Piecing things together
Nothing like making a difficult trail more difficult by breaking ones pinky toe two weeks before send off. Who would have thunk that helping my daughter clean her car would result in a broken toe. [For those who are curious, I exited the driver’s side back seat and my left pinky toe caught the edge of the tire and “stayed” as I went to walk around the back of her vehicle. The toe made a “hard left” resulting in an complete angulated fracture. Almost without thinking, amidst a dump of adrenaline, and a cascade of profanity, I reduced the fracture and put it back “in place”.
The doctor said I did a “remarkably good job”, which meant there was nothing for her to do but confirm the fracture through x-ray and buddy tape my pinky toe to it’s “neighbor”. The best part, was that it will take anywhere from 2-4 weeks to heal, but I can still hike on it…after at least 10 days “rest”.
But wait there’s more…
Paul, not wanting to be left out, and keeping with our penchant for adding an unnecessary degree of difficulty to this already complicated hike, severely burned the top of his hand. The irony is that he was also helping our daughter. He was changing out the oil sensor in her car, and did not figure on how hot the manifold still was. The result was a severe 2nd degree burn the size of one of those LARGE heal blister band-aids to the top of his right hand. When our son saw it, he thought it was bad enough to go to the hospital. Did Paul? NOPE! “What would be the point?”, was his response. It wasn’t like he required a skin graft or something. Just keep it clean and let it scab over and heal…eventually.
NOBO…ish, it Is!
So far, the “plan” is working nicely. Everything is in various, but positive, phases of healing and we are on track to start hiking as much as we can of the Continental Divide Trail, starting in Rawlins Wyoming and heading northbound.
Rawlins you ask. Yes Rawlins. As it works out, this is a perfect place to start from. It’s nearly halfway from either border, Mexico or Canada. For all practical purposes, it’s “Spring” in the desert of Wyoming. This means the springs and watering holes are still viable, which means “shorter” water carries and more “reliable” sources for water. The first 100 miles (North bound) are relatively “flat”, and will allow us to “work” into building our daily mileage, especially with my broken toe. We also significantly reduce the probability of having to walk in/through snow as we travel northward.
Wyoming, for the most part is open, all the way to Yellowstone. By the time we get to Yellowstone, we will know whether Montana has fully opened up, to include Glacier National Park and the Blackfeet Nation. If it isn’t, we’ll flip back to Rawlins and head South bound (SOBO) from there and knock out Colorado and the San Juan mountain range, before we head home to prep for our annual hunting trip (gotta fill the freezer). By that time, most, if not all of the snow will have melted at the higher elevations.
We have our Wyoming resupply boxes prepared…with way too much food. Or at least it seems that way. We have weighed our packs, and absent food and water, they are heavier than what we had hoped for. Being prepared for ALL kinds of weather, especially at higher elevations, adds up.
Not to mention, my electronics have added just shy of 3, additional pounds. These however, are “necessary” pounds if I am to keep up this blog, make a few videos and ensure our phones (for mapping) and Delorme InReach Explorer+, are fully operational.
We have no illusions, that the first week will be anything but pleasant. Miles will come harder than we had hoped they would. Wyoming is known for its wind. We had our first experience with “Windy-oming” during a hunting trip a few years back. Our lips and faces will become quickly chapped. Dust and dirt will squeeze its way into every nook and cranny. Keeping Paul’s wound clean will be a challenge. Cow pounds, lengthy water carries, and quickly drying springs and creeks will challenge our ability to stay appropriately hydrated. Not having been able to train for going on 2 weeks will make the wind and the carrying of “extra” weight (both body and pack), that much harder. If we are to do this, we have no choice but to push through the pain and discomfort. Our resolve and “cabin fever” will be the motivating factors that will push us through the initial “cruelty” that will be imposed upon our bodies.
But Is It Worth It?
No matter what, it will ALL be worth it. We have been on enough “adventures” and hiked enough miles to know that the greater the “sweat equity”, the greater the reward, be it visual or experiential. The complications of being mindful of each state and county/town’s “guidance” in response to COVID-19 push the challenge of logistics to an art form. But isn’t that how we grow and evolve? Pushing the envelop of comfort and ingenuity?
We only have so many “laps” around the sun. No one knows the day/hour, let alone our condition or the circumstances, we will be called “home”. Why wouldn’t one fill one’s life with “adventure”, no mater the effort. So if you ask, “Is it still worth it?”, ‘HELL YES!’, is our only response.
Wish us luck. I’m pretty confident we’re going to need it.