Mayor’s 2019 Redemption Hike CDT Day 52

CDT Redemption Hike 2019-The Big Picture-MOOn

Day- 52
Date- August 10
Location- Green River Campground
Elevation- 7,972 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 40.6 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 1,013.3 miles
Weather/Temp- cloudy, overcast, drizzle, clear, windy, 60s, 70s
Injuries- slightly tender feet
Pain level- low
Spirits/Morale- Confident
Wildlife encounters- bobcat
Days without shower- 2
Days without laundry- 2
Hunger/craving- Good pizza

Thoughts/Stories-

Crossed the 1,000 miles hiked mark with a bang! Also entered the gateway of the Wind River Range with a bang. Completed my first 40-mile day of this current hike with a bang. So I guess you could say it was a bang-up day!I nearly froze to death last night in the little meadow that Jetpack chose for us to camp in. I almost deferred to a thicker grouping of trees a little further away, but my optimism got the best of me and I thought I might be “Ok.” Nah, I shivered awake from about 1 am to 5 am. It was a long night, but I ended up with a good 4 hours sleep overall, so it wasn’t so bad.As I lay in the hammock this morning trying to psyche myself up for the freezing cold embrace that awaited me outside, I studied the day and terrain ahead of me on my maps. As it were, I was almost exactly 40 miles from Green River Lake Campground. That is just over 40 miles. I admit, had it been 39 or 38 miles, I probably wouldn’t have considered it. But, it was just over the magic 40… irresistible.

Daily Plan

It was already almost 8 am when I made up my mind that I was going to do 40 miles into Green River Lake. I was planning to hitch into the town of Pinedale (50 miles away from there anyway), so I could do the 40 and then only have to hitch in the morning instead of hike. Work hard, rest harder.In all honesty, the first half of this day was duller than dirt. I moved quickly and practiced my poetry for most of the time. The two longer poems I have left to memorize are “The Cremation of Sam McGee” and “The Wild is Calling.” I imagine I’ll need a week to master each.It was cold, windy, overcast, and drizzly for the first 6 hours of the day as I cruised at a little over 3 miles per hour. I invented a new trail mix in Duboise that I was experimenting with. It’ll knock your teeth out… literally. Bear with me now, and try not to puke. The trail mix ingredients are: Sour Brite Gummy Worms and Candy Corn. That’s it. Potent combination – both flavor wise and sugar rush wise. Try it… I dare you!At 2:30 pm I caught Jetpack with around 21 miles already completed. I hiked with her for 15 minutes and let her know my plans before hiking on.I can’t convey how strong I felt today. It was as if my legs and feet felt nothing. They just kept moving as fast as I wanted/needed them to, with no sign or feeling of fatigue or soreness over any terrain. Whether this be from actually getting stronger… or nerve damage – who knows? I don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, I just ride it.While traversing the perimeter of a thickly forested lake, I saw the back of some creature cross the trail at the top of a slight rise. It wasn’t very big. I couldn’t tell what it was offhand, so I bounded up the rise in a loping run to try to get a better look. The creature froze just off the right side of the trail for a split second as it looked at me. It was a bobcat! It was black and gray, knob tailed, long whiskers, and tufts of fur coming off the tips of its ears. This one was smaller for a bobcat, and darker than most I’ve seen. It was also moving very slowly in what might be described as a very low to the ground, crouching, stalking, walk. I tried to get a video as it slunk away, but the forest was too thick and it was gone before I could train the camera.This was the first bobcat I can remember seeing on a thru-hike. I’ve seen many while driving in Florida, but never during a hike. I once had an ocelot jump onto a trail right in front of me while hiking in central Texas, but no bobcats. So, another wilderness predator sighted and checked off the list!

