Date- August 23, 2019
Location- Rawlins, Wyoming
Elevation- 6,699 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 12.4 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 1,232.1 miles
Weather/Temp- partly cloudy, 70s
Injuries- Sorest feet I’ve ever had.
Pain level- severe
Wildlife encounters- pronghorn
Days without shower- 0
Days without laundry- 5
Jetpack and I were hiking by a little after 6 am; she was about 15 minutes ahead of me. My feet weren’t as bad as yesterday, but they still hurt worse than they ever have before. Even worse than Pennsylvania on the AT.
It was still 28 miles to walk into Rawlins. I truly don’t think I could have done it without causing damage to myself. I have a pretty good threshold for pain, but I know when I’m crossing a line. It was clear that if I didn’t get off my feet soon and give them time to rest and recover, I was going to end up with an overuse injury, a stress fracture, or worse.
I hobbled the 12.4 miles to where the trail briefly ran into a highway before trailing back off into the desert where it snakes its way into Rawlins (15 miles or so later). The plan was to hitch in from the highway, take a day to rest, then hike north out of town to connect our footprints to where we hitched in previously. We’ll then hitch back to Rawlins and hike south out of town.
What a Trooper
Jetpack was moving at my pace for the last 5 miles to the highway, so we arrived together a little after 10 am. I took a seat on the side of the road, and she began hitching. The third vehicle to come by pulled over – it was a State Trooper.
I thought he was going to reprimand us at first, but was pleasantly surprised when he offered us a ride into town. This was my second hitch with law enforcement in my thru-hiking career. Jetpack got the front seat while I was jammed into the back cage with my pack on my lap. It was awesome!
We had lunch at a Thai buffet and split a room. Merlin came over to hang out. I was surprised to see him in town so soon. As it were, he had bailed out of the Basin early due to shin splints. He caught a hitch into Rawlins and was calling it quits on the trail. He’d had enough.
All in all, there were about 5 to 6 hikers who ended their hikes while in (or just after) the Basin. Those are just the ones I know about, who were in my vicinity. The Great Divide Basin is a funny place. It’s easy, yet it’s indescribably difficult. The Basin means something different to everyone. It has a different effect on everyone – both physically and mentally. If you’re already close to cracking, the Basin will certainly widen and lengthen the cracks. I’m sorry to see them go.
I’ve got my feet elevated now, and I don’t want to be on them for as long as I can manage. On another note, I turn 30 tomorrow…
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