Miles: 8.6

Camp: My CDT mile 1366.6

After my usual routine I set off into a beautiful morning of hiking through alpine meadows down to the pass. Huston Park Wilderness doesn’t have much of a trail really, it is rather inconsistent in its markings. Sometimes it is trail, sometimes cairns, often posts held up by cairns. You make it to one and then have to hunt for the next…and it is often obscured by trees. Sometimes you have to guess and hope, sometimes the trail is just…ish.

It was entirely pleasant walking, if not occasionally more work. My Morton’s Neuroma began flaring up a bit which made me happy that it was a short day to the pass. It is a very uncomfortable sensation and nothing really seems to relieve it. Usually it flares up and disappears, so resting half of the day should help with that.

Once I made it to the pass I realized why everyone refers to this as a tough hitch. There was zero traffic on the road as I stood there watching for any car to stick my thumb out for. “This could take a while,” I thought as I heard an engine approach. I stuck out my thumb and smiled big as a big truck towing a big trailer moved on down the road. Another passed behind it and then I noticed something. The first truck had pulled over a ways down the road and seemed to be gesturing for me to come on over. As I began hurrying to the potential ride, I wondered if they were calling to me or the other truck. I decided to play dumb and see if it got me to Encampment. 

Sure enough, the nice man was stopped for me! First car! I hopped in and his sweet dog curled up on my lap. I gave her lots of pets and love as he and I discussed the trail. He used to work for the forest service and was once in charge of marking the trail I had just walked. He said it was better in his day. We also talked about the natural way that forest fires control a forest and how the bark beetle became so invasive. He was a cool ride…even waiting for me to pick up my package at the post office before dropping me off at the campground. I never got his name, but he was a great first impression of the people of Wyoming.

The campground let me take a shower for $5 as Pink would be coming to camp with me on trail later on. Once clean, I went to the cafe and ate a patty melt with fries and a giant deep fried brownie sundae. Man, I love hiking for the ability to eat alone sometimes! I tried to catch up on blogs, but the small town wifi couldn’t keep up. Guess it will have to wait until Rawlins in a few days.

I met two new hikers named Dragon and Deco as well. When Pink arrived, he took all of us to the pass and made us homemade meatball subs while making sure we had plenty of beers and music too. We had a lovely campfire, shared bourbon and stories and ate until there was nothing left to eat. I found Deco particularly interesting, as he is a surgeon from Alaska. He has a very cool demeanor and lots of stories. I hope to learn more as we hike on.

Dragon and Deco took off just before sunset to hike over the next climb while Pink and I enjoyed the evening and fire. It’s likely our last visit for the trail as his work schedule is rather demanding, but good for me to quit relaxing so much. It is time to hike! I’m ready to make some progress here, though I’ll miss the wonderful trail magic and seeing my friend.

For now, one more night of the easy life. Last one, I swear.

Dinner: meatball subs!

Old boat at our campsite
Dragon and Deco enjoy meatball subs with maps for plates