Monday, August 31, 2015

August 31st - Anaconda and the VMAs

August 30th - 31st 2015

Yes, I watched the VMAs. The first time I watch TV in over a month and I watched that crap. I was just as surprised with how many new artists there are that I've never heard of. That can't be a recent development. Anaconda was a cool little town and we had a good time at the Trade Wind motel. I even did my laundry at a casino, that was a fancy touch on laundry. I enjoyed a good bit of McDonalds, a whole bunch of donuts from an Albertsons, and had some chips and salsa. I can't believe it either, there are still Albertsons around.

More crap TV and hanging out with trail friends followed. Eventually we all dispersed and our hiking group is no more. Mountainspice and I yellow blazed a few miles of asphalt today and then hiked a bunch on dirt roads. There were cows everywhere and I would herd them up the dirt roads for miles. All they would do is moo obscenely and crap explosively all over the road. It was like walking through mine fields. There was a creek but since there were so many cows I didn't drink it. As camp time rolled around I was out of water and all of the guidebook sources were dry. Luckily we came across a sweet water trough with an inflow pipe and I drank my fill.

The smoke has cleared from the area for now and there is supposed to be some rain soon. I just learned that I'm going to have some visitors at the end of my hike. I'm extremely excited and my finish day just got moved up a couple days. There are still quite a few fires to navigate and 400 miles to go. Before I know it I'll be finished.

Yep, Anaconda casinos.

Camp for the night

Saturday, August 29, 2015

August 29th - 5 Passes

August 29th 2015

What a great and challenging day! We passed the bluest alpine lakes, giant treeless mountainscapes, walked through rainforest like areas and dry pine forests. There was also the little challenge of climbing five 1000 ft passes. Some statistics are better left unknown until the end of the day. Everyone rumbled about the climbs and I knew they were coming but I tried to keep my head out of the game. Sometimes that strategy works and other times it doesn't.

All of the passes had unique names and some had great views. I passed a hunter with a chocolate lab scouting the area for Elk bow season in a week or so. He mentioned that he saw a grizzly sow and two cubs, how thrilling. We planned on ending up near Storm Lake for the night but somehow walked much further. The group split up, for the first time in a while. Dayman, Lala, and Mountainspice are camped a couple miles from the lake while Picker, Sam, and I are camped a few miles away. Dairy Queen is a strong motivator, if all goes well we will be in Anaconda tomorrow. It seems like just the other day I remember speculating about Anaconda vs Butte and wondering if we would ever be there.

Friday, August 28, 2015

August 28th - The Pintlers

August 28th 2015

Today was about as exciting as a $1 bill. The vegetation consisted of burnt out forests and blazing heat. The water was spread out and the hiking was dusty. I'm trying to think of something to share but it was just one of those days. I have noticed that the deer in this area are a different color than any deer I've seen in the country. They have underlying brown and tan tones but are all covered with a grey splotches. In some cases they are almost completely grey. Weird, I haven't looked up why they are greyish.

At the end of the day there was a nice climb and I plummeted into dense coniferous forests on the other side of the pass. The night culminated in a pretty nice campsite on a lake. Everyone is here and we all ate dinner together. I'm just excited by the mileage on days like this - supposedly I hiked 31 miles from 7:30 to 7:00. I have my doubts but if that is what everyone is calculating I'm more than happy to agree.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

August 27th - Sula, Darby and back to the trail

August 26th and 27th 2015

So much happened over the last couple of days, I'll try to get a little of everything covered. Some is for my own memory and I'll try to keep the rest entertaining.

Yesterday, the 26th, everyone (Picker, Dayman and Lala) woke up early as heck and started hiking to cover the 10 miles to the pass and town. I managed to wake up as they were leaving camp. I really don't like waking up early but sometimes will try it out to hike with other people. This whole last section I woke up 30 minutes later than everyone and I had to use my long legs to catch up. I like walking by myself and camping with others, taking breaks with others is nice too.

So I headed to the Sula Mountain Resort and ate all sorts of food, the breakfast burrito was tasty. They also had my resupply boxes, everyone at the store was very nice and helpful. From there I decided to hitch down to Darby to meet up with all of my hiking buddies.

