Friday, July 24, 2015

Day 91: Wyoming!

7/21: mile 1527.2-1551.2
Miles: 24
Total trip miles: 1381.4

It rained all night, nothing flashy or dramatic just a light endless patter. Waking up is easy, packing in the rain always takes a little more motivation. We hit the road, this dirt track has been such a treat to walk on, my feet even stayed mostly dry.

Trees, road and drizzle it seemed fitting that Colorado would kick and scream at least just a little. There was no fanfare, rainbows or unicorns at the border. But there was a sign and a sweet spring and even a little sun at the end of our break. We sat, snacked, pulled faces taking the obligatory border photos and happily said goodbye to Colorado.

Since we never know exact mileage and routes it's only an estimate but we're about halfway now. Colorado was a beast and while it was great I'm more than ready to mix it up.

More rolling dirt trail through trees and mostly cleared blowdowns. The drizzle and the swamps came back. I'm used to wet feet but I misjudged and lost my shoe to a mud pit. Nothing like digging into swamp standing in a sock to brighten your morning and laugh uncontrollably, because really what else can you do?

Mud trying to eat my shoe

Wyoming apparently wants to be Washington. Misty and back to find the cairns and not so much trail.

Then down for ages into the world of meadows.

Trying to figure out where we are. We made it to the highway in good time and had a hitch with no issues. Then down to Encampment, dinner and camping. A fantastic day.

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Day 90: One last Colorado Day

7/20: mile 1492.3-1527.2 (purple route by three island lake)
Miles: 32.1
Total trip miles: 1357.4

That was one chilly night, I woke up to a soaking wet tent. No rain but more condensation then probably ever before. I was antsy and was the first to start packing and head out.

I hadn't even walked 20 minutes when I saw a tent. Rest Stop was awake and started packing. While we caught up Atlas appeared and we headed out together.

Wet icy cold feet and marshes started off the day. The trail climbed up and it felt more like mountains, but still lots of wet marsh just with hazy views thrown in.

We decided to try a purple route because our lovely map writer basically said anything was prettier than the official route. It didn't hurt that it was a few miles shorter either.

We followed a creek down past Three Island Lake and all the way to the valley floor. It was very pretty and it's always lovely to walk alongside a rushing creek. Lots of day hikers and even 2 rangers, clearly we weren't far from civilization.

Lunch under a bridge by a rushing creek and then time to start the climb back out of the valley. An old burn area, lots of dead trees and muggy weather.

The gradual climb switched it up and for a few miles I baked in the sun on the open road. But the clouds got better and even though the marsh and mosquitoes remained it wasn't bad.

More climbing and then just rolling forest service roads. We camped just around dark as it drizzled. Colorado isn't going down just yet. It's 3.1 miles to the Wyoming border and the unofficial half way point, and man am I excited!!

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Day 89: Mt Zirkel Wilderness

7/19: mile 1465.4-1492.3
Miles: 26.9
Total trip miles: 1325.3

Good sleep under a porch, leftovers for breakfast and even a nice big pot of coffee. Jayne drove us all back up to the trail and it was back to hiking. Atlas and I got out at Muddy Pass for a few more miles walking along Highway 40, while Cookie, First Man and Rest Stop were 2 miles ahead at Rabbit Ears Pass. With around 85 miles to Battle Pass and the hitch to Encampment I'm sure we'll all be seeing each other.

There were lots of hikers in Steamboat but it was spread out and with parents and post office hours thrown into the mix I have no idea who already hit the trail and who I'll run into the next few days, sure to be a fun surprise.

Originally I was going to do this next stretch in one big 167 mile push to Rawlins, but I was convinced that the hitch to Encampment wouldn't be too bad so instead it's around 85 miles and only 3 days of food, I love the lighter food carry. Forest and fields of wildflowers all around, it's of course raining on and off but today that felt pretty great and the hiking life is good.

Beautiful 2 track through the forest, seriously I kept checking to make sure I hadn't missed a turn it was in such good shape. Wildflowers gave way to more ponds, mosquitoes and meadows. The trail entered Mt Zirkel Wilderness and it was lovely cloudy forest again.

Hiking with Cookie Monster and First Man I finally got tired and stumbled to some water. Great sunset and a little bit of an earlier stop, pretty country and a good day.

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Day 87-88: Because One Just Isn't Enough

7/17-18: miles 0

And then I ended up staying in Steamboat for 2 zeros. Hiking is a small world and Atlas found us a friend of a friend who we introduced to hikertrash and trail angeling.

Who needs a jump when you have a house full of hikers?

Because of course a second day happened, who can say no to 110 degree hot springs?

We might have killed Atlas

We even got cat time every night, great job Steamboat and thank you the amazing Jayne!

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Day 86: Steamboat Springs

7/16: mile 1433.8-1465.4
Miles: 31.6
Total trip miles: 1298.4

So last night my phone charger decided to short out or something and I was left with an almost dead phone. So not so much GPS or camera action today.

I shamelessly asked Atlas if I could follow him for a bit especially because my map warned me of confusing dirt roads and unmarked turns. I wasn't planning on getting to Steamboat Springs today Atlas was so I figured I'd tag along as long as I was feeling good.

The morning was confusing forest and wet grass as expected but nothing too bad. We were making good time and soon enough were finally on beautiful dirt road heading down. We had been on a road closed to vehicles which just meant stepping over lots of logs so a clear road was a treat.

It got hotter and flattened out as we entered cow country.

Then it was 10 miles of road walking. Pavement always hurts but miles were speeding by and I got to Muddy Pass by 5.

Atlas got to the pass a few minutes later and we had a hitch within 5 minutes. Steamboat was crowded, overwhelming and the hotels were pretty booked up. We caught up with Rest Stop, finally got a room and all fell asleep in our rain gear while our laundry was running.

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