CDT day 58: back into the mountains, thank god

July 1
Mileage: 12.5
1,084 miles hiked

We stay up until eleven watching Terminator II and then I wake at five a.m., even though the curtains block out the sunrise. Is it the full moon? Is the full moon doing this to me? I am so over it! The air conditioner in our room is broken and it’s already stuffy and too-warm. And we’ve got an eleven mile paved roadwalk, along the shoulder of the highway in the heat. Fuck, this is going to be a long day.

Not with enough caffeine though! After town errands (I bounce my tights, gloves and stove to southern Wyoming- will I regret this?) I drink massive quantities of iced tea and eat tacos at Taco Time, Track Meat, Spark and I huddled under the air conditioner in the corner. Then there is this and that to do, visiting junk shops in town to oggle the taxidermy there, buying an inflatable frog floatie meant for a child (for river crossings! I joke), and by the time we’re walking out of town it’s two p.m.

You know what doesn’t suck? Hitching eleven miles of hot, shadeless paved roadwalk. So now I’ve skipped a total of seventeen miles. Add it to my tab. Only god can judge me!

Our ride drops us off where the CDT leaves the paved highway and joins a dirt road that winds up into the mountains. The high granite mountains! With their damp meadows of paintbrush and lupine! And pikas in the rockpiles! And secret lakes!

Twelve miles later we are at one such lake, Storm Lake, pumped full of endorphins from the climb and eating our dinners on the grassy bank watching the light move over the glassy water. We’re back at eight thousand feet, and it’s much cooler up here. I’m so glad to be out of the baking valley! The mosquitos bump against us idly. I’m eating cold-soaked spinach/kale and hotdogs wrapped in misson gluten-free tortillas that are made from chemicals. For dessert I might have some chocolate hazelnut butter- the good kind, not nutella. Life is pretty sweet after all.

Photos on instagram