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Posts Tagged ‘Water’

**From November 2015**

Silver City treated us well. We did not want to leave. To make matters worse, it was hot out and we were hungover. We decided that we should get lunch at a gas station partly out of town to eliminate the ability to further distract ourselves. At the gas station, however, we got another message. This time, it was from Karma.

Karma: When are you all getting into Lordsburg?

Me: We’re just leaving Silver City now. Should be there in three days.

Karma: Should I send something for you all to the post office or the store?

Me: Whoa! We’ll be at the PO anyway, so there?

Our hangovers suddenly seemed better with a combination of that and a small collection of locals trying to buy us food. We kept going, finding the trail again and stayed together as group that night. Wonderer picked our campsite and we all camped close enough together that we could discuss our shit show while laying comfortably in sleeping bags.

We weaved in and out of small forested sections, open fields, and found some interesting water sources. There was one in which we had to crawl under a fence, move the slime off, and then filter. The cows nearby eyed us suspiciously as we shared their water.

As the days grew increasingly shorter, so did our breaks. We had to night hike to get in the miles we wanted, it was usually just a question of morning night hiking or hiking into the night. We managed to keep lunch to under 30 minutes.

Water.

We had some skeptical water sources coming up and I carried a bit more just in case. The trail wound around some hills and went on and off old dirt roads past a few windmills and cow troughs.

We wanted to get into Lordsburg early so we could actually go in and out of the town. Figuring that we’d spend more time there at the end as we figured out bus tickets, we didn’t want to stay too long. To do so, we had to night hike. We had a spectacular sunset which gave way to New Mexico’s specialty: brilliant stars. We hiked well into the evening with headlamps looking for a windmill.

At the GPS location we had for it, it was no where in our headlamp beams. We searched and searched. At that point, we have up, camped in some low trees to avoid the wind. The morning came fast and the stars were still out when we left. I set out first.

The unidentified dead thing in the water source.

About a quarter mile later, I found the missing windmill. Something smelled weird. I went to check it. The closer I got, the worse it smelled. I peered in. There was a very dead and very bloated unidentifiable small animal that was most likely a rat or opossum. Reluctantly, I fished it out with a hiking pole and set it near. I decided I could make it the fourteen miles to Lordsburg on the half liter I had left, slightly dehydrate myself, then rehydrate in town. Before I left, I wrote a note on Guthook.

We kept meandering down a mix of old dirt roads and “trail” which really just included signs in the general direction we needed to find a way between.

Going into Lordsburg.


Of course, it tried to rain on us again and we had some rain gear on, rain gear off moments. The sunrise in the morning made it worth it though.

ED and I got to town first and went to pick up boxes. Crosby, The Darkness, and Wonderer were not far behind however. We were looking to see what we’d been sent from my Mom, Karma, and Patch.

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As soon as I reached the top of the mesa, I found myself amazed at how suddenly flat the terrain became. Luckily, more of the climb than not had trees to shade us as we climbed during the heat of the day.

At the top of the mesa, we took a break in some shade leaning against our packs in different ways contemplating potential campsites location areas for later. We kept walking toward a water source which we knew would be half a mile off trail.

Me: E.D., do you remember this water source called “ojo de los indios”? It’s off trail quite a bit.

E.D.: Oooooooooh. And down. Very down.

Me: Good?

E.D.: Good, but down.

We headed in the direction of the water source, knowing that with the heat, none of us could skip it for the next source on trail. E.D. and I arrived at the side trail within a minute or two of each other and set our packs down to determine how much water we needed while we waited for The Darkness. Since the sun was setting, we grabbed headlamps while we stashed our packs so we only had to take water bottles down. After close to twenty minutes, we still didn’t see her, so we went down to grab some water.

E.D. was right. The trail was, in fact, half a mile off trail and down. We could see the cow troughs from above as we descended down to them. We had to go around one fence, then hop another, then hold bottles under a piece of PVC pipe feeding the cow troughs from the underground spring. It was dark as we had all of our bottles almost full. Then, we saw a headlamp and we “cooed” to find The Darkness coming down.

Eventually she wandered up with a smile on her face that screamed she had something interesting and potentially devious to tell us.

The Darkness: Guess what?!

E.D.: …what?

