CDT day 85: a perfect day

July 28
Mileage: 32.5
1550 miles hiked

We wake up to shelters crusted in ice and water partially frozen in our bottles. How did this happen? July in Wyoming. Go home weather, you’re drunk.

This weather feels nice once we start walking, though. Cool and crisp and sunny, and the trail climbs gently along the forested ridge. We’re wearing all our layers. We pretend it’s a brisk fall day in Maine.

We make up an alternate partway through the morning- the trail makes a big arc to go around a steep rock bluff but we decide to go up and over it. Its steep scree but the scree is big and it feels safe and fun to maneuver on. Once on top we’re warm from all the climbing, and we have a sense of accomplishment. Hiking is fun!

I feel freaking fantastic today- I slept like a log in the cold last night. And I’m starting to feel strong again. I’m carrying 6 days of food, the most food I’ve ever carried at once, but oddly my pack doesn’t feel too bad. The elevation profile continues to be gentle and kind- there are faded jeep tracks along rolling ridges, broad lumpy fields of waving brown grass with trail that comes and goes. Springs, small clear streams that trickle through the grass. Thank goodness for Wyoming.

At lunchtime the temperature peaks at a balmy fifty degrees. We sit next to a pond wrapped in our sleeping bags eating strange combinations of junk food, watching our shelters dry where we’ve spread them on the grass. Afterwards I listen to Willie Nelson’s Stardust cover album as I plod through the meadows and fields, the ragged peaks of the Tetons on the far horizon.

Time goes by so slowly
And time can do so much

Camp is at Lake of the Woods, a largish lake spotted with lily pads, the waxing moon reflecting off its surface. Track Meat is there when I arrive, building a fire in the fire ring. We rarely build fires, but what a genius idea! The temperature is already plummeting and we huddle around the fire, absorbing the magic heat and consuming our underwhelming dinners. Ah, winter camping. A loon or something is calling in the woods. I am happy!

Photos on instagram