Day 11: (14.7 miles)
6/28/20 (1724.5 – 1739.2)
Wyoming you are fickle. How it is that we can go from being hot and bone dry, to cold and sopping wet, in a day, amazes me.
As we were trudging up the trail we were lamenting the fact that we aren’t “stupid light”. Meaning, we carry ALL the “just in case” gear that what we call “stupid light” people don’t. Granted, these people are generally fast as lightning and crush crazy miles, so the likely hood that they get caught in a storm of any magnitude is rare. But if they do, it could spell trouble for them.
When we talk about “just in case” gear. We are talking about the following:
- A three season tent
- 20° sleeping bags that zip together
- Tyvek ground cloth
- Full actual rain gear
- Fire starter
- Dry change of clothes
- Long johns
- Half a camp towel
- First aid kit (abbreviated)
- An extra day of food (for both of us)
- Delorme InReach (with its own dedicated battery charger)
We, on the other hand carry ALL the “just in case” gear, on top of our “slow walking” days of food. I say “slow walking” because we can’t just seem to get up to 20+ miles a day, which would make our pack weight much more comfortable.
On hot blue sky days, this “just in case” gear feels like a burden. But when the weather changes for the worst (rain/snow) these “just in case” items can be a life saver. Today was such a day.
It is, only day 11, and we keep gaining altitude, but dammit we should be crushing it by now! If we were faster, maybe we would have been able to walk our way out of this “unscheduled” storm. Or, maybe we would have been at 10,000 feet and been hit with it. Who knows. In any event we are “prepared”…at least enough to not die, we hope. The fact we’re nearly three times the age as most crumb crunchers that do the CDT is still no excuse for feeling/being so “slow”.
Although, today is the first day that we didn’t finish with our feet feeling like we were walking on glass. They were soft, squishy and caked in mud. But they felt good, compared to walking 117 miles on hot country roads.
The night before, was our first attempt at hanging our food. Namely because there were TREES! Hanging ones food in sagebrush is ineffective. We figured we’d better get good at it before we hit grizzly country. When we awoke were pleasantly surprised it was still there. Today however, we employed the OMDB method (over my dead body) of securing our food. We slept with it. Why you ask? It was pouring rain and had been for last third of the day. We were sopping wet, and didn’t give a shit.
The day started as overcast and cool, but promising as our Delorme weather report had us at 10-30% chance of rain. Pretty good odds we thought. Note to self. Las Vegas is not a good option for us.
It spritzed on us as we walked up and through dense woods and high chaparral.
The forested areas were fraught with a tangle of blow downs.
Progress would have been torture had a guy on horseback, with a chainsaw, not gone before us. We figure he (they) cleared the trail a day or two before us based on the fresh saw dust. A special Thank You to whomever did this!
For the most part, we didn’t even need to don our rain gear. Then Paul, in frustration, uttered the magic words,”I wish it would just make up its mind. Either pour rain or just stop!” And like magic, thunder rolled, lighting darted around us, and the skies poured down upon us. His utterance, of course, was just as we were about to crest an open bald. With urgency, we ducked for cover into a den of densely packed pines and put on our full rain gear. Here, we sat and counted the seconds between flashes of lighting and the thunder. 2 seconds was the closest. Eventually it “stopped”, back to the light drizzle that Paul was so annoyed with.
As long we kept moving, we stayed “warm”. We began to formulate a plan of how we were going to erect our tent in the event the rain failed to cease. We were also lamenting that we had not purchased the specific ground cloth to our “skinny jean” tent, that allows you to put up the fly first. The fact we considered it “too heavy”, is ironic.
The first plan involved finding tree cover. This was not an option where our days mileage put us. The second was to end a mile earlier at an actual campground, with flat “dry” ground and some cover, but there was an icy river to ford. Third option, pre-stage poles, 4-stakes and ground cloth. Race out to space, spread cloth, stake tent corners, attach poles, spread rain fly… FAST!
Success! It also helped that the rain abated a bit. This allowed us to toss our gear into our tent, “dry”. And so went the night with non-stop rain.