Miles: 18.4

Camp: My CDT mile 1562.7

I woke up to the sound of raindrops, a sound one does not want to wake up to when cowgirl camping. I looked to the sky but saw no clouds overhead, the sun was rising neon pink to the east. Why is it raining? I was so confused. It was a few pitter pats that eventually fizzled into nothing, a relief even though I had already stuffed away my sleeping bag. It made getting out of camp no problem even though I wanted to lay among the pines all morning. I missed trees in the 5 days they were absent. 

I walked through several small valleys and passed an old mine. I poked around a little, but this was all there was to see.

South Pass City was only another mile through a shaded canyon that followed a creek. It felt so good to be in the forest again. So good.

South Pass City was not at all what I had expected. I knew it was a historical site, but had no idea the whole town was a museum. I love old towns, especially of the old west…There was so much grit and guts to the way people lived in those times. These towns were all based on mining, often flourishing under the wealth of a mine (in this case it was Clarissa Mine), then the mine goes belly up and the town falls to nothing, abandoned. In the case of South Pass City a lot was preserved when Clarissa Mine went under. The town is beautifully kept and maintained by volunteers who also happen to be hiker friendly! They accept packages and let us use their wifi (there was definitely wifi in the old west, right?)…they even give away coffee and sell cold sasparilla. 

I was able to go through my boxes and soak up some history in the process. My Chacos are here! Thanks Mom! I wore them around as I poked my head in old homes, saloons and mining memorabilia. The shoes felt stiff at first, but gradually seemed to take to my feet and feel the way I remember them. Maybe I shouldn’t have waited so long to have them sent…but I’m happy they are here.

Once I got my dose of history it was time to hike out. I had charged my phone (partially) and restocked up on food, so it was time to kick rocks. I walked about 2 miles before realizing that I had not eaten since breakfast! I was lightheaded and had to stop to eat. There was rumor of food in South Pass City, but no such luck. I would have had to hitch to Atlantic City a few miles away, and I just don’t have time for those sorts of side trips right now. I’ve had enough of towns and need to gain some ground in order to finish this trail before snow comes. I have a tentative plan and if I can stay on a pretty strict schedule I should be fine and still have time to enjoy myself. 

So, I didn’t have any town food but was able to hike an extra 13 miles. It was all through the forest, the cool and shady forest with rivers running through it. This is so nice and welcome after the basin, it feels like home. I love the desert, but this should be gentler on my body…my feet especially. It’s going to start getting pretty amazing around here, I can feel it.

Tomorrow is the cirque of the towers, something I believe is made from fantasies…but that’s just heresy, I’m about to find out for myself.

Dinner: refried beans with corn, salsa, coconut milk, tortillas and cheese.

South Pass City