CDT Day 43: Mile 1664.7 – 1688 (23.3 miles – 37.3 km)

Wednesday May 29, 2019

The rain came and went through the might but the wind remained unabated. It was hard to get moving despite close to 17 hours of bei g horizontal. It was just the thought of the repeat of yesterday that made me reluctant to move. But I knew that the weather was on the improve and by 6 am we packed our sodden tent and were on our way. It had stopped raining as we started to move but the wind was just as strong as yesterday. It took almost an hour for feeling to return to my hands. Patches of blue sky started to appear and the wind started to die down.

It felt marvelous, just a hint of sunlight was enough to lift our spirits. We were heading towards a high point on today’s hike – a snow covered hill, at just over 8,000 feet. It was gradual rise. As we crested the snow covered rise we could see a hiker heading towards us. So good to see that we were not the only silly people out in this weather, in this environment. It was Jim, trail name Beast, with whom I was trying to arrange a shared ride out of Santa Fe when our car booking was cancelled last Friday. We shared our common experience of the terrible conditions yesterday. He seemed to be in a hurry so we bid him fare well.

It took a few hours for the clouds to fully lift and we were pretty chuffed to see the sunshine. Our spirits were lifted even further and hiking became so much easier. It was nice to be able to see the snow covered mountains to the west.

The day just got better and better. The trail was less tedious and much more scenic. By lunchtime we were in sunshine and hiking on sand. Who would have thought sand hills in the middle of Wyoming and fringed by snowcovered peaks. We stopped for lunch, dried the tent and hit the trail with even more renewed vigour.

There were plenty of antelope and wildhorses for company. The conditions were so mild I was in one layer of clothing and Hammer was in shorts. It was simply delightful. Yesterday, I would not have thought it possible.

With the improvement in the weather came and an improvement in the landscape which was so much more varied. Rolling hills and a meandering trail.

At the beautiful clear water spring we met 3 more south bound hikers. It was Giggles, whom we first met before Pietown, Spaghetti & Meatballs and Windman who were on the bus with us from Chama to Santa Fe. We spent a bit of time catching on the past week or so and their plans for hiking southbound. Like us they camped early yesterday to get out of the cold rain and the slicing wind.

The rest of the afternoon was just beautiful with the trail passing through rolling hills and we started to see trees. One of those late afternoons when you feel like you can just go on and on.

But we found a flat grassy spot on a disused road with great views down the valley through which we hiked. The sunset is streaming through the tent and it is a most delicious warm feeling. It felt all the better because of the misery of yesterday.