Darby was also a nice little town with friendly locals. Another thru hiker that had finished 2 days earlier on August 24th knew Mountainspice and invited us to his parents place. The Reverend and his family were extremely hospitable, everything was amazing and I even got to sleep in a giant RV. His parent's set up is pretty nice with amazing views of some mountains. The property and surrounding properties were all designed by some Hollywood types for other Hollywood types. Supposedly they have some famous neighbors, pretty cool. On that same note Dayman and Lala saw Viggo Mortensen at a store in town the day before. You know, Strider from the Lord or the Rings.

Eventually we had to get back on trail and The Rev was kind enough to give us a ride back to the trailhead. Hiking is hiking and about 6 of us set up camp together after getting some miles in. The smoke is so bad that everyone is coughing up phlegm and other deadly carcinogens. It's really bad, so bad the trail is closed in about 20 places north of here. Hopefully the fires will go out and the smoke will go away.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

August 25th - Shut Up Legs

August 25th 2015

32 miles of hell....

There are so many terrible things I could compare today to. Well, maybe not the whole day. There was a good amount of climbing all day, we would go way up and way down. There was a pretty serious climb to Big Hole Pass and I had help from God to zoom up that one. Literally, the Holy Spirit entered my body and moved my legs. He came back for round two in what I would like to call the 6 miles from hell.

It was about 6 pm and we decided to hike another 6 miles to a spring. This would leave 10 miles to hike in the morning to get to the pass from which we would hitch hike into town. I had just done a bunch of speedy hiking but for some reason wasn't spent yet. The section started off smooth and and easy, a really nice ridge walk. Then out of nowhere the trail went straight up, I mean vertical. It stayed like that for a little while and once I drug my spent body to the top it went straight back down. That was mile 1. Needless to say things got much worse. At one point I came up on an older couple out here hiking and the woman told me that she is really starting to hate thru hikers. Encouraged by her negativity, I ran up the rest of the climb.

There were several more really nasty climbs before I finally made it to the campsite. Over the next 30 minutes everyone else rolled in exhausted and wondering why we were just put through that kinda of torture. During the last couple of climbs I kept thinking to myself of the pro cyclist, Thor Husshovd, that has the term "shut up legs" on the top of his bike for encouragement. It was a tough section, probably the most difficult of the whole trail, and I got through it relativity unscathed. The most challenging part was that it was at the end of a big day at the end of a BIG section from town to town.

We're kicking some butt out here and the end is getting closer.

The beginning of the end.

Does a very good job of summing everything up.

Monday, August 24, 2015

August 24th - Day 106 and Da Bears...

August 24th 2015

Everyone was talking about how many days they have been out and until 5 minutes ago I had no idea. With some simple trig calculations I figured out that I've been on trail for 106 days. Not too shabby, I think there are about 20 days left.

The smoke went away a little today and turned into mountains. If there was a good day for things to get clear it was today. The grassy mountains gave way to pine forests and eventually rocky mountains and alpine lakes. Despite the strenuous climbs, the change in terrain had been a welcome one. With all of the forests around, the bears have been rampant. Before yesterday I had only seen 4 bears on the whole trip. Then, yesterday I saw a mom and 2 cubs. Today I saw a black bear in the morning and another one mid afternoon.

Still it was a great day culminating in a cleansing dip in Lena Lake, a group dinner, and a pretty good camp fire. The icing on the cake, a double dinner and whiskey lemonade. Things are getting physically tough out here but I would like to think that I'm doing it in style. I'll be crawling the last few miles into camp tomorrow from exhaustion but it will be okay. There is going to be a hot tub at my resupply in Sula the next morning, hot tubs fix everything.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

August 23rd - New Hiking Group

August 23rd 2015

I thought I'd spend a couple minutes and go over the dynamics of making friends on trail and hiking with new people. The majority of people come out to trail by themselves or with a significant other. As you hike along, most people (weirdos excluded) make friends and form loose hiking groups. The CDT is a little different because most people know what they like to do and are not as willing to make compromises to their hiking styles. The PCT is clique city, groups will form early on and stay pretty much the same until the end.

