Location- Teton Reservoir
Elevation- 7,165 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 28.4 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 1,234.7 mild
Weather/Temp- extreme wind, clouds, rain
Pain level- none
Spirits/Morale- fine just fine
Wildlife encounters- Pronghorn, deer
Days without shower- 1
Days without laundry- 2
After tidying up my room a bit from three nights of thru hikers, I was ready to start my day. I still had a section I needed to complete between Rawlins, and where I hitched in to Rawlins. So the day began with an incredibly dull but windy 13 or so mile road walk down Hwy 287. It rained on me four times, but not enough to soak me.
Once I reached the junction where I’d originally hitched in around 2pm, I began trying to hitch back into Rawlins. It didn’t take long for a large pickup with a middle aged man behind the wheel to pull over and give me a lift. Robert was on his way home from the oil rigs and was looking forward to some nice R&R. He dropped me off at the post office per my request.
After sending a few things home, I ambled over to the Thai buffet for one last Hoorah. There I met three other thru hikers whom I’d originally first ran into back in Lander, not too long ago. Their names are “OG,” “Merlin,” and “Hummingbird.” Hummingbird was the only female, as well as the girlfriend of Merlin. The couple was from west New York, in the buffalo area, while OG is from south Carolina. This is OG’s triple crown hike, but the other two’s first thru hike. They invited me to join their table, before further inviting me to hike out with them until we caught up to my other group (whom they are also familiar and friends with). I obliged.
So at a little after 3 pm, the four of us hit the trail south again. More paved roads, and more gravel roads for the next more than 30 miles. No sooner had we left, the weather took a turn for the extreme. Around 2 miles out of town, the wind really began to pick up. I’m fairly familiar with predicting oncoming winds due to the time I’ve spent on and around the water and scheduling my fishing times around them.
As we made our way up the road, fighting the already strong winds, I noticed some rolling clouds. Rolling clouds always mark a strong wind line or wall of stronger oncoming wind. I was in charge of spotting/looking out for them when I worked on parasail boats. They’re dangerous.
I warned my new companions; “Get ready, there’s a stronger wall of wind coming.” I took off my hat in anticipation, and the winds struck about ten seconds later. When the gust hit at more than 40 mph, it blew one of Hummingbird’s water bottles clear out of the compression side pocket on her pack. One second we’d been hiking into a strong head wind, the next we were leaning hard and straining to stay upright.
A hard rain blew against us for several minutes, but no sooner did it stop, we were dry. We managed to dodge further showers, however we could see the individual cells sweeping across the plains and plateaus. You almost felt like you could avoid them if you really wanted, but that was only an illusion. The wind continued its bombardment for a couple more hours before abating.
We managed 15 miles down the road by 7pm and called it a day near a roadside reservoir and BLM campground. The wind has picked up again and the skies look ominous, but I’m one step ahead. Rather than fight the weather, I’ve set up camp on another privy porch. There’s nobody else here, so I’m not terribly worried about getting in the way. I have three walls to block the wind, and a roof over my head for any rain. I might as well be living the good life out here in my outhouse mansion with a porch and a view.
I’ve truly enjoyed the high desert, basin landscape, but I’ve just about had enough of it too. It’s the exposure that’s getting to me. There’s no where to hide or take cover. You can’t even take a shit without someone being able to spot you from two miles away. I look forward to seeing and being amongst the trees again. I sound like a little Fern Gully fairy…