Thursday, August 22, 2013

Day 66 - Desert walking

Today, we began our long trek through the Great Divide Basin. This is a notorious section of the CDT known for tedious, repetitive scenery and extreme dryness. In other words, we have to cross a 130mi section in the desert during August. Yipes.

To make this section bearable, we made two major changes to our gear. First, we went as light as possible, since we'll be humping as much water as we can carry across dry sections as long as 32mi. Second, since it will be hot like the dickens, we dropped our stoves. Finally, we got radios for entertainment.

To lighten our loads, we bounced our winter gear to Colorado. With expected daytime temperatures in the 80s and 90s, we decided to send our stove ahead as well. In AC, we found a partly empty plastic peanut butter jar. We've decided to rehydrate our food during the day, and had a very successful dry run (no pun intended) cooking our curried couscous dinner. We love it so much, we're going to get savory and sweet jars, so we can make dinners and desserts / breakfasts. Gangles, like a true Minnesotan, is especially exciting about being able to bring pudding parfaits with us.

And radio! Sweet radio. I have been without music this entire trip, and have missed it dearly. Every time I've heard music, I've teared up a little bit. And even songs I never liked sound wonderful. So, today, I turned on my FM radios and had a wonderful day of being in touch with the world. I heard the world news, local WY news, and the minutes from the local Pinedale town council meeting. Plus a mix of pop, classic rock and country. I'm still trying to figure out the song of the summer. My friends back home tell me it is 'Blurred Lines', but I haven't heard it yet. The radio is an absolute game changer.

Some time this afternoon, we ran into two trucks full of Central WY College students on an archaeological dig. I studied anthropology (Cultural not Physical) in college, so it was fun to chat with such fascinating people. One of the women in the back of the truck mentioned something about an antelope which I didn't totally catch.

It turns out she was trying to warn me; near Upper Mormon spring was a fresh antelope carcass. The water was no good anyway, shallow fetid pools. The carcass was just another reason to stay away.

So the water today was Sweetwater River, then 15mi dry. We then had Weasel Springs, nicely protected in a metal cistern. Between Weasel and Brenton (or Benton, I've seen both spellings), we have 32mi dry. We dipped water at the deep cistern at Weasel with a bottle on a rope and dry camped. We'll have to go at least 27mi to get to Brenton tomorrow.

Fingers crossed that the weather will be as wonderful as it was today: overcast with occasional drizzle. The desert heat was tamed by the rain, and we were comfortable most of today. I feel quite fortunate for the good weather. Hope tomorrow is as good.

Gotta go, Gangles is making high quality shadow puppets in the tent.

p.s., We were on the Oregon Trail today! I shot 937lb of meat, but was only able to carry back 15lb.

Mileage: 30mi from AC to somewhere past Weasel Spring

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