Wow, I am way behind on blog posts right now. I suppose it’s a good thing to be doing more stuff this summer than spending time writing about it.
Last week, Dylan and Ann started their month long walk across the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) in Wyoming. They left from the boarder of Colorado and Wyoming on the morning of July 1st, and hope to be crossing the boarder of Wyoming and Idaho, about 550 miles of trail later, on the 29th. How crazy and awesome is that?!
Dylan is a great blogger, and will be posting maps and details of their epic hike on his blog. I highly recommend checking it out.
As the start of their trail was essentially “in my neighborhood,” and I haven’t seen Dylan and Ann in months, I took a few days off of work and drove up to see them off. Mark couldn’t get any extra vacation, so I did this trip on my own, which made it extra adventurous for me. I don’t travel by myself very much, so the three hour trip across empty, wild, Wyoming, and a night of sleeping in a tent by myself, were a novel and welcome experience.
I felt inspired to make some nice photography on this trip, so be sure to check out the gallery page.
The CDT crosses the boarder of Colorado into Wyoming just south of Encampment, WY, which is a quiet, beautiful, mountainous area that I have never visited. When I arrived on Tuesday afternoon, most of the group had gone out to kayak and swim in Hog Park Reservoir, a beautiful mountain lake just off the boarder. We stayed at Bottle Creek Campground, where we were the only campers.
The area has been hit hard by bark beetles. I’ve never seen a forest so brown with dead trees in my life. Certainly more than half of the trees, across large swaths of the forest, were orange-brown and crispy. It looked a bit like a fall view, until you remember that these are evergreen trees, and your heart sinks.
Dylan and Ann and their friend Pete were all ready for their long hike. We hung out Tuesday night, talked logistics and plans, played with cool new ultra-light gear, discussed the trail over the first week and the tasty Thai restaurant in Rawlins, WY. On Wednesday morning, we roused at 6am, and were on the road towards the boarder before 7a. The 30 miles of dirt road to the boarder took about an hour to drive, and the happy, hardcore hikers got on the trail around 8:30a on the morning of July 1st! Bon Voyage, mes amis!
After they walked off into the mountains, I rode back to the campground with Ann’s wonderful parents, talking about tropical meteorology the whole way, and then started on my way home. This time, instead of driving across the wide open plains on I-80, I decided to take WY-130 through the Snowy Range on my way home. This turned out to be a great decision.
This little road drives right over the crest of the Snowy Range, a beautiful group of mountains just west of Laramie. The road tops out near 11,000ft, it’s not quite as high as Trail Ridge, but it feels very close. I didn’t get much hiking in, as several parking lots were still filled with 10ft drifts of snow, and several trails were lost under huge drifts, still, on the first day of July.
But I drove over the mountains, I enjoyed the views, I made some photographs, and I vowed to come back.