CDT DAY 45 (WY – Rawlins to Lander)

Dodging Deluges on Double Track

  • CDT Miles: 1,618.1-1,638 (19.9)
  • Total Hiked: 760.9
  • Elevation Range: 6,525-7,275

There are some good things to be said about walking. Not many, but some. Walking takes longer, for example, than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed. I have a friend who’s always in a hurry; he never gets anywhere. Walking makes the world much bigger and thus more interesting. You have time to observe the details.” – Edward Abbey (The Journey Home: Some Words in Defense of the American West)

I set my alarm for 5:40am to get ready for our planned 6:30am start time. Worked out pretty fabulous and the whole team was ready to go ahead of schedule. The start of our day was a bit of a road walk.

We weren’t exactly sure where “angry rancher dudes” property ended, but eventually decided to just go for it and make our way back to the trail (the trail ran parallel to the road for about 4 miles). Cheer guided us cross-country through sage bushes and desert pavement type stuff and in no time we found it again.

Yesterday and then again today walking through this morning stretch, Snickers initiated something that would become part of our routine. A good many of the CDT trail marker signs had broken off in the wind and were thus lying on the earth doing no good whatsoever. So, he, and later on following his lead, we, would make it our duty to try and prop them up again as best we could. Most had rock cairns already in place trying to hold them up and so mostly we just reconstructed these. We knew it was likely a feeble attempt and the wind very well may blow them down the same day, but hey, maybe one hiker behind us might benefit. Snickers jokingly said something to the likes of, “a boy scouts duty never ends.”

A feature that was apparent yesterday, but that became even more pronounced today, was the amazing big sky wide-open feeling walking through this land. It had a remote and rugged aura to it and already we understood that we were at the mercy of mother nature and her various weather conditions. There was nowhere to take cover or hide from the elements.

We started seeing more wildlife. One spot was overrun with little animals that I believed to be Prairie Dogs, except they were quite small. Snickers thought maybe Kangaroo Rats. Hence, I started referring to them as Prairie Rat Dogs. There were also Pronghorn (or antelope? we weren’t sure the difference on this terminology). Also heard, and then saw some coyotes off in the distance.

We had our routine second breakfast sit break at this spot after viewing the fast pronghorns speed away…

After breakfast, we spread out a bit and each got into our own groove. Occasionally, we’d each reunite atop one of the rolling hills to chit chat and look out at the view.

For me, and my fellow hikers I believe, this sort of solo time is still key. Or maybe that’s just my personal introverted-ness, needing that time to myself to sort of recharge.

Warning, the wind is quite loud in this next vid…

We had another good water source at Bull Springs. It made us feel fortunate to be traveling through here now, early in the season, because apparently water scarcity and heat become an issue later on. We were making sure to leave comments at all the water sources telling of the conditions for the main group of hikers behind us, Cheer especially was on top of this.

Nearing our agreed upon “usual” lunch time of 1-1:30pm ish, one of the dark clouds that was off in the distance decided to make its way over by us.

We got out the rain gear and walked for about twenty minutes in light rain trying to outrun it. Usually trying to outrun rain doesn’t work out so good, but we must have just been on the edge of it and so after distancing ourselves a bit, we were able to sit down and have lunch. We figured we’d just sit on the trail/two track. There was nobody out here and it offered the most space to sit and spread out our sit pads.

Storms were a brewing again though! As we packed up to get hiking, we all watched up ahead as another dark cloud grew angrier.

We spent some time talking through what to do. My first instinct was to just cover up and walk through it. If it was going to hit us anyways, why not just give it a go. Foolishness. Thankfully my fellow hikers are smarter and safer than I, and after seeing some lightning we opted to stay put, spread out from each other, and essentially get into lightning position (crouched low to the ground in low areas with pack off and nothing metal around). We maybe got a few drops of rain, but it ended up blowing by quickly and missing us altogether pretty much. Success.

Not a very good time lapse, but shows the rain cloud moving from side to side, especially at the end when I changed the speed of it to something like 30x rather than 10x.

A lot of today, seemed to be long straight line paths of double track. Typically, I like to have some meanders and such for variety, but I felt like this added to the sense of awe I felt at the expansiveness of it all. Just going and going, on and on.

I was also thinking today how perfect a section this has been to start on again after my month off. It’s pretty mellow terrain making for relatively easy cruising. Towards the end of the day, we had a gentle uphill going on, when we decided to make camp in some taller sage bushes, sort of in a ditch/drainage. We were a bit fearful of strong winds out on these plains and wanted to give ourselves as much protection as possible. Nearing a 20-mile day had my butt kicked again, so after din din, headed to the tent.

Album of the Day

“Hounds of Love” – Kate Bush

Audiobook of the Day

Started “The Fellowship of the Ring: Book One of The Lord of the Rings” – J.R.R. Tolkien

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