I had planned to do a late bout of sewing before leaving camp, so I started getting up at 6 when there was enough light to sew by, only to discover that my needle had disappeared. I had stuck it in a pocket with a small pencil in my repair kit because it had a tendency to poke through the side when attached to the thread spool, but now it wasn’t there. It wasn’t anywhere. I got a late start for nothing, and my things will have to go unsewn for another week.
I didn’t make it out of camp until 8:30, and I didn’t make it back to the CDT until 9. But I did a decent job hiking for the first few hours. Almost right off the bat, though, Andrew (Secret Squirrel) passed me and went flying up the hill in his ultralight pack. The last time I saw him he was just reaching the top of Lester Pass as I was approaching the bottom. It’s incredible that he wasn’t already way ahead of me. I think he must hike fast but take a lot of zeroes. I might see him again.
Soon I arrived at Pole Creek, knee-deep and very wide at the trail. I scrambled through rocks and bushes upstream for a while looking for a rock hop, but it was a waste of time. I went back to the trail and took off my boots.
On the other side, I found a bag of food someone had left behind. Summer sausage, uncured Canadian bacon, cheddar jack sticks, and a ball of mozzarella. I ate half the mozzarella and packed the rest out. Whether I eat it or not, I couldn’t just leave it there beside the trail to rot. That’s as bad as littering myself.
I stopped for lunch and water collection just after that, and though I was there for basically an hour and a half, I felt a lot better hiking out than when I arrived. Also, I stripped a twist tie I didn’t realize I had for the wire and used it to hold my gaiter together in lieu of sewing.
It was 3pm and I’d only done 5.5 miles of the CDT. I would have liked to hike a lot faster, but the trail was just steep climbs followed by steep descents all afternoon, with frequent detours to avoid blowdowns. By 5pm, I had only done another 4 miles. It looked like it was just going to have to be one of those “I’ll do better tomorrow” days. I stopped for supper.
When it was time to start eating, Cliff Richards and Lost Keys rolled up. They had spent two days in Pinedale just before I’d gone in, hitching to and from the Green River Lakes trailhead. They had then gone over Knapsack Col as well. And then they had camped at Island Lake and spent all morning swimming in it, not hiking out until 10am. Since I had taken two effective zeroes in Pinedale as well and a poor day of progress, that put us in roughly the same place, vowing to go further the next day. I pulled out the meat and cheese I found and they wanted to carry the cheese. I let them have it to lighten my load, even though it was pretty good mozzarella. If I see them again, I’ll see if they can give me a needle in return.
They went on, then I went on after supper. I climbed over Hat Pass, one more long climb for the day. Soon I felt some straps tapping the backs of my legs and took off my pack to find I had left the lower compartment open after taking out the meat and cheese. As everything there was further stuffed into the packing cube that was too wide to fall out, I hadn’t lost anything, but I surely would have before I bought that. Halfway down the other side, I turned aside to cross a wet meadow and make camp in a bowl ringed with trees on the other side. It was 8 when I got into the tent. With the great weather, I knew I had no excuse not to get up with the first alarm in the morning, and the trail ahead seemed a lot less hilly. Bigger miles would come.
Trail miles: 12.8
Distance to Lander: 68.0 miles