CDT Days 122-124 (MT/WY – E. Glacier to Rawlins)

The Great CDT Road Trip


Day 122 – Breakfast Buffet to Bozeman

As much as I was thankful for the Looking Glass Hostel and having a dry place to sleep with some heat, I really didn’t sleep well. It was sort of like a kids sleepover setting where we were all lined up over the floor and every noise was heard essentially. Then, around 5:00am the plastic sheeting that was guiding some leaky rainwater drips must have filled up and then burst, splashing the floor.

I also felt it was also odd that nobody was getting up early. Guess all these folks had finished hiking Nobody was getting on trail. Couldn’t sleep, so was up before 5am just perusing on my phone. Still at 6:30am nobody was stirring, which was so odd to me, so I packed up and headed over to the Glacier Park Lodge. We had talked about going for the breakfast buffet, so I figured they’d meet me there.

It was a wonderful breakfast. I started eating with Cruze Control and Mishap, then Fix It arrived, then Dave H and Sheryl, and eventually Cheer did too. Quite the assortment of good food including some mini double chocolate chip muffins, rolled-up huckberry crepe things, and all the usual suspects like scrambled eggs, sausage, and bacon. Our waitress, Katie from Florida, kept the coffee filled and it was a fun morning. We stayed longer than anticipated.

Afterwards, I wanted to make our way back to the hostel one last time to see Snickers. We found him inside chefing up a healthy breakfast utilizing some of the hostels free food leftover from other hikers. Got to sad goodbye, hugged, then we piled in the truck and started heading south. Sir Snickers is heading out on a train in a day or so.

Our road trip started with wide openness and some rain. Nothing much to report other than we stopped in Helena and got off at the exit right where I stayed when I was down with the Covid. Got some McDonald’s, lunch of champions, and then made the final push into Bougie Bozeman.

Before making it to Cheer’s hotel, we made a pit stop at REI to check for a few items on my list. Ended up getting some fuel, a new pair of socks, and some electrolytes, but they were out of stock in the dry bag department so failed there.

Cheer was staying just down the road and so after just a few minute drive, we said our goodbyes and dropped her off. She’d be flying out the next afternoon, so had some time to get to a coffee shop and maybe see some of the town, although it was much more spread out than any of us thought.

So that’s how the team divided. I have a feeling it shan’t be forever though. Our paths will cross again someday. Until then, lots on each of our lists to do, which is great! As far as for me and mom and dad, we kept going south on our drive.

Car camping is a little different than trail camping. On trail I feel comfortable just going til close to dark and finding a spot. Here I was nervous. What if we don’t find a spot? I had to let go and trust the experts. Afterall, I was with two experienced super travelers and so after researching a few options, we set our route.

We’d end up pulling in to a forest service campground just off the highway called, Greek Creek Campground. Nothing fancy, but just what we needed. So after a world record setup time ,(they’ve got this down now), we went for a little walk over to see the Gallatin river. Then, some cards and early sleeping. I think this was the night I said I wasn’t hungry, but when food was pulled out ended up eating it all.

Day 123 – Yellowstone Again

To get down to Rawlins, Wyoming there were two possible routes, the quickest and then the route we took which went through Yellowstone National Park. We hadn’t camped far and so after Dave H whipped us up a nice breakfast and a speedy pack up, we were on the road.

It was cold!

photo credit @ hoekwatersherry

We passed through the small town of West Yellowstone (where I’d resupplied) before going in and got some maps and such. I bought some Oreos, made a little tentative plan for the park, and then got in line with the other cars. We’d all been before, just a few years or many since the last visit, so this was to be just a snapshot and see what we see while we can, sort of visit.

First up, some smoking stuff right along the road!

Was a pretty cool one. One of the hottest I guess and the water, when the steam blew the right direction so you could actually see it, was bright blue. Back in the truck, then up to the Norris Basin where we took a walk to see several pools and geysers and wonderful classic Yellowstone thermal stuff…

photo credit @hoekwatetsherry

Next on our tour was a visit to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and Lower Yellowstone Falls. This was pretty amazing. I had a vague memory of seeing this as a kid when we’d visited, but sheesh, this spot is impressive!

photo credit @ hoekwatersherry

Leaving the canyon areas, we even got the full experience by spotting some roadside bison…

We stopped at another thermal activity area, the mud volcano spot I believe it was called, which was also very cool and we had some lunch in the camper. Didn’t stay for the ranger talk, but I’m sure it would’ve been fascinating. Our last stop was to the “fishing bridge” near the giant Yellowstone Lake. Dad had a story about how he’s stopped here long before and saw a bunch of fish (if I’m remembering the story correctly), but I think he was telling a tall tale, because no fish in sight today. Still a cool stop.

And that was pretty much our 2022 Yellowstone experience. The rest was driving out., But in just a few hours driving through the park and some walkabouts, you can see a lot.

Our route took us into Grand Teton National Park next and we could see the mountains, but it was hazy. Jackson Lake was all dried up too or at least a lot of it was. But that was all we got before turning east on Highway 26. Another time.

