Exit Wyoming, Enter Idaho.
My hiking gang and I left Pinedale and we headed back up into the Winds. There was even more beauty waiting for us. We made it up to Titcomb Basin and set up tents in maybe the most beautiful spot in the world.
The next day Knapsack Col was waiting for us in the morning. A col is apparently a pass, and this pass was beautiful. Although this little section is not considered part of the CDT maybe hikers take the detour for a little extra adventure. We had to do some route finding and picked the path without snow. Because it was early in the day the snow was still firm and we were not interested in dealing with all that without snow gear. We picked and chose our way though and managed a safe descent down the other side. If this section has taught me one thing it is that I will need to come back here and explore more in the future.
Because of the wonderful views and steep climb we only managed to get six miles done before lunch. While I didn’t mind the slow morning it definitely put us in a hole. So the afternoon was spent hiking, with no too many breaks. Luckily most of the terrain was in a downhill direction to descend out of the mountain range. I was glad to set up my tent after the long day and recover for tomorrow.
The following day was super cruisey. The only issues were with the mosquitoes. If there was ever a reason for me to wear long sleeves and pants it would be the bugs… luckily I just applied some deet and kept marching.
I set up camp near a NOLS group. We spent the evening exchanging stories of our adventures. Their headquarters is in Lander, WY, so I ran into quite a few of their groups.
I was up early the following day to get into town.
I ran into a couple friends along the way. Once I made it to the hitching point they were already there with their thumbs out. Unfortunately, it took about an hour to get a ride, but we were picked up by a cool local guy who gave us a tour of the area.
The church in Dubois offered hikers and bikers a free place to stay so I jumped on that opportunity. I spread my belongings on the floor of their community room to claim my spot and went to get some food.
I was able to get quite a spread from the grocery store and went back to the church to enjoy it and relax.
As part of the next section of trail we would be spending three nights hiking through Yellowstone National Park. While this is a beautiful place to hike it kind of becomes a pain to deal with permits for the area. We had to plan out our days of travel and then call to get permits for campsites. Most days I barely know where I’m sleeping so planning out four days of hiking comes as a pain.
The following day we called and made reservations and situated permits for the park. I was also excited for my new shoes to arrive. Big day! My friends and I eventually made it back to trail that evening and found a cozy campsite nine miles down trail.
In this area we did begin to see signs of bear. Grizzly and black bears roam this area. I saw some grizzly prints that rivaled my size 12.5 shoes. I am carrying bear spray at this point just in case an encounter goes south. I am not, however, carrying extra pants if I have to use the spray.
After a full day of 28 miles I set up camp at “the parting of the waters.” This spot might be the coolest hydrological feature I’ve seen yet. It is a creek that follows the divide and then splits into the two watersheds. The water on the west side splits into the Pacific Ocean watershed and the other side ends up in the Atlantic. Mind blowing.
The next three days we spent seeing so many wonderful area of Yellowstone. The CDT enters the park in the south and travels along huge lakes, eventually making its way to Old Faithful. The morning before we arrived at Old Faithful seven or so of us thru-hikers were up early to catch a different geyser eruption. Just two miles from where we camped was Lonestar Geyser, and we arrived on scene for the 6:20ish eruption. Luckily many of these geysers are very predictable. We watched the geyser erupt as the sun rose over the eastern horizon. The morning light illuminated the hot geothermal vapors in the air. There was not another tourist in sight, just us crazy thru-hikers.
Soon after we arrived at Old Faithful Lodge for the breakfast buffet, and this became another highlight of the day. A few of us spent the next seven or so hours relaxed around the Old Faithful area. I was even able to meet up with a coworker of mine from Glacier. She graciously helped with my resupply by allowing me to mail her a food box. Thanks, Linda.
Once we made it out of Yellowstone the next day we also soon departed Wyoming and entered Idaho.
Also once the trail left the boundary of Yellowstone the single track quickly transitioned to double track and some sort of old forest road. I do appreciate hiking through national parks because they tend to provide higher-quality trails.
Earlier I decided to take the Mack’s Inn cutoff and left the official CDT to head down via this popular alternate. The main reason for me doing this is to provide an easier resupply as the alternate goes straight through this small town.
I split a campsite with a buddy and I greatly enjoyed the shower. There were about ten hikers in town the next day and eventually once I was stuffed with town food I left to head back up into the hills.
Peace and love,
Pinedale to Mack’s Inn
7/23 – Day 85 – 16.5 miles
7/24 – Day 86 – 23 miles
7/25 – Day 87 – 30 miles
7/26 – Day 88 – 22.5 miles – Dubois, WY
7/27 – Day 89 – 9.5 miles – Dubois, WY
7/28 – Day 90 – 28 miles
7/29 – Day 91 – 31.5 miles – Yellowstone NP
7/30 – Day 92 – 28 miles – Yellowstone NP
7/31 – Day 93 – 14.5 miles – Yellowstone NP
8/1 – Day 94 – 29.5 miles – Mack’s Inn, ID
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