July 13-15: Zero miles
Dew Boyz? Yes that is how they pronounce Dubois, here in Dew Boyz, Wyoming. It’s believed that it’s in defiance of the postal service rejecting the residents choice of ‘Never Sweat’ for their town’s name in the late 1800’s. A prominent Idaho senator (Fred Dubois) last name was used instead. Partially true. Dubois was often referred to as ‘Never Sweat’, as in, What’s that town where you never sweat? Dubois has a moderately dry spring/summer temperature. It’s like Goldilock’s porridge, just right. According to Liz (the Black Bear Inn owner/operator), “it’s true, you practically never sweat here in Dubois”. In reality, the residents submitted, in 1889, the name ‘Tibo’. It’s the nickname the Shoshone gave the Episcopal missionary who ministered to them. It was assumed it was in recognition of the native Americans/residents of the town/area and their minister. With the name Tibo summarily rejected, Fred Dubois, an Idaho senator, who was involved with the territory’s postal service, used his last name instead to name the town. Wait. What? Dubois? Seriously? Yup. The “proper” French pronunciation is ‘Dew Bwaa’. As a snub to the name, the residents took to pronouncing it Dew Boyz. It has stuck ever since.
When we were dropped off at the Black Bear Inn in Dubois, we were thankful we landed here. It was like being dropped off at “summer camp”. Liz and her staff make you feel right at home. Extra towels? Soap? Ice? A bucket to soak your feet…in ice? Massaging foot bath with Epsom salt? History lesson about Dubois? Best places to eat? Fish? Find arnica flowers for pain salve? Want to watch a movie? (The Black Bear Inn has hundreds to choose from). Every night is a campfire and S’mores, by the Wind river (that borders the Inn and runs through Dubois), where the attending guests share their day’s activities and often a little about themselves. It’s a “community” of sorts, that makes you want to return again and again. If you have the time and the money, it has the makings of a pleasant Vortex.
While we hadn’t initially planned on being in Dubois, it was a necessary stop. Here we arranged our permits for Yellowstone over the phone, twice (more on that later). While we really didn’t have cell reception, the WiFi at the Inn was excellent. This allowed me to catch up a bit on my CDT posts while soaking my lower legs in icy Epsom salt.
Now let’s talk about town food. Of note, Wednesdays in Dubois is not a good day to eat “out”. Only one restaurant is open for evening dining, for the most part. But if you like classic middle America Diner food, with an awesome waitress/owner, the Village Cafe is your place. Any other day,(pay attention to opening and closing times) you have your choice of:
- Cowboy Cafe (everything is excellent)
- Noon Rock Pizza (good pizza, PBR, what more could one ask for?)
- The Perch Coffee House (for coffee drinkers that appreciate a good cup of Joe)
- Lone Buffalo Steak House (gotta make reservations)
- The Moose Outpost (yum burgers and shakes…from what I’ve been told)
- Dubois Super Foods (grocery store with fresh foods and a great place to resupply out of, if you need it)
The morning after we arrived into Dubois, 9 other CDT hikers rolled into town…and the Black Bear Inn. Two we knew and recognized from our 2014 PCT thru-hike (Chimp and Raindance).
That year, Raindance became the first woman to YoYo the PCT (Mexico to Canada and back). We met them in Kennedy Meadows and saw them again in Cascade Locks when Raindancer was on her way back. Somehow we thought we had “caught up” to them. I know. Funny, right? Also in town were Coins and Timber.
Turns out Timber and I had been corresponding through Facebook on Messenger before we all started, when the Covid thing happened. And so, the world shrinks evermore.
Two others were Google and Bear Magnet. Google has a YouTube channel, SaunterBeyond. While foraging for food in town, we also ran into The Wander Women, who also have a YouTube channel. We had been using their videos as intel for our legs as they were at least a week ahead of us.
Now when we rolled into Dubois, my feet, and especially my right ankle required some serious antigravity/elevation time, and the purchase of more KT Tape. Ibuprofen and the Epsom salt soak pretty much reduced the pain, and most of the inflammation. We thought a day and a half off would be enough and had arranged with Liz to get a ride to the Brooks Lake Lodge to get our resupply and get back on trail. But, when I awoke the morning of the 15th, my feet were so swollen they looked like calloused blocks of wood that I could barely get into my shoes. No walking was going to be done on these inflated, cartoonist feet. Luckily we had the funds to stay another night, and Liz had the room. We were also able to change our entry/camping permits for Yellowstone (a “bonus” in this sparse hiking COVID summer). This time a dose of Benadryl was added to OTC inflammation “cocktail”. More ice. More Epsom salt. This allowed us to watch the Wander Women’s Yellowstone post. Apparently there’s a section that involves walking through a mile of shin deep mud. Not good. Considering the current condition of both our shoes, the likelihood of making it to new shoes at the post office in Old Faithful Village a hundred plus miles away was slim to none. Slim for mine. None for Paul. Both our shoes were torn where the fabric meets the sole. The Wind River Range and Wind River Valley were more than rough on our footwear. At Liz’s suggestion we toddled over to the town’s thrift store, The Opportunity Shop. Paul needed a pair of shoes to last at least 100 miles.
I was hoping to find new pants/shorts (they had a significant “ventilation” tear in the seat that I had repaired with duct tape) and maybe a pair of used Crocs that fit my expanded feet.
Paul found a gently used pair of bright orange laced Nike running shoes. I found some ugly, but functional Crocs. New pants would be found at the Wind River Gear shop. I chose pants because I was tired of my legs being a feeding ground for mosquitos and biting flies. And, the growing collection of bleeding scratches and scaring from wayward tree limbs and scratchy vegetation via our daily bushwacks was getting old.
I gotta say that the pants I chose (Naulo 5 pocket trail pant), made by Sherpa are awesome. Tough. Comfortable stretch. Lightweight. Quick dry. I would have preferred a lighter color to reduce heat absorption, but sometimes you take what you can get.
An extra day did the trick and the morning of the 16th we were back on trail. I had grabbed a pair of La Sportiva inserts and added them to my seriously tired Hoka Challenger ATR 5’s.
With any luck they will last till Old Faithful Village. But then it would be my luck to walk out of the soles during our upcoming stretch of mud.