The Great Divide Basin (Final Chapter)

One more day till we’re out of the Basin. One more day till our resupply at South Pass City. Or so we thought!

Sometimes You Gotta Bathe

Ending a day on a relaxing note and starting it on a similar one makes for a pretty “cruizey” attitude. We had one goal on our mind and it was NOT our resupply. Bathing in the Sweetwater River was our goal, and whatever happened after that was all good.

On our way to the river we passed several sign posts for the Oregon, California, and Seminoe Cut-Off Trails.

To think of how over 500,000 pioneers migrated through here, with equipment we wouldn’t even think of using, let alone carry, makes one feel more than a little spoiled. I bet they would have jumped at the opportunity to use something like Guthook.

Changing Terrain

As we traveled through the Basin, we noticed subtle changes as we closed the distance to South Pass City. Hills became more frequent and pronounced. Water became more available. Variety of animal life became more abundant. However, the tread and vegetation remained virtually the same. We were nearing the end of our desert stretch. We still were struggling to make 15 miles a day, but not as much. We were either  getting stronger, or it was just our packs getting lighter.

Our first dip found us soaking our feet in the Harris Slough. We hoped the little fish would nibble at our callused feet. Alas, we had no takers.

Sweetwater River

The sight from the trail of the Sweetwater River is a tease. It’s blazing hot out and you peer upon the luscious winding river below you. When you can take it no longer, the trail drops down to the river, and by a CDT Coalition interpretive kiosk.

Had we been thinking better this would have been the best place to enter the river for a swim, as there was a small beach.

Instead, we went for the Guthook comments under the bridge recommendation. This was a little difficult to get to. However, the soak was well worth it! Believe it or not, we found an even better place to lounge and wait out the heat of the day, less than a mile from the bridge, beside Rock Creek. ( NOBO mile 1702.3 junction to the right and down to the creek.)

Here we would eat the rest our food, leaving a Snicker’s for the next morning to resupply.

When the Road Is Better

Most of the Basin is ATV and ranch roads, however, the CDT makes a turn and sends you on a cross-country bushwack through sage brush and rocks, when there’s a perfectly good dirt road to walk on. We’ve walked on them so far, and we wonder why the change? Perhaps it’s to prepare one for the next leg.

Can you find a post or cairn?

After about an hour of route finding with the sun getting lower, and no possible cleared flat place to camp, we looked for alternatives. We have a Garmin InReach, so it gives us more travel options than Guthook. 3/10ths of a mile away was a road that led to the CDT junction for South Pass City. Miraculously, a well trod game trail we had just come upon led directly to said road. It’s a sign!

Detours Are Good

We walked the road to resupply as late as we dared, as finding a flat, SAFE place off the gravel road would become too difficult.

Under a beautiful sunset and a gusting wind we bedded down, but not before a brilliant change of plans.

Scrolling through our Guthook app, we discovered that just 3 miles off the road we can get a fresh, hot breakfast, and maybe a burger (if we lingered long enough) in Atlantic City. Thus the morning’s destination became Atlantic City and the Miner’s Grubstake.

Atlantic City, a Vortex

Little did we know that Atlantic City was such a vortex. Little did we know how much we needed Atlantic City. So much to say about it, and you can read about it here.

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