The Lost Days

When planning trips, we never factor in lost time. Time when you wander off the beaten path and thrash your way up mountainsides, cursing your stupidity. However, no one is perfect. Every one, at times, gets lost. Or gets lost twice, badly, through snow at -20C, and lose a tooth filling in the process. All on the same day. In the end, it’s all part of the adventure. Or at least, you hope.

This can't be right...

This can’t be right…

Lost again. Take two.

Lost again. Take two.

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Colorado Cruising

Some how, Jake and I are 1/4 of the way through Colorado. Huzzah! Here are some pics of the last week:

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The halfway point.

DSC03026The border.

DSC03020Jake made a friend.

DSC03042The Never Summer Mountain Range. Summit of Ruby Mountain.

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Going up Parkview Mountain.

DSC03077The lookout on Parkview.

DSC03072Some notes in the hut. We met some of these fellow hikers in the North. It was cool to see their names again

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The Never Summer Mountain Range of Colorado, eh? I beg to differ!

A Royal Welcome

A Crown Royal Welcome, that is. Everything can change in an instant on this trail, usually the best things happen in less than 5 minutes. A few days ago, we were walking down the highway to avoid a piece of private property on the divide. A truck slowed beside us. Turned out it was the owner of the land. “What the hell are you guys still doing here?! Pick it up! You’re way behind!” We just smiled and nodded. We get it all the time. “You guys want a shot?” And so, we had shots of Crown Royal beside the highway. After a few minutes he left, and Jake and I continued down the road.

Three minutes later, the same truck came back. “Do you want to come stay on my ranch? Although I have hunters there right now, it doesn’t matter. I’m the boss and what I say, goes. You guys can have your own cabin”. Um say WHAT?!

We jumped in the back on the truck (where we certainly discovered that they were indeed hunters. Deer blood was everywhere, or at least we hoped it was deer…). Brad (or Bradass as he liked to be called) would stop every few minutes to point things out to us about his land. It turned out Brad was also a hunting guide and took clients out to hunt elk on his land. For $6000 you can stay at his ranch. Apparently his ranch is kind of a big deal, even the president of the NRA is coming next month. While he drove, a client was in the truck, drunk out of his mind, but apparently he was a millionaire from Texas and could do whatever the hell he wanted. He tipped well.

And so, Brad took us back to his ranch, gave us a cabin, a shower, and fed us roast pork and french toast. The chef, Ken, weighed our packs down with all the leftovers. They lasted us three days. We ate and drank with guests paying $6000 to be there. They all wanted to hear our stories and couldn’t believe we didn’t carry a gun.

The next day, Brad took us back to where he picked us up, so we could continue. But not before leaving a little treat for us up the road…Thanks for everything Bradass! We will never forget the experience! And if anyone wants to splurg and go on a hunting holiday, check this out: http://bearmountainranch.com

Good morning world. Yes, fellow drivers. Two bearded men are drinking on the side of the highway at 8:30AM. Don't mind us.

Good morning world. Yes, fellow drivers. Two bearded men are drinking on the side of the highway at 8:30AM. Don’t mind us.

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What do YOU have in the morning?

Our own cabin.

Our own cabin.

Not bad, eh?

Not bad, eh?

Stay Gold Pony Boy, Stay Gold…

For over a month, Jake and I have passed dead and withered plants. And now snow. However, every once in awhile we pass some colour, and it warms the heart.

A flower still hanging on at 12 00 ft at the end of October. No one told it summer was over, so it just kept growing.

A flower still hanging on at 12 000 ft at the end of October. No one told it summer was over, so it just kept growing.

Even though it is the end of October, amazingly some life still hangs on in the alpine, sticking it to Old Man Winter. Every few days we pass a blue bell ignoring the frost, and arnicas still brilliant yellow amongst a sea of brown. These flowers are kinda like us – the hiking season is over, but we still carry on. Although summer is gone, it doesn’t mean that summer is truly gone. SE Hinton had it right – Just stay gold Ponyboy, stay gold…

A Desert Crossing

And so we crossed the Great Basin Red Desert. The divide gets weird here, it splits and does a circle. What happens to the water in the middle? No idea…It was strange to go right from the Winds and lots and lots of water to sand and dust. However, it was still interesting (In a I’mneverdoingthatagain sort of way)…

DSC02931  South Pass City. This was the largest town in Wyoming in the 1800’s. Now it’s a museum with a population of 7.

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The Oregon Trail.

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The California Trail.

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To pass the time (flatness and sage brush is only interesting for so long) we knitted. I made two hats! However, we did knit ourselves through an intersection and missed a turning. How embarrassing. ..

DSC02987The view. Kinda cool.

DSC02978  A desert isn’t a desert without cactus!

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Oh look. I can see three days away. Yay!

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And where we were last week.

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A foot shot. I’m bored.

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The final miles into Rawlins. An oasis town.

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How we look after 40 miles (65 km) of desert walking. After this shot was taken, we passed out in a road ditch. It was the best ditch I’ve ever slept in.