It was now time to figure out a spot to stay again and so we got to researching. It just so happened we were nearing some trail towns again and the trail itself, so I had one idea up my sleeve. Apparently, you can drive back to Brooks Lake Campground, which worked well timing-wise, so we thought we’d give it a shot. This was a place that Cheer and Snickers and I walked past on an alternate we’d taken. It was the same area that a storm came, we took shelter by a pit toilet, and then the double rainbow came out.

Braving some narrow dirt roads for about 5 miles, Dave H maneuvered us into a killer site and we were set! Nicer weather this time and apparently it was free since the campground was sort of closed for the season, but sort of not. Every site was filled, just no water.

Dad wasn’t feeling great, so after set up, just mom and I went for a short walk around the lake.

Once back, dad chefed up some delicious fajitas and then it was cards before bed again. I think it was a game called Kings in the Corner and pretty sure I took home the W.

Day 124 – Gearing Up and Rawlins

The next day was more geared towards getting me ready to get back on trail. From our campsite, we headed downhill (it was up near the divide around 9,100 feet! And cold again!) to a beloved trail town of Dubois. Other than a gas stop, we cruised through though.

In the next town of Lander though, again another town stop, we made a visit to Wild Iris Mountain Sports. This is the same gear ship that Snickers and I had visited to get information and my map for the Wind River Range. They were super helpful again and even pulled out some mittens from the basement for me to check out. The cold mornings had me thinking I really need to be ready and so was super happy when I found a pair I liked. Also got some fuel and that dry bag I wanted. Very successful stop.

Sadly, Cheer’s beloved Scream Shack in Lander had closed its doors for the season. Guess some would say it’s getting too cold for ice cream. Such nonsense.

After a few more hours driving, getting to see some of the basin, we made it to Rawlins! This time we found a campground with the full hookup and got set up there for a base camp. There was a lot still do town chores-wise, the stuff I normally do, like resupply and pack and such. So, after setting up, it was off to Walmart so I could get my food.

Things went good there, but I left with a lot. For some reason I got it in my head to skip the next town if Encampment that most hikers go into, and instead go straight to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. It’d be about 165 miles or so. So lots of food. Why do this? I feel some pressure to keep things moving. I have a narrow window of hiking here before winter comes, so will likely be pushing more than normal for me.

Another obstacle I discovered during my research was that the first 36 miles or so were dry. No water sources. Not the ideal time to be hiking in this area apparently. We were not deterred, however, and at Walmart I picked up two gallon jugs for us to stage up the trail. So after buying all the goodies, we took off on a mission to find the trail and some spots to put my personal water caches.

Well, the trail isn’t super scenic to most folks eyes during this first stretch, but it has its unique qualities. Dad liked it… the openness, the pronghorn, the rolling hills. And there were roads to get to it easy enough. Actually, a lot of the trail was the gravel roads themselves. We found two spots that were spread out, one around 10 miles from town (where I’d start tomorrow), another around 23 miles. It was fun and we saw some pronghorn and cows and all got a little Wyoming Basin experience.

Lovely pic here at the high point of our mission and turnaround point…

This water was so hidden, you can barely even see it in the picture…

Getaway driver in case any prongies tried to attack mom and I…

So, that should set me up nicely and wouldn’t have been possible without the support team. Sheesh, they’re coming through in the clutch once again, aren’t they folks?

After all that fun, we felt it’d be nice for a last send-off dinner. The one spot we saw that was open in town seemed to be pretty packed and so off to the BK Lounge (Burger King) we went and I was super stoked about the decision. It was an interesting visit though since half the menu they seemed to be out of and the vent in the back must not have been working because smoke was just wafting about the dining area.

Once back at the camper I still had to pack up my food and other things. Mom and dad helped with removing the packaging and it went by quick. My pack was massive though. It’d surely turned from Bruce Banner to The Hulk.

Once thing I realized during this time was that my Sawyer Squeeze filter had been in the truck both of the nights it got into the 20’s. You can’t let these things freeze, so after trying it out and the water seemingly passed through quicker than normal, I felt quite discouraged. Dave H to the rescue. Off to Walmart he went as I continued packing. Not much later, he was back with a replacement! It was a mini-sawyer, which I’ve never used, but others do and they’re compatible with my whole Smart Water bottle setup. So we’ll give it a go. Wowsers, catastrophe averted!

In all my preparations and such I’ve added quite a bit of new stuff for cold weather… a lot of it from the bin labeled “stuff for trail” I’d packed in the spring, but also the new stuff I’d bought. There’s probably more I’m forgetting, but here’s some…

  • Adidas soccer warm-up pants (I received these as a gift in 2005 or something and are still getting their use!)
  • New pair of Darn Tough socks (I bought a women’s pair because they had bears in them I liked. Turns out, there’s no difference and the size chart’s on the back of the packaging. I now have 3 pairs along)
  • Switched out Sawyer Squeeze for the Mini and syringe for backwashing
  • Switched out my base layer top for a similar one that’s thicker
  • AZT buff
  • New dry bag (got rid of sleeping bag compression sack)
  • New mittens
  • Sleeping bag liner

So yeah, some additional weight nowadays! But… we did it! Felt ready to go for a morning start tomorrow to get back on trail going south! Let the solo hiking begin again.

One thought on “CDT Days 122-124 (MT/WY – E. Glacier to Rawlins)

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