The Darkness: I talked to some Navajo ladies collecting piñon and they told me how to find them!

She held out a handful for us to see. Cue the “ooohs” and “aaaahs” as we contemplated how to find more the next day.

Sunrise.

We showed her how to get to the good water spot, then hiked back up to start cooking dinner. She finished getting water quickly and was back up to the top cooking with us in no time.

I convinced them to hike just a bit more at night because we were loosing daylight fast and needed to get some miles in so we didn’t run out of food. We got a few more miles in before finding a nice forested campsite for the evening.

In the morning, we awoke to a drastic change of weather. Instead of sweating buckets in tank tops, we now had on most of our layers, including puffys most of the morning. The CDT at this point mostly followed dirt four wheel drive roads and occasionally had bits of trail built in. We were coming up on the split in the trail where we could follow the official CDT around Mt. Taylor, or we could take the purple route over it.

While we thought about this, we noticed we sat on a large amount of piñon. Some hunters pulled up. Not only were they completely clad head to toe in camo, their ATV was clad in camo as well. We chatted and mentioned the piñon. The hunters showed us how to eat it by cracking it with your teeth. They also showed us the difference between old, rotten piñon and good piñon.

The Mt Taylor summit.

Despite the weather being cold, at least it wasn’t raining. We decided to hike up Mt. Taylor anyway because it would be the last time we’d hit 11,000 feet. We found a campsite near the top and summited in the morning in a cloud.

As soon as we dropped down about five hundred feet, we could see again. We cruised over to another mesa where we met back up with the official CDT and entered the world of piñon.

There was piñon everywhere. We set our packs down, collected, ate, and shared piñon for far too much time. We filled the Melanzana skirt pockets full. The piñon tasted deliciously fresh and we got fully distracted.

Piñon!

Whenever we tried to move further, we found richer, tastier piñon. It distracted us all morning until we realized that we had passed lunch just eating as much piñon as we possibly could.

Eventually we made it into Grants where we found a Crosby again!!

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**From October 2015**

We lingered at Ghost Ranch while Crosby and Memphis planned to hitch over to Santa Fe for the balloon festival. Memphis, having finished his flip and went a little extra, would head out after the festival, while Crosby found a way back to the trail.

Extra fiber…?

The Darkness, E.D., and I set out meandering through the desert, attempting not to run into the increasingly numerous plants sporting large spike devises. Eventually we followed the Rio Chama over to one of the more entertaining water sources we’d seen yet. It boasted a cow trough hidden slightly off trail amongst high grasses and a dead coiled snake near the easiest spot to grab water after we scraped the green slime to the side.

After grabbing some water from the trough, which tasted surprisingly good despite its outward appearance, we hiked on into canyons and on mesas. I found myself surprised at the amount of trees in northern New Mexico. I somewhat expected a desert more like the first 700 miles of the PCT, but I am quickly learning that the different areas of desert have significantly different characters.

For example, this desert boasted quite a few tarantulas. So many, in fact, that I purposely set up my tent each night simply for the peace of mind that I would not wake up with one on my face. Fascinating to watch, I found that the tarantulas photographed quite well and did not seem to mind my phone hovering near them.

I had heard through the thru-hiking grapevine (mostly from nobos) that to be free of the big snow potential, we needed to get south of Ghost Ranch. However, we still had to climb up and over the San Pedro Peaks to get into Cuba which reached 10,500 feet. We climbed up towards the end of a day looking for a flat campsite. Right as the sun had set and dusk began getting dark, we narrowly missed a turn in the CDT. One of those where the obvious trail goes one way and the CDT breaks off to the side. Just down in some trees off the trail, we found an excellent campsite.

San Pedro peaks, which we camped on that night, resembled more of a large mesa instead of mountains. When we woke up, the large grassy, swampy, fieldy areas were covered in frost. Cue: frosty feet. Meaning: very cold feet.

My feet did not warm up until we hit a dirt road at the bottom of San Pedro peaks which would take us into Cuba. We went from lots of layers straight into tank tops. With a several mile meander into town, we made some of our necessary town phone calls, then went straight into El Bruno, a popular Mexican restaurant.

