BACK IN THE WYOMING DESERT
CDT Day 105: 22.5 miles/36 km
CDT SOBO: Ley Maps Purple Alternative
Tuesday July 30, 2019
Hammer had a disrupted nights sleep and woke up feeling tired. We considered staying another day just to rest and not have to run around doing anything but in the end decided to leave and maybe have a short day on trail.
We left the motel around 9.30am and it was already hot outside. It was a dry, desert like baking heat. It was a bit of a shock to the system as only 2 days ago we were freezing in the morning. Our packs were groaning with maybe a little bit too much food. Before rejoining the trail we had to stop at the post office to send a couple of resupply boxes further down the trail.
A short distance from the motel a community bus driver stopped and offered a ride to the post office. Rowland is a spread out town, how good us it to have this service available. The driver was so nice to stop for us.
It took us a while to package and label everything and an hour later we were on our way, southbound out of Rowlands. It felt great to be on the last leg of our hike.
The trail follows a couple of suburban streets after crossing the railway. A car approached us and the driver asked about the hike. It was Tom and his grandson Liam. Tom was from Omaha, Nebraska and was here on holidays. He was curious about the nature of the hike and all the different nationalities of people on trail. He gave us a lollipop which we gratefully accepted. He returned a little later and gave us his phone number to call if we needed anything. How nice is that, amazing kindness of strangers. We left town with huge, happy smiles on our faces.
We followed Highway 71 after crossing under the Interstate 80. The trail follows the Highway closely at first. Looking at the map we decided to take the Ley map purple alternate route which follows the Highway for a little bit longer and rejoins the trail at mile marker 1443.
We plugged into podcasts and hiked along the road for the day. The landscape around us was desert like with red rock cliffs rising gradually as we left the town behind. We passed two northbound hikers, Dirty Bowl who has been on her own since leaving the Mexican border and Pretzel later in the day. We stopped to talk to Pretzel for some time. Such an animated and interesting character we ended up giving him our bear spray. He is from Montana and works at Yellowstone NP as a firefighter. So in a way he is walking back home.
As the day was so hot I was going through my water and was beginning to wander what I would do if I ran out before rejoining the trail. And just as various scenarios were playing in my head a pickup truck pulled up and the driver, who was on his way home from work, gave us 5 bottles of icy cold water. How good is that, the universe provides yet again.
Rehydrated, we hiked on. The heat was not letting up. Hiking in my own headspace I was brough to a sudden stop by a snake on the road in front of me. We had grown a little complacent about snakes as the trail in Montana and Idaho did not go through areas with venomous snakes. This was a rattler and seemed a bit confused about whether to cross the road. I’m glad that we saw it, it’s a good reminder that we are back in rattler country.
As the sun began to dip on the horizon the traffic disappeared from the road. We crossed a fence and camped in the field. Not much vegetation around to provide any protection from the wind. We watched a brilliant red sunset while being serenaded by coyotes.