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CDT WY Section 2 Off-trail

Day 108: Pinedale

I started packing at 6am, and it was decently warm inside my tent, so I had no reason to stall except general sleepiness. I sent a message to my mom at 7:40 saying I was about to hike out and expect me between 11:10 and 12:10.

The first few miles were steep rolling hills along lakes and streams. Very beautiful. At one point, I stepped on a rolling rock crossing a creek and wiped out. Luckily, I was able to keep most of my body on top of a large rock, only getting my arms wet up to my elbows and whatever the splash hit when my arms plunged into the water. My feet stayed basically dry. I couldn’t quite see through my sunglasses for the next mile until they dried though. I was in too much of a hurry to stop and take them off to wipe them.

Since this side trail was not routed on Guthook and the map tiles were not downloaded, I asked almost everyone I passed how far the trailhead was. Some people had smartwatches tracking their distance hiked since they left and could give me reasonably precise distances. I used those answers to calculate my pace and get a better estimate of when I would arrive. Some just guessed, and one guy actually said “you’re about an hour away” as if he knew how fast I was hiking after seeing me for fifteen seconds. My first thought was “I asked how far not how long. How can I calculate my pace from that?” My second thought was “Well, this trail has gotten a lot flatter and gentler; there’s no way it’s going to be a whole hour until I get there.”

When I was a bit over a mile from the trailhead, I passed Ronnie (Rani?) from Israel, another long distance hiker heading into town. As I had decided to skip my morning snack break thanks to my fast pace, I made it to the trailhead at 10:50. Mom and Gail were already there with the car for some reason. After some pictures, Ronnie arrived and we offered him a ride into town. There was going to be a picnic lunch, but I wasn’t into it, and there didn’t seem to be any good spots. So we put Ronnie out next to the visitor’s center and went back to the cabin.

For me it was a shower, a change of clothes, and a sandwich on the back deck for lunch. Then, we were off to the laundromat on the other side of town. The large load washer in the laundromat wasn’t spinning properly and the whole laundromat was flooded. So not only was the attendant overworked trying to push water out the door because the builders had failed to put in a floor drain but also I couldn’t wash my sleeping bag. The other laundromat in town didn’t even have a large load washer. I did get all my clothes washed though.

Anyway, I decided to buy a new sleeping bag. At the town’s only store with backpacking gear. I decided on a very light Thermarest bag that even came with a compression sack. The down was treated with a hydrophobic coating to prevent it from clumping. It was very expensive. I also got new trekking poles.

Then to Ridley’s, the grocery store, for Nuun immunity, doggie bags (substituted by small trash bags since that’s the best they had), Gatorade (for breakfast), and wet wipes. Finally, the errands were done. I still had a lot of blog posts and pictures to upload (having only done three at the laundromat) but I could keep working on that over dinner at the Wind River Brewing Company.

The beer was fine, but the enormous Greek salad I got was incredible, the brisket street tacos hit the spot, and the avocado dip appetizer was perfect with crispy herb baguettes, carrots and celery. Hungry yet? I certainly wasn’t by the time we finished.

After a long three hour repose there, it was back to the cabin, where the party of Ridley’s managers and employees next door was going full swing. So much grilling and noise. Too noisy to work on the blog on the back deck. I switched to packing up my resupply while waiting on a long Google Drive upload to free up some storage on this site for more pictures. By around 9pm, it was time for bed, and I had pretty much gotten everything ready and in place that I needed to hike out, including washing my bottle and a long backflush of my filter.

The party next door didn’t seem to realize it was bed time however. Yes, when we turned off the porch light, they convinced the kids to stop screaming random noises into the karaoke machine, but we heard boisterous sounds, like a powerful adult male blowhard, coming straight through our shared wall for at least another couple of hours. When I had uploaded all the blog posts I had to, I pulled out my headphones and listened to a podcast so that I could fall asleep in spite of the noise. All in all, it was a great little cabin but not so great luck with the neighbors.

9 miles hiked, but none on trail.

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