Over the last few days I think we've formed a little trail hiking group. Technically there are 5 of us but I have a feeling one guy will leave to hike with his friend at any given time, we'll have to see. We camp together, break together and sometimes even walk together. Hiking into camp yesterday Dayman and I had a pretty in depth conversation about the different hikers we hiked with and what we liked and didn't like about them. I guess it was our way to feel each other out and see if this was going to work out. We all want to hike the same milage, 30 miles a day, and want to get to Canada as quickly as possible. Heck a couple of us even want to take the train back to the west coast. Everything seems to be working out with minimal compromise. It would also be nice to have a large group when we reenter the thick of grizzly country. So, a little explanation of hiking groups, when I get home and revisit all of these posts I think I'll expand. It's a really interesting subject and I could write a bit about it.

We left the grassy hills today, even yesterday, and entered some pretty nice mountainous terrain. The trees are prevalent and there weren't as many PUDs (pointless ups and downs). A couple more days and we will turn away from the Idaho/Montana border going into the thick of Montana and grizzly country. I can't wait to get to Glacier National Park, I'm just praying that the fires and trail closers will go away. As of now the trail that goes to the border is closed and there is no way to hike to the end monument and into Canada.

Me dominating the headwaters of the Missouri River, Fountain Spring.

I took pictures of several of these signs, Lemhi Pass is full of Lewis and Clark history along with a Sacajawea memorial. Really interesting stuff and I was told that I should check out some books on it all.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

August 22nd - in and out.. Burger!!!!

August 22nd 2015

After months of writing blogs I tend to get a little complacent and lose all creativity. This might be an interesting 30ish days of blogging. You should probably stop reading now for your own sake. I might even just stop writing, I know thousands of you would be very upset and protest but what other options are there. There was no burger but we did manage two 20+ mile days and spent 24 hours in town. That's my kind of hiking!

The whole town of Leadore, ID.

The smoke rolled in overnight and today has been a total white out. When I woke up this morning the cows were going crazy and I though we had a nuclear Holocaust on our hands. Luckily, that was not the case. I think a cold front moved in and pushed all of the smoke our way. Did I mention that it's getting cold? Days are pretty nice but nights and getting out of my sleeping bag are terrible!

Anyway, made it back to the trail and put in some good miles. I lost Picker when he randomly decided to hitch out of town and not tell anyone. Now I'm with Dayman and Lala, and Mountainspice. The plan is 30 mile days to Canada, hopefully I can stay with Dayman and Lala until the end. Fingers crossed to not being that awkward 3rd wheel... Lol.

Friday, August 21, 2015

August 21-22 - the great hustle

August 22nd 2015

Yesterday was a blur, a blur of hiking. We made it to the pass by 12:45, covering our remaining 18 miles with unnatural speed. Best of all it only took an hour to get a ride to Leadore, ID. It was also extremely windy on the divide, hard to stand at times.

Resupply was easy, Katie sent my food box from a couple hundred miles away. It was easy but expensive to use the priority flat rate system since the destination was so close. I stayed with a bunch of hikers at the Leadore Inn, a tiny place with only 4 rooms. Here's the lowdown or who's who: Dayman, Lala, Mountain Spice, Roland, Picker, Seth, Jen and some random guy that ended up staying in the house. A whole lot of hikers.

As I went to bed, the smoke was meandering across the sky and moving into our vicinity. It looked like it finally cleared up a little yesterday. Unfortunately this morning it has taken over my life. It's so thick that the sun is a dim glowing ball. I'm a little worried that my lungs are going to be destroyed. I'm going to eat some pizza for breakfast and wait for the ride back to trail.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

August 20th - 2000 miles!

August 20th 2015

Sometime today I probably hit 2000 miles. It's not definite thing because of the multitude of different routes that could have been taken. Picker, whom I've been hiking with the last couple of days hit his 2000 mile day yesterday. Being that we've done pretty much the same thing I took that honor today. We also pretty much hiked a million miles today and conveniently 2000 falls within a million. We left Seth and Jen at camp and never saw them again, it was nice hiking with them for a couple days. Today we met Lala and Daywalker and are currently camped with them. We all cranked out some late evening miles and sat together for a group dinner, something so rare on the DTC. We reveled in our on trail accomplishments and the hikers we've met and love. It was great conversation and I hope we get the opportunity to do another group dinner in the future.

