As I began my third month on trail, I entered into the Great Basin of Wyoming. This area is flat and dry with little shade, making it a great place to put in headphones and push big miles. Each day I broke my personal record for mileage until finally hitting 40.5 miles in one day! This felt like such an accomplishment for me, and my body felt tired but handled it surprisingly well.
I was surprised on trail by a visit from Uncle Dan, an incredibly fun and generous trail angel from my home state whom I met on the Colorado Trail last year. He knew I was out here and tracked me down to bring me and my fellow hikers some magic in the basin. He cooked us dinner at night and made coffee and fresh donuts in the morning- such a treat! He gave out snacks and drinks and went out of his way to take care of us in any way that we needed. His generosity and thoughtfulness stayed with me through the rest of the basin, highlighting the beauty of trail connections and putting into perspective human connectedness as a whole.
The split in the Continental Divide converged at the southern end of the basin, and as I climbed back up into mountainous terrain, the weather turned wet and cold. It was in the low 40s, sometimes raining, sometimes hailing or snowing for days. I saw a giant salamander on trail but saw little else, just trying to make miles and endure the weather. Eventually the sky cleared and on the first sunny morning in days, I trekked out of Wyoming and into Colorado.
Coming from the basin, it felt as though Colorado greeted me with big climbs, lots of rocks and hunters galore as elk season had just opened a day or so before. I trekked through Mt Zirkel Wilderness, struggling with a gigantic climb that seemed to go on forever. Hiking down toward Steamboat Springs, I found a beautiful cliffside campsite which has been one of my favorite so far. I'm still hiking alone and am excited to see what the rest of Colorado has to show me!
When I resupply, I look at how many miles I need to hike until my next stop and what the terrain is like to determine how many days' worth of food I will need. The more I hike, the better I get at this calculus, but sometimes I still get it wrong. On this last stretch through the Gila River Wilderness, I definitely got it wrong and my hiking partner and I ended up a bit at odds, having some severe food anxiety for days and being VERY hungry. How did it go so wrong?
Usually I make my food before I leave home, dehydrating and measuring and preparing every meal with nutrition, calorie content and weight in mind. I sort all of my food into resupply boxes and label them for post office drops along the way. Sometimes, however, things get messy. A box gets lost in the mail. I arrive on a holiday weekend and would have to wait 3 days for...
Honestly though, this hike has been worlds apart from my thru hike of the PCT. The trail itself has a very different feel, the people are different, and I am a different hiker than I was on my last journey. This hike has been such a unique experience from any of my other hikes and I am so grateful for it.