CDT day 84: snow in July

July 27
Mileage: 3
1517.5 miles hiked

I wake up at 2 a.m. in our motel room, thinking it’s morning. But it’s only… 2 a.m. I’m awake for a while in the dark, answering emails and doing errands on my phone. Everything piles up when I’m in the woods, unawares- it piles up and piles up, and then when I get to town and have reception it’s like a deluge. I think of the main character in the Dave Eggars book The Circle, and how she would “open the chute” every morning at her desk job. It feels like that.

I wake again and it’s morning. I feel like another version of myself in hotel rooms- clean but wearing dirty clothes, hair fluffy, sunburn washed off. This version of myself goes to the cafe in front of the hotel for breakfast. The Kowabunga Bandits, freshly laundered, order huge plates of sausage and eggs. The cafe is also a donut shop, and many donuts are consumed. I am now in a glutenfog. Then begins the hustle and bustle of a town day.

We do so many things, and yet by the time we hitch out at 6 p.m. all the things are not even done. My backpack feels crazy heavy- this next stretch to Lander, Wyoming through the Wind River range is 165 miles, the longest resupply any of us have ever done. We want to do the section in 5.5. days, but we’re carring 6 days of food just in case. It feels like there’s an anvil on my back. Fuck! How do regular backpackers do this? There are two really cool alternates in this section, that are the same length as the CDT and that most everyone does- Knapsack Col and Cirque de Towers. I think about these words as I pack up. Col. What is a “col”? And towers! This section is supposed to be really difficult, and most people bring at least seven days of food- but hey, we did Montana. Every day that passes in blissful gentle Wyoming makes me more fully aware of how hard Montana actually was. So much steep climbing, never ever flat. I think my blog posts in Montana actually got pretty negative for a while- especially when I had giardia. Sorry about that folks. Sometimes shit is just bummersville.

“Are you sure you want to hitch out tonight?” Says the woman who gives us a ride back to the trail. “It’s supposed to get down to 33 degrees.”

“Yes?” We say, knowing she means in Dubois- it’ll be even colder at the pass, up where the trail is. At the pass we shoulder our packs and set out- we’re wearing all of our layers and a frigid wind is blowing. We hike just a few miles to water and set up our shelters in the trees. Soon the sun is blocked by great dark clouds and presently it begins to snow. Bitter cold snowflakes, falling down around us. I realize as I’m eating my cold-soaked quinoa dinner mush that I forgot to check the weather, and I have no idea how long this cold front will last. I wonder what this section will bring…

Photos on instagram