Stuffed full of Mexican food and margaritas, we stumbled into a motel room where we proceeded to have a TLC binge for “My Strange Addiction.” Coming from the mesas and frosty feet straight into five hours of reality television was a shock. However, it gave us fodder to quote incessantly for the rest of the trail. Our favorite included a couple and their very strange addiction to coffee enemas.

Man: I thought coffee enemas were disgusting. Then I tried a coffee enema. Now I’m addicted to coffee enemas.

You can imagine how the rest of that show went.

We continued watching TLC the next morning until we had to leave with several hours of 90 Day Fiancé. Not as entertaining.

The Darkness’s new leggings.

Of course, leaving town took forever. But The Darkness had bought a Melanzana skirt to match the ones E.D. and I picked up in Leadville as well as some French Fry leggings. We had a several mile road walk out of town, which went right past the Cuba Café. By that time, it was noon and we decided lunch should happen.

Finally, we stumbled out of town in absurd heat. Once we got off the official road walk and onto a trail, we found patches of shade to take a break under. The trail between Cuba and Grants had very diverse landscapes to go through. Some looked like Mars. Some had amazing petrified wood. Others had thick piñon pine forests.

On some BLM land, The Darkness found a piece of petrified wood that she became rather attached to and decided to carry. E.D. and I took turns guessing how much it weighed.

Me: Five pounds.

E.D.: Six pounds.

The Darkness: No, it’s not that much. Maybe four pounds.

Me: At least four and a half.

E.D.: At least five.

The Darkness: Maybe I shouldn’t carry it.

Me: No, you should definitely carry that, it’s super cool.

E.D.: Yeah, I agree.

That evening, we found a spikey-plant free location. We set up our tents without rain flies to see the stars without having unexpected tarantula visits.  This location also had just enough cell service to get a text from Crosby that he was doing his best to keep up.  Due to our lingering and his not lingering, he was closing in.  We texted him our location and our plan for Grants, the next town.

In the morning, we had another extremely hot day. Despite starting early, we hit one of the main water sources for the day right at lunch, before a large climb. We sat at a questionable tank.

E.D.: Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

The Darkness: I feel like an arm is going to come out of it and pull one of us in.

Me: It’d be another good horror movie set.

The color of the water discouraged us from drinking it, however, we did anyway. We decided to update the source for sobos because all of the water sources had notes from and for the nobos. We gave it a Halloween twist because that was coming up in about two weeks.

From the water source, we plugged up one of the big climbs in this stretch. At the top, The Darkness did some talking that ended up extending this section by about half a day at least…

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Getting to the hostel in Grand Lake, we had to sign the most peculiar waiver which all of us found most amusing.

The waiver made sure we understood that the hostel sat at 8,500ft above sea level and potential health risks exist such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, etc. We had not been below 10,000ft in quite some time…at least 100 miles, so 8,500ft felt like a break where we could all breathe better!

We found Heartbreaker, Hiker Box, Flip, and Wide Angle at the hostel as well and it was nice to see a few other faces. Stereotypically, we all checked out of the hostel, but lounged in their reception area on the couches for another hour using the wifi and chatting about shoes, the Silverthorne vs. Breckenridge routes, and what we planned on eating next.

Meandering downtown, which conveniently, was also the trail, we went straight for the Fat Cat Café and their AYCE buffet. Since we came into town late the night before, we decided that we required beer before leaving town. Surprisingly, downtown Grand Lake does not have a large selection of bars like other small Colorado towns. Finally, we found an establishment called, “Grumpies,” which all of us deduced could not be anything except a bar. One beer, of course, turned into three before we decided that we needed to get at least seven miles out of town to get out of the National Park.

Following some roads out of town, we reached the trailhead where a large sign informed us that we could follow the Continental Divide Trail by following trail markers. I found that so hilarious that I took a picture of the sign. Trail markers! The thought! Maybe eventually.

 

Some slightly blurry bull moose.

We took the route that followed the lake closely at a fork and headed toward a dam near a campground filled with glampers (glamor campers). At the dam, we saw the glampers in their jeans with bikes and strollers and large amounts of stuff all gathering with cameras raised. Wildlife. Poking our way through the crowd, parting people with our wonderful smell, we saw two bull moose munching on some nearby willows.

