The Desert of Wyoming
We were truly blessed as we hiked through the high desert of Wyoming. This is typically one of the sections that can be more challenging to hike through. It is open desert with no shade for most of the way, and the days are usually warm. Our days were dominated by cloud cover and very reasonable temperatures. It was cool enough to even wear our coats from time to time as we hiked. We were averaging 35 mile days as we traveled along the easy dirt roads of this stretch.
I had imagined that the landscape would be barren and somewhat flat, but was pleased to see the terrain change each day. We saw over 100 wild horses through this section of the hike. We were even blessed with a few close encounters in which we were able to interact with the horses on an intimate energetic level. It really amazes me that there is enough vegetation throughout the basin to sustain the sheer number of wild horses, free range cows, and pronghorn antelope that live out there.
Although we had amazing weather for our crossing, it was nice to get the desert behind us and re-enter the mountains once again. We have crossed into the state of Colorado. It is always a good feeling to move into another state. We should only have another 2 months ahead of us on the journey, and we have hiked over 1,500 miles so far.
The Kindness of Others
One of the beautiful parts of the trail is to experience the generosity that is alive and thriving in the world. There are so many people that give to us in various ways along our journey. We call them Trail Angels.
It might be as simple as giving us a ride into town when we are hitching from a pass to resupply, to going out of their way to drive us around to do our errands, or inviting us to stay in their home. There is nothing quite as hospitable as inviting a complete stranger into your home to shower, eat, wash laundry and sleep. We make some strong and lasting friendships along the trail, and it is an amazing opportunity to meet people from all walks of life.
One of the most shining examples of sheer generosity toward hikers is a couple that lives along the Pacific Crest Trail, The Saufley’s. They turn their whole yard into a hiker sanctuary for the hiking season. They erect large white tents filled with cots, turn over the extra single wide trailer on their property into a hiker hang out, and go all out. When you walk in the gate Donna greets you and runs you through the process. “Grab an extra set of clothes out of those bins, a towel over there, a clothes bag from there. Go in to the trailer, take a shower, put your clothes in the bag and your name on the bag. Bring it back here, I will wash and dry it for you and place the clean bag of laundry over there for you to pick up. Relax and enjoy your time off here!” I have never seen such kindness, and pure love for the hikers as Donna Saufley has!
One hiker even did a full documentary on the amazing kindness of trail angels, he is in the process of working on it and hopes to debut it next year. I can not convey the gratitude I feel for the Trail Angels we have been blessed to meet!
Reflecting on the Past
Hello again everyone! Here we are in Atlantic City, WY. What a neat historic area, a great place to visit if you ever find yourself in this corner of the world. This is a very important milestone along the trail for me, as 10 years ago this is where I got off the CDT for a month because of a stress fracture in the arch of my foot. What an experience it is to process the pain and uncertainty the memories of this part of the trail hold for me. It is so great to be feeling strong and vibrant as I enter this next stretch of the hike.
From here we head out into the high desert of Wyoming. This is one of the "challenging" stretches of the trail that all the hikers talk about, and worry about before they even start the hike. Yes, it can be a bit warm as we cross this open stretch with no trees, and the potential of warmer temperatures. But to be honest, just like any part of the trail the experience is what you make of it. As I feel slight apprehension arise about this upcoming stretch, I simply remind myself of all the things I have been through, and this is just another opportunity for me to expand myself and fully accept the situations that surround me.
Many Paths to Take
One of the unique experiences of the CDT is that you can choose what route/path you want to take, essentially making it your own trail. There are a few main routes that most people take. And then every once in a while you take your own path without really intending to. By this I mean getting "lost" as it were. We are rarely actually ever lost, as we often know roughly where we are within the landscape. But we might have missed a turn that we were supposed to take, or passed by an extremely faint trail/track with no signage. Yesterday ended up being one of these days. We continued down a drainage that we were supposed to climb out of. A mile or two after the point we were meant to turn we realized that we had indeed missed our turn/junction. So we decided to figure out our own way. It is these moments that one discovers just how much you are capable of. It is not that it is hard, it is simply a matter of awareness as you move through your surroundings. Most hikers now carry GPS with them on this trail. While it is not a bad idea, and can be a great tool to use out here, there is also part of me that feels like it is a bit of a safety blanket. We are making our way along the trail using only the "Ley" maps. This makes certain parts quite challenging, but it also stretches us in all kinds of ways. Calling upon us to stay aware of where we are and what we are doing as we travel along this pilgrimage.
On almost a daily basis the trail offers me opportunities to remember that I am always going through the process of personal growth and discovery. Just when I start to think I have moved through my emotional outbursts, or negative moods, I am presented with another opportunity to work through another layer of it. While I fight these lessons as they first come along some times, when I roll out the other end of it I am grateful for another opportunity to find another part of myself. Each experience makes me stronger and more aware as I take one step in front of the other along this life journey. Life offers us these lessons and experiences on a daily basis, but there is nothing quite like the intensity of a Long Distance hike to really accelerate our learning curve!
Follow along as I share highlights of the adventures that bring me such joy in life, and the wisdom they have imbued into my being.
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