The wind is howling around these mountains. The tall grass that touches my rain fly constantly makes a noise all too similar to mice chewing on my stuff. I can't stand it. The smoke cleared up a little today, my throat, eyes and lungs are really starting to hate the smoke. Some amazing views have been misses because of it too.

My creativity is, or never was, there, turning into pointless rambling. I'm off to sleep with a super early day planned for tomorrow. Not happy...

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

August 19th - Along the border

August 19th 2015

Captain's log...

In a smokey wasteland a few brave hikers meandered through the grass and sage covered mountains without an end in sight. There were devastating thousand foot climbs and caves full of cow and buffalo bones, maybe even weaker hikers. The orange tinted sun was relentless and the water was scarce. Motivation was strong but we slowly lost members of the group to the grueling miles. Who am I kidding, thru hikers will leave others for dead to get a couple more miles in. Eventually we made it to our final destination, Deadman Lake, in the fading light. Life saving nourishment came in the form of savory mac and cheese enhanced with powdered milk, olive oil and crushed bacon. It was washed down with chemically treated water and Knob Creek whiskey. Dessert? Why yes, cow tails.

All and all not a terrible day, tomorrow is going to be a big one to make Friday a little easier. There are over 50 strenuous miles left and the goal is to get in Friday afternoon. We've been hiking back and forth on the border of Idaho and Montana along the continental divide, pretty cool. If the smoke wasn't so bad I'm sure the views would be amazing.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

August 17th and 18th - Lima, MT

August 18th 2015

Before today I got all of my motivation from the fact I was about to see my wife.  Now that she's gone I'm still grasping at the memory of our short lived time together,  too short.  When she first pulled up at the highway tunnel I was hiding under the dogs didn't even know who I was.  I would like to think that they are super sad now that I'm gone but I really doubt it.


We had a great time and did all sorts of stuff.  Repaired a nail in the tire,  went to a really muddy reservoir and let Kahlua roll in cow poop,  ate super greasy diner food and finally cooked steaks at the Peat Grill and Bar in Lima.  There were also some trail resupply efforts and town chores,  heck I even shaved with a razor!


As always all good things must come to an end and that's how our short visit ended. Katie drove First Man and me to the road/trail and we rejoined our path to Canada. She took off on her exhausting drive home. The trail vigorously climbed giant grassy knolls and was pretty scenic.  There were 5 other hikers in town that left before us and we caught up with them mid afternoon. First Man must have taken some crack because I saw him hike faster than I've ever seen him hike, he left all of us in the dust. I met up with Picker and we took a side trail and are currently camped together.  We heard the others holler at us from a couple hundred yards away so they should be close... Ish...

Time to rock Montana and finish this little trip.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

August 16th - Into the Smoke

August 16th 2015

The forest fire plague that makes every west coast summer a bit smokey has finally reached the DTC. It started south of Yellowstone in the Winds but just made the sky a bit hazy lowering the picture quality. Yesterday after the big thunderstorm it started to become very noticeable, and in the evening we got one of those smokey orange sunsets. This morning it was everywhere and the views were gone, maybe 10 miles of visibility at the best.

Last night, the 61 year old Ryan (or Richard) Lane, rolled into our camp around 8:45, super late by most people's standards. He was out before us and I caught back up with him an hour or so after leaving camp. He asked me to hike with him for a while, he recorded me and took some pictures. Maybe he's going to make a book, I'm not quite sure. It was a good chat, afterwards I took off to make some miles in the smokey wilderness.

Miles were difficult to come by today but we managed about 25. There were some serious climbs, it was also smokey and hot... Wahwahwah. Camping at a spring called rock spring in grass taller than my tent. There are also two southbounders here. Smokes was here when I got here and Periwinkle rolled up at 9pm, seems like a popular place despite the lack of places to put a tent.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

August 15th - back to the mountains

August 15th 2015

Sawtelle Mountain Resort saved out butts last night and the camping wasn't so bad. I might actually be getting spoiled by nice and groomed campsites.

