We got an early morning to try beat the heat today and faced many ups and downs, but nothing in comparison to Colorado! I think it’s the lower elevation that’s making these hills seem so easy.
Later in the day we came across a crazy amount of blow downs, and mudslide and I ended up losing trail numerous times and just forcing our way through the forest underbrush.
With a sigh of relief we moved into open plains and out of the forest. Burning caves and selected the possible camp site for the night so we were aiming for about 22 miles to a river.
On the way we met a bit, cycling the divide trail who gave us an apple, carrots and a red pepper. He was getting into town that day and didn’t need the stuff. Fresh food! We’re having roasted pepper for dinner tonight!
Mudslide and I got the 22 miles by 5 so we decided to hike on a little bit and go up a hill to camp with a view. As we were about to head off burning calves came down the hill towards us, she wanted to take the road walk into town which was shorter but on a road. We wanted to stay on trail so we decided to split up and meet in Rawlins again.
We got a very late start out of lazy acres, it was just too nice to leave!
We had breakfast at the café, the only place open in encampment at that time in the morning and they graciously made me a fried egg sandwich as they had no vegetarian options on their menu at all.
When we got back we started slowly packing which was hindered a bit when lumber gave us a few beers he hadn’t finished. Packing was a very leisurely affair.
As we were about to go for lunch, cat water showed up and so we all went for burgers and beer at the restaurant across the road. They even had a veggie burger!
After lunch we finally headed out and burning calves got a ride really quickly so mudslide and I ducked into the store to buy a small chocolate pie and candles for her birthday. We also got her some oreos. Not the fanciest of birthday presents but supplies in encampment are limited!
We set ourselves the goal of climbing bridge peak to camp for the night and celebrated burning calves’ birthday with cake, candles, German happy birthday music and this view.
Today we had 20 miles to walk to get us into encampment. We were aiming to get in by 4 so we could find happy hour, wherever that was! We walked through a lot of beautiful marsh land that was lush and green in order to get to the road. Hiking at the same time as us were 3 other through hikers who were also going into town! Such a group of us in the same area at the same time!
We managed to get to the road almost exactly as planned, 20 miles before 4pm! We decided we’d hitch separately, mudslide and I hitching together and burning calves on her own, this way cars were far more likely to stop for us. In the end though, mudslide and I got offered a ride by a hiker who was heading back into town. She’d also picked up another through hiker, James so the 4 of us pulled up next to burning calves, hitching on the road and headed into town for some pizza.
The pizza place we went to was new and was still ironing out a few problems, we ended up waiting over an hour for our pizza to come out! When it did though, it was really good and worth the wait! The poor guy who was out waiter was on his 4th day of work and write overwhelmed by the whole situation!
After the pizza we got a ride to the lazy acres campsite, which is really hiker friendly and just has the nicest vibe. We were able to get a few beers and hang out with all the other hikers that came in that day.
It absolutely poured with rain last night! When we woke up all our stuff was wet or at least damp. The weather had only barely improved that morning, it wasn’t raining any more, but there was no sunshine yet.
We dozed a little longer and only got a late start out of camp because it’s just so hard getting out of a warm sleeping bag to face loads of wet gear! In the end we only left camp around 8am and after hiking 2.5 miles we stopped to get water! Hiking today was not going fast! Mudslide and I stopped by a bridge and were able to hang our stuff out to dry. We also got to watch a rancher rounding up the sheep with his 2 sheep dogs. It’s incredible how well trained those dogs are! There was also a lab hanging out, though he seemed to be along for the ride and didn’t help much, besides pretending to be a sheep himself.
So in the end it was about 11 when we seriously started hiking. 2 hours later we stopped for lunch. At least it was at the top of a climb so we deserved the break! We booked it the last 11 miles into camp that afternoon and tonight we spend our last night in Colorado because, after 93 days, I’ve crossed 2 entire states and I’ll be hiking in Wyoming! Phase 3!
Today started with a long but gentle uphill all morning, we had 10 miles of it but it really want that bad. Met up with fat Albert, lumber, dumpling, wolfman and moose the dog on the trail, it’s quite the group we were in!
AJ suggested we do a J ley alternate (these are maps made by Jonathon Ley and he has a lot of alternate options for the trail, sometimes because there shorter, sometimes they’re more beautiful). This one was shorter and prettier. We left burning calves a trail note about the change of plan so she’d also do the alternate.
