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Posts Tagged ‘Oregon Trail’

After Jetta cooked us a delicious breakfast, we headed out into the Great Divide Basin, which had also been called “the suck,” “tick heaven,” or a “death march” by other hikers.
Lucky for us, we loaded up on podcasts on the brewery’s wifi and had plenty to listen to as well as music.
The first day through the basin went by relatively quickly and we all jammed out while we plugged along on the dirt roads and four wheel drive tracks. Monotonous, yes, but not maddening…yet.

The only shade we found all day was underneath an underpass on the dirt road that only four wheel drive cars could drive on.

That night, we night hiked for a bit until we got to the 30 mile mark, then all three of us cowboy camped and watched the stars.
 The second basin day was, not surprisingly, like the first day. It had a few hills to add into the mix, lots of cows, lots of cow poop water, and it had quite a bit of wind.
By that evening, a little of the madness started to creep in. We did another 30, placing us halfway through the basin. We cowboy camped near a spring and set it alarms for 4am to try and pull a 40.
4am seemed to come really quickly, but I had slept in my hiking clothes, had a pro bar ready for a walking pre-breakfast, and already mixed up some crystal light energy: i.e. crack…caffeine does wonders.
We were moving by 4:30am, mostly just because it was too cold not to move. I even had my puffy on while we started by headlight.

Bocce in the basin

About six or seven miles in, the sun had come up and we hit another spring where we planned to have breakfast. Then…inside the metal tube that turned on the spring…we found bocce balls! A small notebook read, “Bocce in the basin: CDT trail register.”
As we ate, we read through it, signed it, then played a round of bocce. Great start to a forty mile day.
The hills from the previous day were gone and we could see the trail for miles upon miles ahead of us…straight…flat…hot…sandy…straight…straight…
I switched back and forth between podcasts and music most of the day.

Straight…flat…hot…sandy…straight…
By mid afternoon we all looked at each other with eyes that darted around searching for something new to look at…even cows. We mooed at them and they mooed back. Occasionally, I would attempt to converse with them, but all they said was moo. Surprisingly, I could hold a decent one way conversation with them.
 Sometimes we would see pronghorn or wild horses in the distance. They broke up the monotony a bit.
Then, I started staring at my feet because I realized all my entertainment could be found there in the sandy dirt. There were tracks and signs of life galore there! If I paused, I could figure out when a mouse crossed, then a cow, then a hiker with Brooks Cascadia trail runners. The possibilities were endless, they just took a little thought to figure out. That gave my wandering mind a break from staring straight ahead at the next twenty miles of walking.
We ate dinner at Bull Spring and Memphis had an encounter with a bull who did not want to share the spring named after him. The bull, however did not hassle E.D. nor I.
Plugging back into another TED Radio Hour podcast, we kept going on into the night watching the stars get brighter and brighter.

Then the unexpected happened at mile 37.7 for the day. There was a car by the side of the road at a funky three way intersection. As we tried to look at Guthook without ruining our night vision, the back door popped open and Knacker leaned out, “wanna beer?”
“YES, please!”

We sat, chatted, and drank a beer with him. He understood when we thanked him and kept hiking 2.3 more miles. Memphis decided 37.7 miles was enough, so he had another beer, and stayed there.
In the morning, Knacker slack packed us into Rawlins.

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