US 287/Rawlins(1468.7)-1/2mi down County Rd 63 from Mineral X Rd
Campsite Elevation: 6,545ft
Today, the plan was to hike out relaxingly after 11am checkout from the motel. The group leaving from Rawlins was me, Bloodbath, Rampage, Estero, Mark, and Puck. It was really nice to try to sleep in and I think we made it til 7:15am before we all stopped pretending to sleep in and went to take advantage of our continental breakfast…some of us multiple times. Thankfully, my digestive issue from drinking the alkaline/saline water the other day was short lived. I wasn’t the only one as Rampage and Mark also had reactions from to that water. Before we left the motel, I got a surprise text from a family in Illinios that I babysat for in college. They were doing their annual drive cross country and were trying to surprise me on trail, but with all the twists and turns of the road walking, they decided to just call and tell me so we could keep tabs on one another and intersect today so they could bring us trail magic, YAY!
This four night leg is known as the Great Divide Basin and is quite a sight on a map. Rather than a high ridge, there is a basin that dips down and looks kinda like a big bowl and is basically a desert. We have been warned that it will be hot, dry, exposed, and tick infested. The excitement of having someone bring us trail magic at the end of the day was very motivating! We ended up heading out without Puck who decided to do a shorter day because he is meeting someone up trail and is ahead of schedule. Mark left ahead of us knowing we’d catch up to him and we did. There was a combination of paved highway walking, dirt road walking, and a bit of cross country.
I am usually a stickler for staying on “trail,” but today was ridiculous. There were a few stretches that went cross country with no trail through sage brush and they paralleled dirt roads or the highway by sometimes a couple hundred yards. It was hot and in the 90s most of the afternoon, so I had no argument when everyone chose to stay out of the brush and on the dirt or paved road right next to it. I had reception and kept in touch with the family I knew to make sure we’d intersect.
Twelve miles in, we hit a spring that we knew was our last source for 16mi. That meant that with full packs, we needed to get water to hike in a desert for 16mi AND for dinner tonight. Well, since the family I knew was meeting us in 4 more miles, they offered to bring us each a gallon of water to take what we needed. No filtering, good tasting water, and we had less distance to carry it, perfect! We still pulled a liter from the source as it was cold and we had all been tolerating hot water all afternoon. Here is what it looked like as Estero reached down the deep kind of well to get the water.
We walked on and our timing was absolutely perfect! Karen, Tim, and Alex met us at an intersection and fulfilled ALL of our special requests as if it were a mirage of our most craved refreshing wishes. Iced tea for Rampage, Bloodbath, and Estero, Gatorade for Mark, and raspberry lemonade and chocolate milk for me….with big cups of ice to put them in! It was heavenly!
They also brought fruit and cookies. So great. They are like family and I hadn’t seen them in 3yrs. Believe it or not, I started babysitting Tim when he was less than 1yr old! I just love that it worked out! They even hiked down the road a bit with us to experience the CDT. So great to have them be part of this adventure! THANK YOU SO MUCH Karen, Alex, and Tim!
We hiked on til about 8pm and are in a slightly exposed area.
It’s kinda impossible to find a protected spot from the wind, so we are hoping for a calm night. It was and now at 10pm, the wind has picked up with gusts that are just enough to cause our tents to flap and keep me awake. It is still hot though and I am in top of my sleeping bag in just my sports bra and shorts. Hopefully, it will pass. The sunset was great though!