CDT Day 49 (WY – Rawlins to Lander)

Mosquitos and South Pass City

  • CDT Miles: 1,704.8-1,722.3 (17.5)
  • Total Hiked: 845.2
  • Elevation Range: 7,230-8,250

Day 6 would be our last day hiking in Wyoming’s Great Divide Basin. It has been pretty gnarly stuff, throwing unexpected obstacles at us that we dodged or overcame to get here. We all agreed we thought it was pretty neat, but at the same time we’re quite tired by this point and looking forward to a recharge in town.

Fortunately, we’d spotted on our app that a bit of town was accessible right on trail later in the day. We had to hike about 15 miles to get there, but a little general store was shown to be right on our route. And… it was supposed to have ice cream and soda, two of my most craved things on trail.

The morning was peaceful for about a half hour while we packed up by the river. Then, the mosquitos decended and our lives would never be the same. Before fleeing the scene, we dunned some protective clothing (rain gear for me) and then got out of the flood plain. Thought that might help, but nope. One section later on in the morning ranked up there in some of the worst mosquito cloud stuff I’ve ever experienced and not being fully shielded, I ended up running through it. Not ideal. After regrouping, we trudged on, hoping for an escape. It wasn’t until 10:00am when we got back on the Great Divide Bike Trail gravel road that they fully ceased for the morning.

Just before getting there, we started out trying to follow CDT trail markers. After realizing there was no trail, we checked the app and found that for six miles going forward, it was finding your own way through the sage. Not wanting to go cross country, we opted for the gravel road instead and were happy we did.

On the road, we were able to walk side by side and chat for a lot of it. We also met a few more hikers and bikers (none were nobo hikers though). There was only one car that traveled through if I remember right. Two of the bikers stopped and gave us their bear spray, which was pretty awesome. It was on our list to get in town for the next stretch and not cheap, so this was very cool.

After lunch, we met a guy driving around on his Polaris 250 ATV. He was scouting for firewood and very nice. Also mentioned he works for the Forest Service doing trail work, something I was particularly interested in hearing about. Most of his stuff is in designated Wilderness areas where chainsaws aren’t allowed, so he uses the cross cut method. Wild.

As the day went on, it seemed we were in a transition area where the basin met the Wind River Range. More trees, more water, and more elevation change. We were leaving the flatness and gentle terrain behind.

We did find our way to historic South Pass City, which was super interesting and welcoming. Nice ladies in the store where we did indeed get our fancy sodas (birch beer for me, sasparillo for Cheer) and Klondike bars for all!

For some reason (maybe the sugar crash?), I got really tired and a bit cranky leaving this town. It was about 2 more miles to the highway where we hoped to hitchhike into town, but mentally I was a bit drained. It didn’t help that leaving our trail was confusing and then once again went to nothing, just cross-country walking. Cheer rerouted us via gravel roads again and all was well.

We made it to Highway 28 around 5:45pm and set up trying to look as clean and pretty as we could to get a ride into the city of Lander, Wyoming. It’s a long hitch, something like 35 miles. Snickers is a pro at this, but even with his techniques and “hiker to town” sign, we failed to have anybody stop. It was mostly semi trucks cruising by and the speed limit was 70mph here, so just rather zoomy overall and tough for cars to see us and have time to pull over.

An hour and half later, we gave up and retreated back to the fields and woods to find a place to camp. A storm looked to be brewing, so there was added stress to set up quickly. Even so, we took enough time to find some decently protected spots and ended up having time to eat dinner together before a few raindrops started falling and we scattered to hide in our tents. The plan was to make a new attempt in the morning at hitching with the hopes more folks would be traveling into town then.

Album of the Day

“Revival” – Judah and the Lion

One thought on “CDT Day 49 (WY – Rawlins to Lander)

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