CDT Day 41: Mile 1629.1- 1651.4 (22.3 miles – 35.7km)

Monday May 27, 2019

Last night we shared a lovely meal with Shiloh at the Whisky Row Bar next door to our hotel. And later in the evening we learnt that Hammers Mums surgery went as planned and she was in recovery. So good that we were able to be in contact as we don’t expect to have phone service for the next 120 or so miles. We will be hiking through the Great Divide Basin in Wyoming. It is an area of land in Wyoming’s Red Desert where none of the water falling as rain to the ground drains into any ocean, directly or indirectly.

We’ve skipped 879 miles of the CDT, mainly through Colorado, parts of which have experiencing up to 350% of average snowfall conditions. The plan is to return and hike southbound to complete this section of the trail later in the summer.

The morning was overcast and rain is predicted. Our 6am estimated departure time dragged out, as it often does in the luxury of a hotel room. We eventually left just before 8am. It felt great to be back on trail. We had a little bit of a roadwalk to get out of Rawlins and then it was all rolling open ranch land with no discernable trail for much of the day. The sky was inky blue in all directions, rain was imminent.

The morning hours seem to fly by. I was so distracted by the huge sky and beautiful colours underfoot, a combination of so many new flowering plants and lichen covered slate shingles.

Towards lunchtime the wind started to build and it got really cold. We stopped out of the wind by Fish Pond Spring to have lunch. And before we could finish lunch, the rain started. As we started to hike, it felt quite exposed. So it was a relief to find that the trail dropped away and just like that the wind died away. The rain also did not last long. And apart from a mile long roadwalk on the busy Route 287, the afternoon hiking was quite pleasant.

We saw a few antelope that were quite skittish. They look so elegant as they run off, their movement looks so effortless gliding over the landscape. Wild horses were a little bit more approachable. The ones we saw close up looked so healthy.

We got quite excited when patches of blue sky started to open up behind us, maybe the prediction of snow and rain tomorrow won’t happen.

In the late afternoon as we were crossing the Oil Rd to Mines a car driving by stopped. The driver Troy is a local rancher, he stopped to ask if we needed any water or granola bars. This was so unexpected and so nice. We talked to him for a little while. He runs ATV tours out towards Atlantic City, and he recommended the Mercantile as a good spot to eat when we get there.

We hiked a bit further on from the road and found a flat spot that was relatively protected. The local cows don’t seem to mind us and were happily munching away nearby as the sun disappeared over the horizon.