with my passing.
The smell of sage is inhaled with every breath. I taste it on my tongue as if the air were flavored. Days are occupied by silence and solitude while I navigate the basin through the web of dirt roads. Most afternoons bring dark clouds that rumble off in the distance. Fortunately, the lightning is absent, allowing me to walk, without worry, as the tallest thing around for many miles.
By the time I walked into South Pass City, my skin was a few shades darker and my shoes a little more worn. The Wind River Range are the mountains off in the horizon which, until yesterday evening, I had temporarily forgotten about. The desert enchantment is strong and I will be speaking highly of the Basin in the future. Nevertheless, I am itching for dirt and lakes, given these legs remember how to climb mountains.
Thanks for reading! Peace and Love
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