Miles: 5 + 11.6

Camp: My CDT mile 1652.6

I managed to uneventfully get to the trailhead by 8:30 in the morning. It was a gradual descent to a large parking lot full of people and cars. These Winds sure are popular. A man asked me if I needed a ride as he was dropping some people off at the trailhead. What luck at the early hour! His name is Rick and he runs a company that will drop you off at a trailhead and leave your car at a different trailhead. Rick was doing this for a family from Indiana and they were all ok with me tagging along to Pinedale.

Rick dropped me off at a breakfast restaurant where I ordered the largest omelet on the menu. It was full of veggies, bacon and cheese, and came with potatoes and really good sourdough toast. They offered bottomless coffee so I got a little extra caffeinated as well. I had been trying to find out where most of the hikers were and when I might start seeing others on trail. This is when I discovered that there were several hikers in town: Bumerang, Sunrise, Limey, Footprint, Lola and Titan. I was thrilled to have people to hang out with in town!

Titan had a cheap room at a local motel, so I ended up sharing with him. We laid around and watched the Olympics for a bit and then went to get burgers and beers at the brewery. Everyone else was staying at a church that we hadn’t known about, but turns out it was a free place to stay. Oh well, our room was cheap and has way more privacy…and a shower. Boy did I need a shower after walking 200 miles across the basin and the south Winds. It was amazing.

Dinner was really exceptional as well. I got a macaroni and cheese burger and Titan got a pizza burger (they also had taco burgers). It was the best burger I’ve had in a really long time. The beer was also really tasty. If you ever get the chance, Wind River Brewing Company is some top notch stuff, don’t miss it. I had the WY not so white IPA and an oatmeal stout on nitro. Excellent beer. Excellent food. What a treat!

We spent the rest of the evening staying up and watching the Olympics before bed. There was a really big thunderstorm going on most of the night, it felt good to be indoors. 

I didn’t sleep well, which is not unusual in town. I tossed and turned a lot, but was actually quite comfortable. The pillows were nice. I got up before Titan, who notoriously sleeps late, and went to breakfast. Then I went to the outdoor store where I dropped more money than I planned on socks, new pants (mine don’t stay on me anymore), fuel and a smaller stuff sack for my sleeping bag. Hopefully everything holds up, as money is way tighter after paying the dentist. It made me eager to get out of town…but I had to wait on a package. I had gotten my box with my bear kit in it (thanks Andy!) and another package from trail angel Wanda containing a metatarsal pad for my neuroma. I’m very eager to see how that works out, as it isn’t gone completely even if much improved. Thank you Wanda! I was still waiting on a package from Amazon with new trekking pole tips. Mine were worn down completely and I had them removed at the gear store…so it became a bit more critical that I get the new ones. 

Unfortunately, I had to wait until 3 to find out that the package was sitting in a UPS facility, undeliverable due to an address conflict. Amazon has been quite the hassle on this trip since they don’t let you choose the method of shipment and we almost always need it to be USPS. Therefore I waited around all day for nothing…and I still didn’t have tips for my poles. I decided to have them forwarded to the next town and get out of this one…After another burger at the brew pub.

The hitch was surprisingly easy, a woman named Cathy and her dog Twombi went out of their way to bring me the 15 miles out of town. We had a great conversation about hiking and the restaurant industry on the ride, and I was back to hiking by 4:30. I figured I would push to get back on the CDT (11.6 miles) and call it a night. It took until 8:30 with no breaks, but I got it done. There are a lot of people out here, which made selecting a campsite difficult. I can hear people talking across the lake…but as I get deeper in the winds tomorrow, the people should all disappear.

Now I’m looking forward to a good night of sleep in my tent. Tomorrow I climb Knapsack Col, an apparent highlight of the Winds. That only bodes well out here, as everything has been pretty amazing already!