Distance Traveled Today- 26.8 miles
Distance Traveled Total-
Weather/Temp- clear 70s
Injuries- left knee pulling again
Pain level- low
Wildlife encounters- zero
Human Beings encountered on trail- 6
Thru hikers encountered on trail- 6 nobo
Days without shower- 4
Days without laundry- 9
Dubois was on our minds, so we were able to get our earliest start yet out of the last 4 days…7:45. It helped that it wasn’t terribly cold this morning either. It’s always warmer in the trees, especially the ones that don’t reside in valleys or low spots.
The terrain was more of the same, with a few long but well graded climbs thrown in. The river crossings were a little more intense today. Nothing deep, but the currents were faster than anything we’ve encountered thus far. Stomper had a little trouble crossing a couple with his tender feet.
There’s been a ton of bear scat on and around the trail throughout this entire stretch, but no bears in sight. I still have my bear spray, but I’m looking forward to getting rid of it after the Wind River Mountain Range, which boasts the highest concentration of grizzlies in the country.
Aside from a couple longer breaks between river crossings, we kept a very steady pace and made quick work of the longer climbs. My left knee started hurting again today. It feels like it’s locking out uncontrollably and too quickly at the end of each push off. I haven’t had any recent missteps, so I can only guess it’s stemming from the hyper extension a couple weeks ago. c’est la vie.
The highlight of the day was the final six miles around Brooks Lake and a short descent down to the highway. Brooks Lake along with the surrounding mountains, ranch, and campground made for yet another post card worthy scene.
It was around 7:30 pm when we finished up our nearly 27 miles to the highway. Now we just needed to get a hitch 36 miles to the west into Dubois. As 8 pm approached it began to look a little bleak, but sure enough, an older couple pulled over in their Toyota Tacoma and informed us that they couldn’t leave us to the bears overnight.
With full stomachs we walked down the road to the church that houses hikers for free. It was almost 10pm by the time we ambled through the lit doors to meet three other thru hikers milling around. One of them I knew very well! If you’ve followed my blogs from my other hikes, then you’ve heard me mention the name “CAT.” CAT is an older Chinese, American, Taiwanese (hence the acronym that is his name) man whom I hiked around on the AT, the PCT, and now the CDT. I have now met CAT on every long trail hike I’ve done. He’s very unique on the trail due to the fact that he hikes using a golf club as his trekking pole (a putter to be more precise), and the never of energy and enthusiasm he exudes for being around 70 years old. I ran over and gave him a hug as soon as we walked in, then spent more than an hour catching up and going over the terrain and towns we both had ahead of us. What a pleasant surprise.
My birthday is the day after tomorrow, but I’m not sure if I’m going to take one or two days off. I usually attempt a 24 hour hike on my birthday, but this year I’m going to relax instead. Don’t worry, I’m still going to do a 24 hour hike, but I have the location pre determined. My girlfriend recently made it 62 miles in 24 hours, so the ball is in my court to match or best it. She chose her location very carefully, and so have I. It’ll be within the next week or so that I make my attempt; I have butterflies just thinking about it….