I hiked with First Man today - it looks like we'll stay together until Lima, maybe longer. We have slightly different hiking styles and alone would end up a couple miles apart every day. Maybe we'll both compromise to continue to hike together... Montana might get lonely otherwise since everyone both of us usually hike with are couple days or more behind us. Besides, he's good company and enjoys many of the same hiking comforts I do.

We ended up being on a pretty spectacular ridge for the last couple hours of the day and camped in some old mine. It got windy and cold so the protection is appreciated. Tomorrow will be a long day to get as close to Lima as possible. That gives us more of a break on Monday if things work out.

Friday, August 14, 2015

August 14th - Idaho!!

August 14th 2015

Around mid morning I made it to Idaho! Over the next week or so the trail will go back and forth over the border of Idaho and Montana. The trail followed roads into Macks Inn and I made it to the post office on time, my Yogi guide book said it closed at 5 and it really closed at 4. Good thing I was early or else... We sat through a couple huge really nasty bands of torrential thunderstorm rain. After dark First Man and I went and set up our tents.

Only 70 miles and 2 1/2 days until I get to see Katie for a few hours! And she's bringing the DOGS!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

August 13th - AYCE Geyser Madness

August 13th 2015

Just saw a skunk before getting to camp at Summit Lake. It will be our last campsite in Yellowstone as the park boundary is only a couple miles away. I set chase to the skunk and he was fast, running and taking pictures I couldn't catch him and my only photo was blurry. As I got to camp and started setting up my tent with First Man the wolves started going crazy. First Man saw the wolf across the lake while he was getting water and by the time I arrived it was howling and circling the area. A little later the howling turned into a cacophony of death threats. We're both sleeping without food in the tent and have a pact to bear spray the other if he is getting attacked by blood thirsty wolves or bears. It's the new backcountry bear strategy.

The Yellowstone geyser basic was pretty spectacular and I got to witness a few of the geysers going off. We missed Old Faithful twice but got to see it on the 3rd attempt. Beehive geyser went off minutes before Old Faithful and it was pretty sweet too. We took care of the town chores and met up with Reststop and Focus for lunch. And yes, the AYCE breakfast buffet was filling, very filling. The food wasn't even that bad either.

Pretty good day, here are some pictures.

Lone Star Geyser

Beehive Geyser

Campsite with the wolves stalking us

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

August 12th - Grants Village Yellowstone

August 12th 2015

I learned an important lesson about waking up early, I can't do it. But I can walk fast as lightning for a couple hours to make up for the extra sleep. I made it to Grants Village by 10:15 with the intention of getting in and out and making it to my campsite 20 miles away. The problem, the post office doesn't have my package. I've seen it happen dozens of times to other hikers, but this is the first time it's happened to me and it sucks.

I headed over to the diner and enjoyed a solid but overpriced breakfast, it also took them 30 minutes to make it. Katie finally got out of surgery and was able to give me a tracking number. Due to unforseen circumstances the package was sent to Lake Village instead of Grants Village. The lady at the post office was very helpful and forwarded it to Old Faithful Village for next day pickup. Satisfied, I took a $4 shower and went back to the general store to get some food.

We're all lazy to some degree and I'm particularly lazy. Over the last few days Reststop and I would joke that it must be nice to camp early and enjoy yourself whenever we saw cottonbacks camped at 2 in the afternoon. Realizing that I wasn't going to make it very far I bought some beer, cheetos and a butterfinger and headed to the road to hitch. I was on a side road so cars could be going to the south exit of the park, or practically anywhere else in the park. I was going to take the first ride available, whether it was to the trail or old faithful village. The difference of 15 miles of hiking, an all you can eat breakfast and seeing Lone Star Geyser. Destiny led me to the Geyser and a 3 mile hike backwards. Even better, I already have a campsite reserved for the night less than a half a mile away.