The Wonderous Winds of Wyoming

From the moment we stepped onto the CDT we have heard about the Winds. It is everyone’s favorite.  And I think it might have been ours. Just have a look:

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A jackolope (world’s largest!) in Duboise. The town before the Winds.

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Hunting is kind of a big deal here.

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Entering the Winds. I don’t think we’re in sage brush country anymore, Toto.

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Did I mention how high they are? Giants! This is on the summit of Winifred Peak – 12 700ft.  That’s higher than this:

Summit of Clemenceau.  All the way back in May.

Summit of Clemenceau. The fourth highest in the Canadian Rockies. This was all the way back in May.

And 200 ft less than Mount Robson. Say WHAT!?

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Summit of Winifred Peak with American Legion to the right.

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See the snowy peak in the background – that’s Gannett Peak, it’s a 13 000er AND the highest point in Wyoming.

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Climbing Baldy Pass.

DSC02838Summit of Mount Baldy.

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Gannett Peak again on the left.

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Group summit shot. Jake pointing out his baldness on baldy… (roll eyes).

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Summit of Texas Pass and entering the Cirque of the Towers. Wow! Just wow!

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Pingora Peak.

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Cirque of the Towers.

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Jake and the Towers.

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Looking towards a stormy future.

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Summit of East Temple Peak.

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Our last day in the Winds.

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Nevertheless,  the good times didn’t end there. We found two beers in a stream. Sure they were covered in algae and faded. But they still tasted amazing.

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Our ride into Lander during a blizzard. They didn’t have room for both Jake and myself inside, so we took turns being outside. I think I put on every single piece of clothing I owned afterwards.

Jellystone

Well folks we are 21 miles (and halfway done the CDT! YEEHAW!) from the Colorado border and it’s time we share our adventures in Wyoming. First with Jellystone…

DSC02727Entering a new state and Yellowstone! I think they spared no expense.

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It was great to be amongst so much hot water. Yellowstone isn’t breathtaking.  It’s rather flat and lots of it burnt down in 1988, so the trees are small. But it’s pleasant nevertheless. It’s also the oldest national park in the world.

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Castle Geyser.

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Unfortunately all sunshine and lollipops must one day end…

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This is the first body of water we have forded in 500 miles. There just haven’t been “rivers”. Ah. I’ve missed water.

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Neat! Good thing we aren’t following this to the Atlantic…yikes! However, Mexico is further than the Pacific. Oh dear…

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Tip-toeing through willows and mud. A main feature in Yellowstone.

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Did I mention that I love Yellowstone? Natural hotsprings! We even cooked dinner in one – hamburger helper (minus the hamburger, so really just helper). I think I’m staying here for winter…

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Mike and Janet even came for a visit. We even did more hot river swimming. It was superb!

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They even brought their trailer. And so we became one of “those” people. Thanks for the visit Mike and Janet! We had a great time and may have even gained a pound (or five)!

A Krispy Kreme donut burger. I don't think I can go back to normal burgers. So bland!

A Krispy Kreme donut burger. I don’t think I can go back to normal burgers. So bland!

This may have helped the weight gain…

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Thanks for the Good Times Jellystone!

TUBendous!

I’m afraid when you’re hiking a great distance you become use to being dirty. You always smell. People think you’re a bum (while we may not have a home in a conventional sense, we are not homeless). Sometimes you don’t get to wash clothes for weeks. Nevertheless, it is always nice to freshen up when you can.

The hotel at Old Faithful in Yellowstone is beautiful. It’s an old and large wooden building, a pyromaniac’s dream. Pudgy tourists stroll the halls, clean and spotless. Hikers become self conscious in their crusty shirts and you put on Gore text jackets to contain the smell.  No matter how hot it is.

The main lobby in the Old Faithful Inn.

The main lobby in the Old Faithful Inn.

While at the buffet in the restaurant (a-must-stop when thru hiking. No matter what, you always stop for buffets),a server came up to our table and told us to go to the front desk for a shower. Say “Carla” sent you. Thinking it would probably be a grungy employee bathroom, we weren’t too excited. But we still went. Little did we know what awaited…

Having a bubbly in a bubbly.

Having a bubbly in a bubbly.

We were given the ‘Tub Room’. There was an old fashion bathtub with a selection of soaps, shampoo, and lotions. And so, we had our first bath in over 6 months (Don’t worry. We still have showers. At least every couple weeks…). We even had a beer.  It was tubendous!

However, I must admit that the next 15 miles to camp were rather unpleasant. I would not recommend going to a buffet and having a bath before hiking. You become kinda sluggish.

And the Lowest Point Is…JASPER!

Yup. You read it correctly. The lowest point on the way to the Mexican border is where we started – Jasper at 1060m. For comparison, the average height of Wyoming is double that. Crazy, eh?

Liam setting out from his dad's apartment Cavell Court. It is at a lower elevation than Jakes mom's house by the museum. So Liam has walked further AND lower. Ha!

Liam setting out from his dad’s apartment Cavell Court. It is at a lower elevation than Jakes mom’s house by the museum. So Liam has walked further AND lower. Ha!