Big thunder and lightning kept me up a bit, but it seemed to blow over pretty quickly. In the morning everything was dry and I got rolling pretty easily. I made my first wrong turn of the day right away, wandering half a mile off course before I noticed anything… I went back and found the right trail – it was an unmarked junction and I probably missed it because I was eating. Passed through some really pretty lakes on a big plateau (same one I slept on in fact).
Eventually, dropped down to a river crossing and met a nice couple from Bozeman, MT (Lou and ?). I wanted to chat so I tucked in behind them and we walked and talked. Turns out she knows my man-crush, Ryan Jordan (an ultralight backpacking guy – runs backpackinglight.com). Anyways, while we chatted I missed a turn and had to say goodbye and hike back a mile. Oh and I begged some Advil off them as I’m now running low!
I found the turn (no trail or junction that I saw) and went off – towards the Cirque of Towers – definitely one of my most anticipated areas! First I climbed up a valley, passing a series of lakes and getting great views of the backs of the Cirque mountains. Near the last lake of the valley I ran into a group of 4 older guys up fishing and we had a great talk… I even explained what PresiNET does! And begged more Advil.
Finally, I had to climb Texas Pass into the Cirque. It was a great hike up, powered by Gatorade :). At the top I got my first look at the Cirque, then steeply descended to Lonesome Lake, the heart of the area. Amazing stuff, hopefully I got a decent picture or video. I really wish I could have had everyone I know in my pocket so I could have showed this sight to them.
Onwards, I hiked up the other side towards Jackass Pass, and stumbled on a couple lounging by their tents. They were climbers/hikers, just out doing a nice loop hike of the Winds. They told me I was on the “wrong” trail, but that mine would be faster with less elevation… Great! They suggested some places to camp and off I went… After begging a few more Advil 😉
I managed to get over that pass and then ran into a guy doing part of the CDT as a loop that had started in Grand Canyon. I didn’t like this guy because he sent me off on the wrong trail… But I caught it after half a mile and went cross-country to get back on course.
The rest of the evening was great though. I climbed a valley with two lakes one after the other, and between them was a giant rock slab where the outlet of one poured down to the other. Then I crossed over to another valley where I planned to camp by the lake there. I couldn’t find a spot though, so I ended up climbing another pass, which happened to be the highest point on the official CDT in Wyoming. By the time I started descending, I was working from ambient light and eventually just camped somewhere random and flatish. I’ll find the trail in the morning!
Date: Aug 21, 2011
Daily Distance: 21.6 miles
Trip Distance: 1120.8 miles