Things always work out and while I missed some hiking and a few cool geothermal sites I get to see something I otherwise wouldn't have. I'm by no means a purist or continuous footstep hiker for reasons like this. I also know better than to get used to days like this, if I wanted to hitchhike around the country I'd just go home and get my car.

It was awesome!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

August 11th - Hiker Terminology

August 11th 2015

I survived the night and didn't get eaten by a bear, I even hung my food for the first time this hike. I did see my 3rd bear of the trip this morning, a smaller grizzly that ran away like a huge sissy once he finally saw me. Who's the king of the mountains now?

A day or two ago when I was talking on the phone with my wife she casually mentioned that she was taking too many zeros. Slightly confused I asked her what she was talking about. She explained to me that if she doesn't go running on any given day that it's a "zero". Secretly I was super proud that she's using the term zero. Here are a few of the terms I can think of...

Zero - no miles hiked
Nero - some miles hiked but no defined amount
Nobo - northbounder
Sobo - southbounder
Snobo - someone that started in New Mexico and flipped north to hike south and avoid the snow, can also be called a flip-flopper
Yo-yo - someone who hikes a long trail then goes right back and hikes it the other direction
No cook - a hiker that doesn't use a stove and cold soaks all of their food or just eats lots of tuna....
Cold soak - puts food into a sealable container to let soak a couple hours before camp
Ultralight - generally means you have a base weight under 10lbs and don't have any "luxury" such as a down jacket
Luxury item - stove, stereo, booze, rain pants, french press, spoon, knife, water filter, binoculars, etc....
Yellowblaze - hitchhiking north/south instead of walking
Pinkblaze - hiking with a woman with the hopes of hooking up

Anyway, those are just the couple I could think of. I'm sure there are dozens more. I'll leave you with some pictures of the grizzly.

Monday, August 10, 2015

August 10th - grizzly country

August 10th 2015

While black bears are more prevalent and technically more dangerous, they don't scare me nearly as much as grizzlies. Hiking out of Togwotee this morning I was in constant fear of walking up on a grizzly. I know it's all in my head and there is slim to no chance of having a grizzly encounter but boy does it wear on me. It's also funny that black bears instill no such fear in me. Heck, a couple weeks ago I chased one down to get a picture, but he was too fast. To fight this fear I use my speaker box to blast NOW country hits volume 8 as I walk, you see bears don't like country music. I was also given a free can of bear spray from my new friend Bobby who works at Togwotee Lodge. Long story short I can now hike by myself with a little more confidence.

Tomorrow I'll enter Yellowstone and all of it's thermal awesomeness. I met a couple southbounders and they had nothing but positive things to say. All that is left to do is to survive my big baby fear of sleeping by myself in grizzly country, like right now.

I got a view of the Tetons today, pretty cool.

August 8th and 9th

I've spent the last day or so at Togwotee Lodge in Wyoming just south of Yellowstone National Park. Hiking here was a bit rough as the trail sucked and consisted of a considerable amount of terrible trail and bushwhacking. The lodge is a pretty cool gem in the middle of nowhere. I paid $5 for unlimited hot tub access and spent the night in a nearby free campsite. The employees rock, giving us free beer and good times. I played some disc golf on a home made course with two employees, Bobby and Dale. Getting out of here has been really difficult and I think we're finally about to start hiking, thank God. If you're ever in the area check this place out.

I also trimmed up the beard to look less homeless...

Friday, August 7, 2015

August 7th - cow country

August 7th 2015

Trying out a new blogging app, let's see how it works. The Google app doesn't let me add photos and this one is supposed to.

Well, did it work?

After a couple miles of hiking I totally zoned out and hiked a mile and a half up some atv tracks. When I realized my mistake I cursed out loud a bunch and hiked back to the trail. A little later I walked through a ton of cows. It was a bit creepy as there were hundreds of them. The worst of it was the single bull sitting on trail a few minutes later. It's amazing how strong those guys are, nothing but pure muscle. So naturally I gave him his space.

