A Haiku about Mosquitoes:
Little buzzing bugs
Are flying around our tent
Driving us crazy
The day started off with a river ford. Cold, wet feet made for stiff, achy feet this early in the morning. We slowly got moving again once on the other side trying not to dwell on how we were starting the morning. Around mid-morning, we came across a lake which the trail took us right long the bank. Consistently, the still water was disrupted by the explosions of fish as they fed on bugs landing on the top of the water. As we walked by, we could not help but look into the water at all the beautiful trout and all their fading ripples. We looked at each other silently connecting on the same page: how could we not stop and throw a fly into the action?!
We sat our packs down allowing ourselves thirty minutes to fish. After tying on a Parachute Adams, the first cast was made. We watched as a fish began to move towards the fly, exploding out of the water taking our fly with him. The Tenkara went flying backwards and the hook set into the lip of the trout. He jumped in and out of the water as we brought him to the bank, and after a quick release, he was swimming back into the depths. Each cast came with a fish. We could easily sight fish, and we found excitement in going after the fish that seemed more resilient to being caught. After awhile, most likely longer than our original allotted time, the mosquitoes had found us and began terrorizing us. Reluctantly, we packed up and headed to make more miles.
We stopped one more time for a quick lunch by a picture perfect creek. This time we did not jump for our rod but instead we enjoyed watching the hungry, colorful brook trout feed and move throughout the water.
We climbed the pleasant climb up and over Hat Pass. Snow and stone awaited us on the other side as we began to make our way down back towards the lakes. Much of the day, the trail circumnavigated lake after lake taking us into different worlds that came with each lake and it's surrounding ecosystem. We had a storm to outrun so we kept moving with Elkhart trailhead in our minds.
We left the official CDT to join up with the Pole Creek trail which would take us to the trailhead. In order to go into Pinedale for a resupply, we would have to hike ten extra miles to get near the road and then eleven miles back to trail. After going across Pole Creek, we came upon a place called Photographer's Point. As if it were the most perfectly placed window, we could see the entire Wind River Range crowning the horizon and the rocky valley spanning the distance between the mountains and our overlook.
It was nearing dusk so we continued on towards the trailhead at lightning speed. Practically running at times, we did not want to get to the parking area too late and miss our chance of rides. Once we had made it, we began waiting, no cars went by and no people were to be seen. Soon a man who we had passed on the trail came down the trail and towards his car. We were waiting in anticipation, when we heard him yell out "Do you guys need a ride?!" Relieved, we headed towards him and hopped into his truck.
We ended up sharing stories with him during the drive and even finding out a lot about him. The natural gas industry had brought him to the area for a couple of days to check on the sustainability and safety of a particular operation. Once in town, we swung by the Wind River Brewing Co. with him to grab a quick bit to eat. Their sweet potato fries were to die for. Then, we headed towards St. Anthony's Church for the night. In the basement of this small church, they allow travelers, hikers, and bikers to spend the night. We quietly walked in and set up our sleeping area on the floor. Today was a long day, but now all we had to do was sleep.
Day 111: Zero Day in Pinedale
Having arrived into Pinedale so late, we decided to take a day to get our "errands" done. As everyone in the church basement started to wake up, the uncertainty of where we had fallen asleep the night before began to melt away taking our discomfort with it. Fellow hikers shared the room with us as well as a biker, a SOBO hiker, a section hiker, and a gentleman seeking shelter between living situations. Kate and Critter ran down to grab some coffee at the Mountain Hut, and when they arrived back at the church, Liam had started making blueberry pancakes. Atlantis, a SOBO hiker from Germany, and Scout, a super badass section hiker from California, were awake and had joined the pancake excitement. We stood around making pancakes, cinnamon rolls, and other breakfast foods.
It is amazing how quickly friends are made on the trail. It does not take much and you can usually skip all of the small talk. After breakfast, Atlantis gave us some pointers about the trail North of us, and then we headed to the American Laundromat to do laundry with Scout. Once our clothes were clean enough to be acceptable, we headed to meet up with Liam, Kate, and Atlantis at the Patio Grill for Taco Tuesday.
Everyone, except Scout and us, headed back to trail. Instead, it was shower time which meant it was time to visit the Aquatic Center that we had heard so much about since arriving in Pinedale. Seven dollars won us access to the pools, climbing wall, showers, and anything else that tickled our fancy. First, we rinsed off. Then, we walked into the swimming area that read "Leisure" over the doorway. Equipped with a lazy river, hot tub, submarine, and water slide, the pool quickly overwhelmed us but we were thrilled. After we each went down the giant water slide shooting us out into a smaller pool, we hopped over to the hot tub to relax.
Back at the Church, another hiker, by the name of Big John, had shown up. We left the church for an hour, during which the same space was used for an AA meeting in that time frame. Once the small group left, Garbelly made brownies which would make for a delicious breakfast. We all found our spots on the floor tucked in between tables and chairs. The lights went out and the room became still once again.
Garbelly & Critter