Finally we reached the top and then got the alternate trail, following a river. Mudslide and I stopped at 3 island lake for a swim and some lunch. Burning calves caught up to us and we walked in the rain to our campsite. It was miserable walking in the rain, it just wouldn’t let up and everything got completely soaked. To top it all off we really couldn’t find a good place to camp and just settled on a sloped spot under a tree.
Today we had a beautiful day of hiking. The terrain wasn’t too strenuous and was incredibly beautiful. We woke up at the campsite next to the lake and enjoyed a relaxing morning drinking coffee and watching the day begin. After a very chilled out breakfast we got the trail again and very gently climbed from 8800ft to 10500ft. It was the best climbing I’ve ever done, both mudslide and I were surprised when we realised how high we’d gone.
We decided to do 18 miles so we stopped every 6 for a break, the first being at this pristine lake.
We ran into some kids on a summer camp in the mountains and had a lovely chat with them before moving on. Just veggie we got our campsite we had a little hill to climb which we walked up briskly as we could see the storm approaching behind us. Burning calves was still behind us and we hoped she wasn’t going to get caught in it.
Just as we set out back packs down under some trees best a lake the storm hit and down came burning calves, running along the trail to get to the shelter. The storm only lasted a few minutes before passing over us and we ended the evening with a beautiful blue sky. We were also joined by dumpling and wolfman with their dog moose.
This morning was amazing, we managed to sleep in and then made scrambled eggs for breakfast with all the trappings. Burning calves has a migraine so she’s trying to relax and get rid of it.
Today was a day of running errands in town and riding the free town bus around up and down resupplying. We ended up going from one end of town to the other to try get everything done. It was a fun morning though and mudslide has his first falafel! I was feeling stuck from the heat and probably a bit of dehydration so we stopped at a place called phenomenal falafel to rehydrate and eat. I can definitely recommend that little place. Their falafel was phenomenal!
Tom, the guy who let us stay in his back cabin, offered to drive us back to the trail. We headed out to the campsite on trail and mudslide and burning calves walked the road to the campsite (which I decided to skip, it was about 4 miles of road walking on a highway…). I kept their stuff with me at the campsite and got everything ready for us to have a braai for dinner.
We had 13 miles to hike today to get into town. 9 of those miles were on the road. 9 grueling painful asphalt miles. Mudslide and I walked together trying to keep ourselves entertained over those miles while burning calves was in her element and cruised ahead of us! She’s amazing on the road walks! We’re not so much!
To make matters worse the road had mile markers along it, seemingly laughing at us as the miles slowly crept past. Eventually every painful mile was over and we were able to hitch into town! We got picked up by two women on a girls day out who dropped us off at beau jos pizza where they have a buffet from 11-2! Wonderful!
We met up with burning calves at the restaurant and she told us that she’d been offered a place to stay by the people who picked her up! Such amazing luck! They have a small apartment in their back garden with 1.5 bedrooms, a small kitchen and bathroom! Absolute luxury! I think I dropped my pack and walked straight into the shower! Even though it was only 4 days I felt so grubby and dirty. Clean body, clean clothes and I’m a new person. Off to happy hour to see Cat Water who’s also just arrived in town.
Last night we had a beautiful campsite with views in all directions. It makes it easier to get up when you’re able to see the early morning sun rise over the mountains. We wanted to get up early so that we’d get the climb over with in the morning. We had to climb sheep mountain and this was one of the first times we didn’t summit it but just walked around it. It made the climb much easier but was also a little disappointing not to summit.
On this last section we ended up stressing about water a bit more than usual. There were big gaps between water sources and not all of them had been reported so sometimes it was tough and go if the was going to be water. Mudslide and I ended up walking past water because we were having a riveting conversation about something and just passed by the water! Luckily some really nice ATV drivers offered us the rest of their water and that was enough to tide us over until the next water source.
We had a late lunch that day, doing around 2pm and mudslide and I played cards until burning calves joined us. This is the last uphill until we get to steamboat so burning calves should be doing better from now on.
After our super relaxed 2 hour lunch we had a dirt road walk to our camping spot, we were able to go a lot faster and burning calves felt a lot better. On the road walk I noticed some horses in a field in the distance and when I pointed them out, both mudslide and burning calves gave me a strange look and were like, those are moose! Oops! In my defense they were quite far away!
That evening we were able to do quite a few miles but decided to stop when we hit the national forest boundary because we’re allowed to camp anywhere in national forest land. After that it was private so it’s a bit risky camping on private land!