July 17th
Barren Lake(1634.4)-2mi After Inter w/Timpico Lake Trail (1663.1)
Campsite Elevation: 10,842ft
I think the perfect word to describe today would be SPLENDID. It was just what the three of us needed. All of us are wanting to do big miles through Wyoming and we are happy to be able to team up because we knew it would be tiring. Since we all left Steamboat Springs two weeks ago we’ve been doing consistently high mileage that is either upper 20s or low 30s. Our bodies are doing great, but we are definitely looking forward to our planned zero in Dubois in about 4 more days. By the time we get there, the three of us will have gone 453mi over 17days…that averages out to 26.7mi/day. Since we’re in the home stretch and there is some challenging hiking ahead, we let ourselves rest a bit more this morning and got started just before 7am. We were very happy to find that the majority of the day today was fairly level and felt like a stroll rather than the steep ups and downs we had yesterday. We didn’t have the epic views if yesterday, but it was beautiful in a different way. More peaceful and, well, just splendid.

Again, I took a ton of pictures and it was difficult to just choose a few for the post. The rest will be in my slideshow I’m posting once I get to town.

I wasn’t groggy today, but just felt like the time was going by slowly. I thought it was just me until Bloodbath and Rampage mentioned feeling the same way. The morning was just dragging even though we were fully enjoying the hiking. In the late morning, we still hadn’t broken out of our funk, so I started to listen to a new audiobook called The Perks Of Being a Wallflower. I saw the movie and really wanted to listen to the book. I knew Rampage would love it, so I suggested be play it aloud and so the three of us could all listen together. Bloodbath and Rampage have a great little speaker that clips to your pack and we had used it on the road walking in the Great Divide Basin for music. I think I’m going to get it to have for Montana and the grizzlies if I’m hiking solo and need noise. That is their plan with it too. Anyway, we hooked it to my pack and I hiked in between the two of them and we were all able to listen to the book together. It is excellent and so is the movie! The book was only about 7hrs long, so we were able to listen to the whole book today. It was PERFECT! Just what we needed and the terrain was just right for it too.

The mosquitoes have definitely increased, but they aren’t super aggressive. I am still holding out and have yet to use deet this whole trail. We got lucky that our morning and lunch breaks were pretty much mosquito free. We even ate lunch at the picturesque Pipestone Lake and it was awesome! Very splendid.

We also had quite a few wide and shallow stream crossings. Our feet were wet most of the day, but it felt good. Temps were also just right with clouds to help keep it from getting too hot. Not hot enough to swim in any of the countless lakes we hiked by.

We finished the book around 5:45pm and that was perfect as we were climbing our one high pass for the day, which was Hat Pass at 10,800ft. After we got over the pass, I realized I had excellent service for the first time this leg. I told Bloodbath and Rampage that I’d meet them wherever they camped so they wouldn’t have to wait for me. I stayed there for 30mins, got my blogs loaded, and checked my email. Yay! I got to camp at 7:45pm, just as the thunder started. The thunder was more of a rumble further off and didn’t seem to be too bad, so we camped a bit more exposed thinking it would go for an hour or so like last night and move on. That has been the pattern all trip…well, apparently not tonight. It is now almost 10:45pm and the rain has been consistent for over 2hrs. The thunder and lightning is more subtle now, but now there are wind gusts from all directions that are annoying and making the light rain seem heavier than it is. Fortunately, I pitched my tent very low to the ground, so the mesh is less exposed, and I have a beak so I’m protected from any sideways rain. Bloodbath and Rampage have the double version of my tent and don’t have a beak, so I hope they are finding a way to block where the wind is blowing rain in. I have my sit pad and backpack placed perfectly in my tent to block where the wind is gusting. I am dry and warm and very happy with this tent. For all the complaining I’ve done with the setup woes and draftiness of my ZPacks Hexamid Solo Plus, it is stellar in all this rain I’ve been getting almost nightly since the end of Colorado. A gold star for protection! I just can’t sleep with the pitter patter and wind, but it seems to be dying down…or maybe not. Here is our campsite. Looks pretty awesome up here! Okay, now time to find the earplugs. Good night.

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