Of course, the moose were slowly moving and munching in the direction that the trail went, so we hiked on, trying to get around them before they inevitably planted themselves in the middle of the trail.

Continuing along the lake, we saw all kinds of people illegally camping, so as we got tired, we decided to stealth camp as well. Right before finding a spot, we ran into a group of people who had put very large tents directly in the middle of the trail. They had a large fire and plenty of lanterns.

Camper: “Hey there!”

E.D.: “Hi”

Camper: “Do you guys need a flashlight…you don’t have one?”

Me: “It’s on my head…it’s just not on yet.”

Camper: “Why?”

E.D. and I exchange glances.

Me: “Because we can still see ok…”

Camper: “So, do you need a flashlight?”

IMG_1708We kept hiking and saw a few river otters splashing in the water at dusk, being able to see plenty with the light from their fire even half a mile later.

The trail then proceeded to go up on Knight’s Ridge the next morning which our map warned could be impassable due to blowdowns. We found another tid-bit of information online that the blowdowns had mostly been cleared. They were indeed and we only had to go over about a dozen or so before dropping down to a popular camping and day hiking area.

Supposedly, there was a tiny general store somewhere in the car mess, but I couldn’t find it. Memphis and E.D. were slightly behind me. I asked a few glampers where it was and discovered that it had closed, but sometimes the ranch down the way had sodas.

The ranch was closed for a private party. I gazed at the sign for a long moment before hiking on looking dejected. I didn’t *need* anything. I just wanted a non-crystal-light-energy caffeine boost.

As I passed a long fence covered in private property signs, I heard someone yell, “Hey hiker!” from the other side.

I turned and saw an old man walking up to the fence. We chatted for a bit and I learned of his grandkids, the campground, and the reasons why the general store closed. He saw that I was bummed it had closed and asked if I needed anything. I said no, I had just wanted a soda to give me some energy and he miraculously produced a coke from a nearby car trunk and handed it to me.

Delighted, I got to walk the dirt road stretch with a soda in hand which made the morning much better. I thought I would wait by Monarch Lake for E.D. and Memphis, so I tossed the can in the dumpster and went to walk past a man sitting on a beach chair near the lake entrance area.

Man: “Do you have your parking pass visible?”

Me: “I don’t have a car…”

Man: “You need a parking pass for anywhere you park around here.”

Me: “I walked here.”

Man: “There’s no place to walk from with free parking.”

Me: “Dude. My car is in Seattle at my Mom’s house.”

Man: “So you got dropped off somewhere?”

Me: “In Canada.”

Dumbfounded, I decided to ignore further questioning and simply walk past him to take a break. I found out from another person asking me to sign into the wilderness area that they were part of the wilderness society and were volunteering. They said that I had to get a permit to camp in the wilderness area and did not seem to understand that I could walk into the wilderness area and out the other side in the span of an afternoon.

Lady: Steps in front of my path, “You’ll need a permit to camp.”

Me: “I’m going past the wilderness area tonight.”

Lady: “That’s at least eight more miles and a lot of elevation gain.”

Me: “It’s about 2,000 feet of gain…and I’ve only hiked nine miles today…”

Lady: “They’re hard miles.”

I hiked half-way up the climb to a stream, laid my tent out to dry, and ate lunch wondering where E.D. and Memphis were.

The climb was well graded and had a trail the whole way, so I didn’t understand what the lady was talking about exactly.

With still no sign of E.D. or Memphis, I continued on, trying to get near Devil’s Thumb pass to camp. I got to within a mile before treeline and camped around 11,000ft in a spot just flat enough to fit my tent. The terrain had become increasingly rocky and I thought if I did not take what I could find then, I found I have to settle for a shittier spot later.

I had gained enough elevation that I could get enough internet to check the weather after hearing some of the day hikers mention something about a storm. Indeed, a large storm system was supposed to hit in the early afternoon and continue until about 8pm the next night. I was about to hit a 14 mile waterless stretch above treeline in the morning and pondered my options as I loaded up on water.

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The border demarcation

Hitting the Wyoming/Colorado border just before sunset, E.D., Memphis, and I ate dinner and celebrated with some Fireball.  We had completed Wyoming in just over three weeks with only one zero in our attempt to speed up and hopefully beat the snow through the San Juans.

