Day 115: Lander
So I woke up at 6 and went down to have breakfast in the breakfast room. I did not return to the room with Mama and Gail for hours. I did not want to be in a hurry about anything.
When I came up and got my boots on to walk to the Safeway next door to get my resupply, they insisted on going with me. Apparently, it’s really fun to walk around a grocery store?
So that’s where we went. Out the back and across the divider to the grocery store. I ended up only buying three bags worth of stuff, having the rest of what I needed in the room already. I also grabbed a lime mint coconut kombucha to drink immediately.
I started packing up my food in the hotel room and finally decided I wanted to take a zero. It had been a month since I had had a day entirely dedicated to not moving. This was good timing to make this decision as it was nearing check out time. Mama went to add another night to the room (thanks!) but Gail and she both kept packing. They were on a fixed schedule to return to Georgia and wouldn’t be staying. Which meant that I could have some considerable downtime, but downtime never feels down unless you’re alone. But it also meant finding my own way back to the trail.
Anyway, they didn’t have to leave town immediately, so they drove me to the used gear store to sell my bear spray, the new gear store for gaiters, back to the the hotel when I realized I didn’t bring the socks I meant to exchange, the pharmacy next door for some immodium when that continued problem delayed leaving the hotel again, back to the outfitter to pick up the gaiters and trade for some new socks, then to a coffee shop / bakery for a long, chill lunch. Finally, they took me back to the hotel and we parted ways in the room.
I didn’t do anything of import or leave the room for the next several hours. I just fully relaxed, like you can only do with a zero. I went out again around 8 to pick up some Chinese I ordered. I had to get utensils from the hotel because the restaurant gave me none. Anyway, I had the dinner combo, and I ate the egg roll and soup immediately, but the rice and pepper steak lasted me all night. I was too full to finish it right away.
Day 116: Atlantic City
I went to bed at 9:30, woke up at midnight, ate some more, took more Immodium, went back to sleep, woke up at 6, ate some more. I did eventually go down to the breakfast room for some yogurts, coffee, sweet roll to bring back to the room. I never did finish the rice.
I still had a lot of packing to do and cleaning up, so with one last shower to kick off the exit exercises, I didn’t actually leave my room until 11:20 or so, and I left without speaking to anyone because no one was at the front desk.
After a stop at a cycle shop for some hydration tablets, I spent the next three hours over lunch and coffee having the exact same lunch I had had the previous day at the exact same bakery. Once I had all my blog posts up, I swung by the other gear store for some more Nuun Immunity and Vitamins, then walked out to the far south edge of town.
As soon as I reached the end of the sidewalk and stuck out my thumb, I had a ride from Lee, but only as far as his house two miles shy of Rawlins Junction, where WY 28 (the road I was headed down) split off from the main US highway.
So I walked down the highway for most of an hour until I was past the junction and stuck out my thumb again. This time I had an hour and a half wait before Jan picked me up. She lived at South Pass City, so I just let her take me there. It cut off 4 miles of walking down boring dirt roads to get to that place anyway.
When we arrived, sitting outside the dance hall were Cliff and Lost and anther guy I didn’t know. Jan was nice enough to fetch me an unused canister of stove fuel, but it was only 6pm, so I wanted to do some hiking. It wouldn’t be much, but it would be better than a second zero. And it could be fun.
Cliff and Lost and I started out together, but I rapidly got far ahead. The first bit of trail was right though South Pass City and then up a creek, then up a steep hill to join a boring dirt road. And I continued on dirt roads, trying to make the correct turns, for 3 more miles. I didn’t always succeed in that, but found my way back eventually.
By 8, I had intentionally taken a different road, then dropped my bag at an intersection that seemed like a decent campsite just outside of Atlantic City. I walked down a slightly overgrown trail down a hill to the edge of Atlantic City and found my way to the Miner’s Grubstake and Dredge Saloon, which was open late.
They were technically done making food, but they still made me a ham and cheese sandwich must just for being a hiker. I had a couple of beers and then got caught up in all kinds of chat with the locals. Learned some things about the history of the bar and the town. But when I was trying to make my way to the door, I got caught in a discussion about kids going back to school which rapidly turned into the old woman who helped run the place (and who used to be a nurse practitioner) yelling KIDS SHOULD NOT BE VACCINATED at least four times without provocation.
Now I know that hiking into such rural places is bound to put me in contact with all the people who vehemently believe in some crazy stuff. But I did not expect to be held back from getting to bed by such a strident espousal of a desire to see millions of children die of preventable childhood diseases. I mean, this woman is old enough to remember the polio epidemic and also worked in medicine, so you wouldn’t think she would be so eager to go back to those days.
But anyway, I was eventually able to extricate myself from that situation and run the mile back up the hill to set up my tent and get to bed. I think it was after 11 but the time I got to sleep but before midnight.
Trail miles: 3.9 (and hitchhiked past another 4)
Distance to Rawlins: 113.1 miles