I pushed onwards quickly and relentlessly and by 5 mins to 8pm I had 33 miles completed and was standing atop Gunsight Pass at 10,100 feet, watching the sun set behind the Tetons to the west. This spot held some significance to me. Unofficially… this was the end of Grizzly country. They say there are Grizzlies in the Wind River Range, but I’ve never seen sign of them or met anyone who has. I’m sure there’s one somewhere, but I doubt I’ll ever see it. All I’ve seen in the Winds is the ass end of a Black Bear… as it ran away. So, after carrying a 12oz can of bear spray that I haven’t needed for over a thousand miles, I figured it was time I got my money’s worth.I popped the safety and dumped the whole thing into the air against the glare of the setting sun. It went off without a hitch until I re-gripped the now empty bottle to discover that quite a bit of mace had condensed around the nozzle and dripped down the front of the canister. These drippings were now on both my hands, staining them orange.Needless to say, I treated my hands like poisonous snakes from that moment on. However, if I know myself – and I think I do… I was positively certain that mace was going to end up somewhere else on my body before all was said and done.From the top of the pass, I had 7.5 miles to go and about an hour of usable daylight. Within four of those miles (after washing my hands in a spring), I had the burning sensation of bear mace on my stomach, on and in my left ears, on my upper lip, in my nostrils, on my right butt cheek, on my left calf, and on the inside of my upper left thigh. It wasn’t miserable or painful, but I did feel it, and it certainly didn’t feel good. It was definitely diluted – thankfully!!I emerged from pitch black conifer forest onto a barren ridge with a little over 3 miles to go. Finally out of the trees, I could see the land by the light of the Waxing Gibbous Moon. Far below, I could see the moonlight shimmering off the surface of Green River Lake… as the perfect ridge-line silhouette of the northern terminus of the Wind River Mountain Range flared above. I stopped, sat down, and for the better part of 20 minutes just took it all in – the moon, the few bright stars, the lake, the mountains, the darkness, the stillness.As I sat there, a pack of coyotes took to calling somewhere in the sagebrush valley below. Most were making gibberish cackles, but one was letting out a howl every 10 to 15 seconds. I howled back. The gibberish stopped, but the howler continued. I howled longer than it did, and then it began to howl longer too. This went on for a couple minutes before the mountains and valley fell back to silence.This may all sound hopelessly romantic and surreal – but I assure you it was nothing more special than a lunatic standing on a ridge howling dreadful animal noises into the darkness, giving all the real animals an even realer fright. Trust me.As I cruised down the mountain through the sagebrush and the odd Aspen grove with nothing but the moon to light my way, I was startled almost out of my skin by… well, I don’t really know what… I was a mile and a half from the lake when very suddenly the sound of a wheezing, barking cough sounded in my left ear – not more than 15 yards away. I jumped and turned on my headlamp, shining it in the direction of the noise. I could see nothing. Something snorted at me, much in the way a deer or moose might snort a warning. I was looking right at the sound, but couldn’t see anything – no eye shine, no shape, nothing. The snort came 4 more times before I moved on quickly, giving up on discovering the source. It was close, but I have no idea what it was. Maybe a pronghorn, mule deer, or moose. Good hider, whatever it was.

https://boundlessroamad.com/20190810_200238-mp4/

It was a little before 11 pm when I crossed the wooden bridge over the Green River and rolled into the remote campground parking lot. Realistically, I feel like I could hike another ten miles. I have no foot pain, leg pain, or fatigue. I don’t understand it. I turn 30 in two weeks and I feel stronger than I ever was throughout my twenties in almost every way. Crazy, but not too unusual I think…Being in a valley, next to a river, with not many trees and unpredictable weather – I wasn’t thrilled with my camping prospects. So I did something I’ve done in the past; I went to investigate the trailhead “vault privy” (fancy wilderness outhouse). Usually nothing more than a concrete square with a toilet over a deep hole. Protected from rain, wind, and the worst of the cold, vault privys make a fantastic shelter in a pinch. I wasn’t in a pinch tonight, but I sure could go for convenient and comfortable, over freezing my ass off and waking up to excessive condensation again.So here I am, sleeping in a wilderness shitter tonight – and a nice one at that! I’d give it 5 out of 5 stars on my vault privy rating scale. It’s clean, mostly odorless, not a lot of spiders, no gaps for mice to get in, and even planked up with logs instead of concrete on the inside. This is a win.I’ll attempt to hitch into Pinedale tomorrow morning and try to get out of this privy as early as possible. Don’t judge me!

https://boundlessroamad.com/20190810_230216-mp4/

You can read my current and past posts, and see my photos by clicking this link and going to Boundlessroamad.com

Go to CDT Day 53.

Go to CDT Day 1

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