The border itself only had a “Wyoming State Line” sign, but other hikers had delineated the border with rocks spelling out “WY” and “CO.”  This also roughly marked our halfway point, which was a scary thought.  We had begun to notice a distinct and steady decrease in daylight already as we headed further south and knew that it would continue the rest of the trip.

We may have hit the Fireball a little hard which decreased our desire to go too much further from the border.  Lucky for us, a great campsite appeared only about 100 ft into Colorado and we dry camped.

In the morning, we happily walked  further into Colorado on the lookout for Frost heading north. We found him not too far into the day and the four of us did the typical stand around and talk number with our packs on. Swapping beta for the next two hundred miles in either direction, we set off toward the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness.

 

Before reaching the wilderness though, we had to walk on some ATV trails on the first day of elk hunting season. I thanked myself for having a blaze orange hiker trash hat and bright orange backpack.

 

Most of the hunters were pretty friendly despite their loud, smelly ATVs.

 

Hunter: “Have you seen any elk lately?”

Me: “In Wyoming…”

Hunter: “My permit doesn’t go that far…and neither does this ATV trail…”

 

I wondered if he’d considered that the elk could probably hear his ATV.

 

Finally, we hit the wilderness boundary and magically, the number of hunters decreased drastically to almost none. Apparently, walking and packing out the rack and meat is too hard for most hunters.

 

As we looked at the wilderness boundary sign, we noticed that there was a mountain named “Big Agnes” and another spot called “Seedhouse.” Thus, we discovered the inspiration for the names of our tents!

 

The Mt. Zirkel Wilderness threw us up quickly toward 12,000 ft near Lost Ranger Peak, then had us stay high above 11,000 ft for quite a few miles. We had gotten a glimpse of the weather forecast part way up and the afternoon showed thunderstorms scheduled to roll in.

 

View from atop Lost Ranger Peak

Making it over Lost Ranger Peak with no storms, we had lunch and kept trucking trying to get over all the 11,000+ ft bumps, but alas, the first storm hit as we were popping over an 11,600 ft bump where there was no cover. Quickly throwing on poor rain gear, we kept going hoping for the best because going back wasn’t any better than going forward.

 

Memphis had gotten ahead of E.D. and I, and we had no idea where he was.

 

The first storm cleared relatively quickly, but others loomed on the horizon as threatening dark blobs of impending discomfort. We began to aim for Buffalo Pass, where we would exit the wilderness and we suspected a privy might exist.

 

About three miles from Buffalo Pass, storms began to merge together blocking out the sun. We found Memphis throwing on rain gear and we all looked warily at the sky. The thunder progressively got louder and the lightening flashes began to get brighter.

 

We were pretty accustomed to getting shit on by the sky, but this storm system seemed to be worse than usual. Needing to get lower, we sped up as we plunged down toward Buffalo Pass, fingers crossed for a privy.

 

About a mile away and the gap between the thunder and the lightening had shortened to about five seconds. E.D. had shot ahead and I began jogging, using my trekking poles to both propel myself forward and also prevent myself from face planting on the rocks.

 

Three second gap from flash to boom.

 

Two second gap.

 

PRIVY! E.D. peered out from the side of it, watching for us. I bee-lined for it and jumped under the covered, overhanging area. Some shelter is better than no shelter. Lightening kept lighting up the sky and the rain began to pour sideways. Memphis popped in and the three of us watched the storm from the privy while cooking dinner.

 

Eventually, the thunder and lightening eased up, but the rain continued in varying amounts and angles.

 

Near the end of our dinner, a large SUV pulled up into the parking lot and four Texans got out. They looked confused and began setting up their tent right next to their massive vehicle on the gravel. But…they didn’t know how to set it up. And…they did not seem too friendly. After an amusing twenty minutes of watching them fail to set up their tent, one walked over to us and scowled.

 

Texan: “What’re y’all doin’?”

Memphis: “Getting out of the storm…”

Texan: “Well, I drove 1,500 miles to get here”

We all exchanged glances.

Memphis: “I walked 2,000 miles…we’re just in the overhang eating dinner.”

Texan: “Well, ya can’t camp in a public shitter!”