I met back up with Reststop and Focus after lunch. Focus has an injured ankle, she stepped in a rabbit hole in the basin. Hiking until 8:30 I came across a couple deer growing nice sets of antlers and a moose with some huge head gear. I made it to a spring and set up by myself in a nice grizzly bear prairie. Food in tent and ready to fight for it... Cough cough.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

August 6th - glacier lakes and the Secret Yosemite

August 6th 2015
So, there is a place that easily rivals the majestic granite walls of Yosemite, and its name is the Winds. I never thought I would say this, but Yosemite has been replaced in my mind.  Imagine Yosemite without all of the people and boom, there you have it.
Along the trail today we met back up with First Man, I saw Bigfoot and Elinor a little ways back around mid morning.  We also came across a couple southbounders and a few flip floppers. Every group stopped and talked to us for a while,  it was slow going and we talked about all sorts of stuff with other hikers.
The terrain was very easy and the views were absolutely stunning.  I never thought anything like this existed, especially in Wyoming. I'm already planning a trip back with Katie and the dogs.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August 5th 2015

August  5th 2015
I need to get ahead on my journaling.  I'm laying in my tent cold and tired without much imagination right now.  Looks like I'll have to finish this tomorrow.
I'm back. 
I packed up from the Koa and headed to a diner with a dozen pickup trucks out front for breakfast, it was tasty. Subway for sub and the outfitter for some antibearbag rope and new socks.  I met up with reststop  and focus to use their shower and spent some time at the laundry mat for some self cleaning. It was great to finally catch reststop and now I have someone to hike with in grizzly country.
We headed to the end of town and hitched back up to Elkhart trailhead. The hiking wasn't bad and we climbed back into the Winds. Day hikers and "cottonbacks" were everywhere.  Cottonbacks is a term I just learned for the all cotton wearing backpackers out for the weekend. The rain started and cold windy air moved in,  the fun had started. A few miles later and we decided to set up camp in the freezing rain,  50mph winds and sub  zero temperatures at 11000 ft. It was my first super windy setup with the new tent and it was a challenge. 
Nothing too exciting today and it's really great to hike with Reststop again. Focus came to the trail from Reno and worked with my buddy Joe who started the trail with me. He mentioned trying to catch her in the beginning and it took me 3 months, the trail is funny that way.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

August 4th - Pinedale... Maybe

August 4th 2015
For the moment I've given up hope and am sitting in the middle of the road at Elkhart trailhead.  There are about 50 cars here and no people, if only I had hot wiring skills. It's getting late and I have no food, I really hope someone will come to my rescue.

Everything was really wet this morning but nothing was ruined because of it. I did somehow manage to have some more bad luck this morning but it's a little embarrassing so I'll leave it at that.  The trail was the muddy express with remnants from last night's storm everywhere. There were low clouds nestled in the rockscape mountains and it made everything look like that game Myst. I had a quick lunch with Chimichanga and took off on my 10+ mile detour to Pinedale.  I met a lot of weekend hikers and NOLS hikers along the side trail.  There were also several horse and llama trains that passed by and really gunked up the trail with their hooves and poop. I'm not the biggest fan of pack animals,  I'm sure that would change if I had one...
Eventually I made it to Elkhart pass and plopped down on the road to wait for cars.  There were over 50 of them in the parking lot but I guess everyone was hiking. Finally someone passed going the wrong way and came back a few minutes later, I flagged them down and had a ride down to town. It was a father and daughter they were both very nice.  His son is going to attempt the record on the Sierra High route, sounds tough and amazing.
Brewery,  dinner and camping with a couple cyclists in an abandoned Koa campsite. The night turned out well and tomorrow I will resupply and get out of town with Reststop and Focus.  I finally caught back up with Reststop after a month of trying.

