CDT Day 60 (WY – Pinedale to Dubois)

Snow, a Cube, and the Green

  • CDT Miles: 1,807.5-1,809.5 (2) and 1,816.9-1,827.2 (10.3)
  • Cube Rock Pass Trail: 1.8 miles
  • Knapsack Alt.: 10.8-13.5 (2.7)
  • Total Hiked: 953.9
  • Elevation Range: 7,980-11,065

There were three separate parts of the day today: the snowy climb up from camp, my solo alternate expedition, and the trail down to and along the Green River.

Snowy Climb

Last night before making refuge inside the tents, we’d done a little look ahead to where the trail goes and it seemed we had two obstacles to overcome early on. One was the crossing of Fremont Creek. The other, a snowy looking valley up ahead. For the latter, we decided we’d try a half hour earlier start than our usual 6:30am start, the idea being the snow might be crusty for a while yet and prevent some post-holeing (falling through the snow to your knee or deeper, yam saying).

Quite a pretty start. We decided to walk the river past where the trail crosses and see if we could find a spot so as not have to wade across. After a valiant effort led by Snickers, we gave up and walked across.

The next challenge was going up the valley on the snow while not walking over top of the stream on any dangerous “snow bridges.” Our plan seemed to work and it was crunchy and worked well for our microspikes.

As we are walked, the sun made its way over the mountains in some areas. Some areas were still left in shadow for a while. Things got a little soft as it all opened up nearing the high point.

As we are walked, the sun made its way over the mountains in some areas. Some areas were still left in shadow for a while. Things got a little soft as it all opened up nearing the high point.

Saw an overly friendly marmot…

A little further past, we had a vantage point to see up where an alternate route went. From the little bit of research I was able to do on Guthooks aka Far Out, and what I was seeing, I thought I’d give it a go. Snickers and Cheer felt more inspired by the actual CDT, so we had a parting of the ways with a planned meetup at the reconnection junction. We figured we could use Cheer and my Garmin Inreach devices to keep up any communication needed.

Solo Alternate

8:15am there they go, off into the distance. The sky was quite hazy that direction, we think from a wildfire.

My hike started with a climb up a steep snow face, but it wasn’t too bad. I took things nice and slow. Not that it impacted how I hiked, but the route I decided to take is about 3 or 4 miles shorter than that of Snickers and Cheer. So certainly no need to rush. The first mile was pretty mellow…

I lost the trail a few times during this part due to snow patches, but it was easy enough to find again and was actually in decent condition when I did find it. After this stunning view though, things got a little dicey.

I lost the trail among some giant boulders and snow and in my trying to figure it out, thought… the trail probably contours over to the pass that I’m trying to reach, Cube Rock Pass. Well, no, that wasn’t a good idea folks. Instead, it drops down and towards the lake there and then cuts over and you hike back up. I figured it out eventually, but took some rock scrambling and a bit of sketch snow traversing. Midway, to calm myself down, I took my breakfast break on a ledge…

It was quite a pleasant time sitting and second breakfasting. Afterwards, I succeeded in getting back on the trail and made my way up to Cube Rock Pass. At one point I had to cross a steep side slope of snow, so got out my vintage ice axe to use. I didn’t slip, but it worked well to use the head as a handle and push the long end into the snow on the uphill side as a handhold.

This route I took (pink arrow to pink line) was basically a connector trail to the end of a CDT alternate called the Knapsack Col (pink line). Not sure what that even is, but that whole alternate is supposed to be amazing, just a bit early in the season and scrambly from the sounds of it. But, I enjoyed the last few miles of it that I hiked.

Here’s looking back at where the Knapsack Col route comes from, beyond Peak Lake and up the canyon…

I made it to Cube Rock Pass. Wouldn’t you know it, a rock resembling the form of a giant cube…

And once through, another serene mountain lake…

It seemed like I was in the clear going down…

And I was, mostly. I did nearly run into this spider web and get caught though…

And, had two more steep snow covered side slopes to traverse…

Once I got this view of the valley (where we’d end up heading later in the day), things dried up and I actually had a climb up and over to get back to the CDT…

Ok, almost dried up. Had to get by this little avalanche area.

I got back to the CDT, the junction where we planned to meet, right around noon. And it was about an hour or so before the team showed up and I laid my stuff out to dry. A nice break for us all was needed before continuing on, so we had lunch right there. Me, on top of a boulder because I like big giant flat boulders.

Down to and Along the Green

Once reunited and cruising again after lunch, we made a good pace going down to 8,000 feet-ish. Big long switchbacks and pretty nice trail.

At this stream crossing, we saw a trail crew and chatted for a bit and then a group of three frontrunner hikers passed us. We’d actually see about 8 thru-hikers today!

Lots of covered forest walking…

With towering, spire-topped peaks above…

And then, the mighty river Green…

We had dinner right along the bank. After dropping me pack I went to dunk my head in the river, but before I did, spotted a rat of sorts swimming upstream with a big long tail. I suppose you’d call that a river rat…

What we have here is three cheese Mac-and-cheese shells with bacon bits and added chili cheese Fritos for crunch. Mmmmmm.

We actually hiked for a good while after dinner still. I was really enjoying this scene. I mean, are you serious? The river was so, well… Green. And the mountains above seemed just perfect to frame it. Wow, wow, wow.

The thing is though, I also got exhausted and towards the end when we couldn’t find a campsite a bit cranky I’m sad to admit. This particular instance, I feel I just got quiet and likely wasn’t very helpful to the group. We overcame though and eventually found some slanted spots in the trees around 8:15pm. Bear hanging was frustrating because of mosquitos and it being late and wanting to be in the tent already, but that too, we conquered.

Our slanty spot in the trees was right near the one end of Upper Green River Lake. After finally getting my food hung up in a tree, I went out to the lake to decompress before hiding in my tent. It was beautiful and calm, just what I needed.

Just a few mosquitos trying to get into my tent!

Another incredible day on the CDT!

One thought on “CDT Day 60 (WY – Pinedale to Dubois)

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