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CDT WY Section 5

Day 122: Coal Mine Draw

I was up until the wee hours of the morning the night before just soaking in the tub, so I slept in as late as I could. I didn’t bother picking up the grab n go hotel breakfast. I just stayed in my room and finished the cake and the chips and whatnot I had left over from my Walmart shopping spree.

Maids came banging on my door at 11 and 12. Turns out the night clerk lady hadn’t recorded or told anyone about my request to checkout at 1pm even though she said she would. (She also had a habit of chilling in the lobby recliners instead of waiting behind the desk. Probably not the way you’re supposed to man a hotel desk.)

Anyway, I left my room finally a little after noon to run over to the grocery store next door and get some razors. I came back and shaved and packed and left my room by 1 as promised. But I didn’t have time to wax my mustache.

I didn’t leave the hotel right away. I spent a few minutes doing something blog related on the business center computer, then called the town bus service for a pickup to take me to the post office. The old man said fifteen minutes, but he was there in five. I was the only one besides him on the bus and didn’t even need a mask.

The post office was on the other end of town, a mile and a half away from the hotel. So I told the bus driver I intended to stay at this end for the rest of the day, and I did. I got my box from the post office and there was way too much food in it. I took nearly an hour on the bench in front to pack up as much of it as I could. Then I carried the trash up the street and stuffed it bit by bit into the tiny aperture of one of the city’s downtown area trash cans. (Note: Rawlins hardly feels like a Wyoming town. It’s as big as place like Yreka, a full service interstate town. But it does have a very cute pedestrian-friendly downtown district, with little covered picnic areas on the street corners and all kinds of shops and restaurants.)

I walked on past the Thai restaurant I had been looking forward to having lunch at because it was closed until the next day and carried the food I couldn’t pack up to the motel on the main drag where I knew there was a hiker box in the lobby. Then I came back down the next street over looking for a place to have a good meal and settled on a sports bar restaurant called Buck’s because I liked the eclectic music it was broadcasting into the sidewalk.

I sat at the bar, ordered a beer and a wild hamburger with egg sandwiches for buns and onion rings, and set about working on the blog. But that didn’t end up happening, as the pair sitting next to me at the bar were extremely chatty, so I gave up on working and decided to be social. Conrad and Aerin were trapped in Rawlins following a car breakdown during a cross-country road trip. It was a hoot chatting with them through dinner and I hope they see this post.

It was 5 in the afternoon by the time I finished lunch and I still had laundry and blogging to do. I walked to the nearest laundromat and did both of those things at once over the next couple of hours. I was also getting sleepy, so I bought a bunch of caffeine drinks across the street.

It was dark out when I finished, so I packed up and walked back towards the trail with my headlamp on. As much as I wanted to get some sushi at the Japanese restaurant next door, I needed to get out of town or I’d end up zeroing there. So I bought some drinks and a gas station sandwich, and started walking.

There were only two roads going to the other side of the railroad tracks. I tried to go over the closest one, but it was a long bridge that specifically banned pedestrian access, so I had to go all the way back through downtown to the road where the CDT officially crossed the tracks. It ended up being worth it though because there was a fun community art gallery in the pedestrian tunnel under the tracks.

From here, the trail just went down some neighborhood streets (where at one point a local in a truck asked if I needed water–I guess they’re used to hikers leaving at night) and onto a highway that passed under the interstate and ran off into the desert. The trail left this highway after a mile, taking a dirt road that seemed increasingly washed out that ran parallel to and above the highway. It was nearly midnight by the time I reached a spot I deemed far enough from the city to camp, but even there I could hear the trains going by over the hill. But the important thing is that, even though I just pitched my tent right next to the road, there wasn’t any traffic, and I slept well for what little remained of the night.

Trail miles: 4.2

Distance to Encampment: 77.7 miles

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