Date- August 26, 2019
Location- Next to road
Elevation- 8,087 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 30.6 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 1,279.5 miles
Weather/Temp- clear, 70s
Injuries- tender feet
Pain level- moderate
Spirits/Morale- Almost to Colorado!
Wildlife encounters- Pronghorn, horny toads, dead rattlesnake
Days without shower- 1
Days without laundry- 2
Today was duller than dirt – all 30 miles were done on paved highway/road .
I was out of the room by 8:30 am – finishing breakfast at Subway by 9. It was about 9:45 when I was across town hiking under the train tracks and back into the desert.
There was a dead prairie rattlesnake on the side of the road immediately outside of town. I was reminded that the only two rattlesnakes I’ve seen on this trail at anytime have both been roadkill. Sad.
It wasn’t a terribly hot day, but it was a terribly sunny day. I didn’t overheat or sweat profusely on the road. However, I could feel the sun baking my exposed arms. I didn’t see another hiker, and even the traffic on the highway was sparse. In 2017 this road was gravel; now it is freshly paved black asphalt.
I hiked over 15 miles and stopped next to a reservoir for a half hour break to snack and drink a bit. I didn’t get any water from that source. The reservoir water was supposed to be good for drinking, but I didn’t like the color (or foam) on the surface. Luckily I had packed out 4 liters of water when I left town earlier. I was determined to complete the entire 37 miles of road-walking without getting any road-side water. This was a stretch, but I left town super hydrated. The water I had on hand was loaded down with electrolytes.
Originally, I wanted to knock out the entire road walk today. Unfortunately, I only got a little over 30 miles before my feet and brain couldn’t take anymore asphalt. At the top of a long climb (a little after 7 pm) I hopped over a barbed wire fence and bedded down in some scrub – out of sight from the road.
Although it can be stressful at times, I welcome finding stealth camp spots. There’s nothing more exciting than finding an obscure (out of sight spot) that’s within the vicinity of lots of activity – like a road. There’s just something exciting about the risk of getting discovered, but not getting caught.
It’s getting dark fast and coyotes have taken up their cries. A little over 31 miles remain before reaching the next road into the town of Encampment. I’m gonna try and get there with enough time to hitch. We’ll see…
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