Monday, August 3, 2015

August 3rd - above the clouds and under the sea

August 3rd 2015
I'm not quite sure where to start and unfortunately I'm not in the best of circumstances at the moment...
Last night Chimichanga left his hiking pole in the lake with a fishing line,  baited with dead cricket from my tent. Like magic there was a trout on it this morning. It was pretty cool and he ended up eating it for lunch.
Pretty early on we reached the cirque de towers and enjoyed some pretty epic views and I don't use the word epic lightly.  There were a couple tough climbs but we (myself, Chimichanga, and Chilli) made it up quickly to get to the epic views. After a few miles in heaven we worked our way back down to the valleys and hiked on easy street. It lightly rained all afternoon and kept the temperature rather cool. At one point we met a family that informed 3 starving hikers that they had too much food.  Naturally, we made off with extra dinners, bags of jerky, salami and a freaking block of Tillamook cheese!!!! We shared a couple things and Chimichanga and Chilli kept the rest since I'm going into town tomorrow.
The rest of the afternoon was plagued with thunderstorms and rain.  Around 8 we found a good/great campsite and settled down. There was a brief break in the rain and I heated some water for dinner and got my tent in order.  Heck I even watched part of a movie while I ate dinner.  It was around that time I noticed the water pooling up around my tent. Slowly, but surely, I was sinking.  The first hint was the water splashing all over my bug netting on the inside,  how was it getting there...  Realizing that the cuben fiber on my floor was failing I started packing everything up.  Shortly after that, I realized I would have to move my tent to avoid floating away. It was an adventure but I think I'm safe now. I'm glad I did it because it's still pouring down rain outside as I write this 2 hours later.  Everything is wet but there isn't too much I can do about that. I also noticed a very fresh badger hole a few feet away and I think I can hear him moving dirt and grunting over the pounding of rain.
Here's to a great night of sleep,  Semi dry sleep.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

August 2nd - the winds rock

August 2nd 2015
I made a short video blog for the day but it was more of a ramble so I'll write something too.  I'm sitting here waiting for my dinner to rehydrate while getting munched on by mosquitoes. The positive,  I'm in one of the most amazing places in my life. Sitting on the east shore of Temple lake surrounded by granite cliffs basking in a golden light from the sunset. The cirque of towers is looming in the distance asking for me to come hike there and I can't wait.
I found a cricket in my tent so we put him on a hook hoping to catch a trout.  They are jumping all over the place,  I think the cricket is too big. Dinner consisted of Asian rice noodles with some tortellini and green pepper mixed in. Lunch, a pretty sweet trail sandwich, was pretty good too. I'll probably run out of food tomorrow but that's okay...
Everyone is camped together again  tonight and it's pretty cool.  Myself, Chimi, and Chilli got here followed by First Man and Cookie Monster racing the sunset.   Bigfoot and Elinor snuck past us and continued on to another lake to camp.  There was much discussion about an on trail zero but none of us can afford to do that, food wise. I'll have to come back with Katie and the dogs - they would love it here.
Today was pretty exciting and I even got punked with a bear bell.  Someone snuck in it my pack this morning.  My mission is to put it in a southbounder's pack as soon as I get the chance.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

August 1st - the winds

August 1st 2015
Woke up to fall festival prep in the park where we were sleeping.  I was fortunate enough to get my tent and gear packed away before getting run over by a truck. Met up with Nick, Elinor, and Bigfoot for an amazing breakfast at the Middle Fork restaurant. After breakfast with my server buddy from the bar from the day before  (he was our server and gave me a free drink at the Lander Bar), I headed to the library.  It opened at 1000, I got my blogs updated and did some resupply work. It was noon by then so I headed to the brewery for a beer and lunch.  I met the brewer, name, the day before and he joined me for some beer at the bar.  He was awesome, the beers flowed freely and he let me try his award winning chili beer he was current brewing.

Eventually the fun came to an end but was replaced by a new type of fun. Myself, Elinor, and Bigfoot met up with Treeboo and his girlfriend Kirsten for a ride back to the trail, there was ice cream too.  When we got there we saw Viper and Tragic trying to hitch down to Lander.  Boy did they get lucky,  I also met my first southbounder but don't remember his name. He got a ride down also.
The day was ridiculously hot and the three of us stopped for a siesta a couple miles in. While sitting there, First Man,  Chimichanga,  and Chilly rolled up, shortly followed by Cookie Monster.  We hiked and chatted all afternoon long,  it was welcomed conversation. Eventually we found a sweet campsite on a grassy ridge and watched an epic sunset.  Currently  the moon is rising in stellar fashion,  I think it's the 2nd or 3rd moon in a row making it a blue moon.
The Winds are going to be sweet!