Wyoming Walkers Unite
- CDT Miles: 1,601.4-1618.1 (16.7)
- Total Hiked: 741
- Elevation Range: 6,725-7,400
"I'm here to tell you the story of Stephen James, Who seemed confused about his goals and aims. Off to Wyoming he did go. To discover the wind, both friend and foe. Two comrades he joined, the basin their quest. Unknowns ahead, they'd give it their best." - Stevie Wonder (of the PCT and CDT)
The Great Divide Basin of Wyoming was something I heard about even before starting this trail, but I never really understood what it was or what its landscape might look like. From what folks told me, I had the impression it was pretty much a flat, almost desert-like part of the state, that exists between Colorado and the Wind River Range. I did a little research and discovered that interestingly the rainwater that falls here doesn’t drain to any ocean, but stays in the basin.
This next stretch of hiking is about 120 miles and right smack in the middle of the the basin, so today was not just my return to hiking again, but my first real chance to get a feel for this area. Pretty rad stuff!
Our stellar hiking team started the day by packing up at the hotel and leaving a little before 8am to walk to the other side of town where the CDT ran through. Snickers led us on a route through the back roads to Mukwano Coffee. We had made a plan to meet up with a fellow hiker, Fix It, before hitting the trail. I’d met and hiked around Fix it in New Mexico and he met Cheer and Snickers in their last resupply town having skipped Colorado as well (for now). Trail reunions are the best.
After some good stories and catching up and all that, we all started walking back toward the “trail,” which at this point runs through town via paved roads. Fix it joined for a while seeing as his hotel was the same way too. He’s planning to rest up a bit before continuing ahead. We didn’t make it far before feeling it the need to take some photo documentation. Can you spot Sumi?
Around 10am or so, we were back on the CDT heading north. Woohoo!
It was a three mile walk parallel to the road before we turned off and headed out into the wide openness.
Felt good to be out doing it. And I was digging the vastness if it all. Literally no trees in sight for most of the day. It only took an hour after turning away from the road for something to shake us out of our comfort zones.
Once again, the creatures Stevies fear above all others, and this time…
A rattlesnake! Ugh. This wouldn’t be our only encounter either. Three different times throughout the day we were suddenly startled by the terrifying rattle of a snake on/adjacent to the trail. And, each time it was me it seemed to target for some reason. They must have sensed my fear! Here’s one later in the day that I nearly stepped on…
I don’t mean to brag, but we’re pretty fast hikers…
This was the first of many attempts at getting a fun time lapse to try and show the terrain and trail over some distance. Not sure how much I like them, still trying to figure this feature out.
Pretty much all of the hiking in the basin would end up being two track trail, which worked well for us. In the snake lands, we still went single file to minimize our disturbance coverage, but later on, we’d be more comfortable hiking next to one another side by side.
There were some similarities to southern New Mexico out here including the presence of many cows and these little horned toad lizards!
Also like NM, there’s not a lot of water or shade. Like no shade.
Differing between the two areas was that it was cloudy most of the day with storms visible far off.
Then, around 3:30pm or so, it started to rain. Enough for us to get our gear out. Very windy too! We had to be especially careful not to puncture our rain stuff when crawling underneath the barbed wire here…
At times, we had some stretches where there was no trail to follow, but instead looked for trail marker signs or followed our map app, Far Out. I had a little ankle roll taking the next vid, but survived.
Around 4:30pm, we got to lovely Fish Pond Spring where we filtered some water. It was complete with trail registry and everything. Filled up here for a dry camp tonight (no water source at the spot where we tent).
And then, as we moved onward and the rain seemed to cease… double rainbow!!
As you can imagine, we were quite mesmerized, especially since the bottom one first appeared as a sort of glowing spot of color on the horizon itself. I’d never seen anything like that and as we watched, it arched higher up into the sky. Super cool moment!
Ahead from this point, we had a bit of a struggle when there was no trail to be found and Cheer’s and mine app told us different things. Both interpretations showed the trail parallel to each another and with a nearby highway, so we just ventured onward choosing what we thought was the path of least resistance. The trail angled toward the highway and joined for a road walk near the end of the day. We also chose to extend our road walk a bit further after viewing comments in the app that the property owner upon re-entering was an “angry rancher dude” and didn’t want us thru-hikers crossing anymore. Not sure what that’s about, so we bypassed and ended up camping along a BLM road nearby to some giant RV’s.
A large flat valley floor opened up just before camp.
It wasn’t the most glamorous tenting night one, but it did the job. Flat spots and got set up quickly. There were some dark clouds moving and we thought potentially we were in to be hit with more rain and wind. Fortunately, it passed us by and we were able to sit out and have our dinners together! I was tired and ate a lot. I felt very thankful to be hiking again with friends, especially through such an expansive and daunting section.