Date- August 20, 2019
Location- side of trail, Great Basin
Elevation- 7,388 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 13.7 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 1,140.8 miles
Weather/Temp- clear, high 80s
Pain level- bad gas
Spirits/Morale- Very hopeful
Wildlife encounters- pronghorn, grouse
Days without shower- 0
Days without laundry- 1
Last night wasn’t too bad. I woke up a few times to go to the bathroom, but I felt like I got a full night’s sleep. I think I drank 2 gallons of water yesterday and over a gallon just this morning.
While running to the post office I ran into another male hiker named “Merlin,” whom I met back in Florida in April through a mutual friend named “AK.” They were on a road trip to start the CDT northbound in New Mexico with one other guy (whose name escapes me). Anyways, we went out for dinner before I wished them well on their journey.
Flash forward several months and AK and the other guy had quit the trail while Merlin had become a flip-flopper and started going south from Canada at the end of June. He’d slowly been catching up (never taking any zeros). Now, after this most current double zero and 13th zero overall, he’d finally caught up.
I offered him the opportunity to go through his resupply package and get a shower in my room before checkout, and he happily agreed. We hung out for a couple hours and caught up before he went on to take care of more town stuff, and I went on to try and get back to the trail.
In the end, I caught a ride with Ungerwear and Smiles! They arrived in town the night before and Unger had a good friend who lived there. He was staying another day, but his friend let him borrow their car to drive Smiles and me back to trail. It all worked out perfectly, and we were back at the trailhead by a little after 1 pm.
I hadn’t hiked with nor seen Smiles since East Glacier at the very beginning of the trail. She had been part of my original trail family through Glacier along with Dale, Nom, and Brian. This was a wonderful mini reunion. We hiked out together for the rest of the day, getting ice cream in the tiny novelty boom town of South Pass City. Then, we had dinner and shared a pizza four miles later in the equally small town of Atlantic City at a small bar called “Miner’s Grubsteak.”
We hiked out of there around 6:30 pm and were officially in the Basin. There would be nothing for the next 114 miles until reaching the town of Rawlins. We hiked 6.2 miles into the desolate landscape before making camp a short distance off the trail above a low depression of land.
Tomorrow at 6 am I will begin my 24 hour challenge. I have my food dialed in, my drinks dialed in, and my electrolytes dialed in. I’m ready for this, despite the hardships of the last few days. The diarrhea has all but stopped, and I’m only left with severe gas and bloating for now. Other than that, I feel strong and have no excuse not to do well.
No punches are being pulled this year and my goal is to break 70 miles for the 24 hour push, and then break 100 miles for a continuous effort without sleep. If I can manage to push the 100 miles, it will put me in Rawlins. These will all be new territories for me and I am very hopeful. However, in all honesty – anything could happen. I’m unbelievably anxious and excited for tomorrow, and barring any unforeseen happenings or events, I think the results will be tremendous. We’ll find out tomorrow.
I’m currently cowboy camped on a sagebrush plain looking up at the clearest sky I’ve seen for this entire journey. The coyotes are out in force, howling for all they’re worth. The Milky Way is shining brightly high above – like my expectations for tomorrow. I’ll see you all on the other side…
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