 

Riiiight. The Texan subsequently went and took a very loud, twenty minute shit. We stood in the overhang and cleaned out our dinner pots and discussed options for dealing with the rest of the storm that seemed to be subsiding a bit. I took every opportunity to burp while the Texan occupied the privy. Memphis just fumed about.

 

We could all agree that we didn’t want to camp close to those idiots, so we waited for the rain to stop, then went toward the lake and found a spot to camp in the trees.

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Leaving Rawlins, we had the option to hike a long, roundabout trail that didn’t have much drinkable water, or a road that was shorter and didn’t have much drinkable water. Since we wanted to skip Encampment, we choose the road. Jeff had also told us that he did the trail without much drinkable water and there was nothing to see; we wouldn’t miss anything.

We made ten miles out in the evening and camped between the road and a fence that denoted private property, but we still had over twenty miles to drinkable, non alkaline water..and it was hot.  Memphis began to get a little low about 8-9 miles before possible water and so he explored other options.  The first alternate option was the field testing trailer in the middle of nowhere. E.D. and I hovered outside wondering what it was for a moment, then meandered forward. When Memphis caught up, he told us he knocked on the door.

Memphis: “There were two dweeby guys and they had just run out of water.  Who runs out of water in the desert?”
We walked on, listening to podcasts to pass the time.  Little did we know what Memphis was up to behind us. Then a truck drove up and out popped Memphis.  E.D. and I gave him a look to tell him not to cheat.
Memphis: “It was only half a mile…this is Mike.”
Mike: “I’m going to go back to my place and bring back some cold water for you all.”
An hour later, Mike rolls back up with a cooler full of water and Bud Light.
Mike: “I’ve an offer for you three.  Why don’t you camp at my place tonight and I’ll give you a ride back here in the morning.  I have to be in Rawlins tomorrow anyway.”
We took him up on his offer and got in the truck.  Since it was still Wyoming and the middle of nowhere, Mike suggested that we have a beer for the drive.  Setting up camp, we admired his giant fire pit.  We sat around and had a few more Bud Lights when Mike decided that we should go to Saratoga for dinner.  In the truck we went, with the cooler, and headed to the Wolf Hotel, which actually had a veggie burger!

Mike ordered beers a bit faster than I could drink, so I had to play catch up a few times. From there, we went across the street to Dukes where Mike discussed the difference between real cowboys and fake cowboys, examples of which were present in both bars.  He also had some great quotes in general. The one that I managed to write down was:

Mike: “One thing I have learned in life is that the women control all the money and therefore all the world…and the quicker the men learn that, the easier life gets.”

When we got back, we were thankful we had already set up our tents, because it had rained and was still raining on and off. Mike jumped into the yard, threw some wood into the fire pit, doused it in gasoline, lit a match, and poof! Fire in the rain in less than a minute.

The whole next day it rained on again off again. It was the first super rainy day we’d had in awhile, so it didn’t seem too bad. Annoying, but not absolutely horrible.  That is, until we got to the top of the 11,000 foot ridge.  A massive thunderstorm hit. We were all about a quarter mile apart from one another and all found some uniform trees to hide in for the storm. I chose to layer up, sit on my pack, and sip fireball.  I watched the lightening and listened to the thunder roll across the sky. The storm was close and loud.  When the storm seemed to have rolled through, I threw the pack on and walked back out of the trees a little to get a better glimpse. The storm was heading the same direction as the trail.  I hiked forward and a quarter mile later found E.D. reading in her tent. She said she’d pack up and keep hiking. Between her tent and where I found Memphis set up, I saw an awesomely huge rainbow. Memphis had completely set up and didn’t feel like moving, so he said he’d catch us the next day.

I kept walking and right at dusk, I heard the sound of a large animal.  I turned on my headlight to see a horse looking at me.  A moment later, about six dogs rushed up barking, four of which were obviously sheep dogs.  I started talking to them and they turned out to be extremely friendly sheep dogs.  The shepherd came over and started talking in Spanish.  While I attempted to remember Spanish grammar and hiking words, E.D. rolled up.  It was a good moment to break away, so we continued hiking.
The next day, we ran into more sheep, sheep dogs and shepherds. They’re all friendly enough if you speak Spanish. The key is to leave when they ask you if you’re married.

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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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