After having hiked through severe blowdown for three hours the previous evening, I was not enjoying being on my hands and knees at 5:30am,* crawling through dirt, trying to pass under a large tree. Something on my pack keeps getting caught, holding me back. I keep going lower, until I’m almost on my belly. I lose it.
FRACK it! FRACK IT!! I’ve had enough of this stuff!!” (Actual words substituted to protect the more sensitive reader).
When I say severe blowdown, imagine someone ripping out a forest of trees by the roots and throwing them like Pick Up Sticks on the ground. Trees stacked three or more high, one on top of another. Your job is to either go over, around, or under.
The prior evening, we had both found the blowdown an interesting and fun challenge. Something like a jungle gym adventure. But after moving only 1.8 miles in three hours, I was done with it. Yet the only direction is forward. So after apologizing to the very patient John, we continued through another mile of this stuff.
And on the other side of the blowdown, we entered The Wind River Mountain Range, which includes a CDT alternate route known as the Cirque of the Towers. We had heard it was challenging and beautiful. After experiencing it, we wonder why we had never heard of this stunning mountain range before. We hiked through valleys surrounded by granite spires, with lakes and creeks running through the middle. We climbed four passes in two days, with 3,000 to 4,000 feet of elevation gain a day, spending a good deal of time above tree line. I experienced a touch of vertigo for the first time due to the heights.
When we made it to Pinedale for a nearo and zero rest day, we were exhausted. But also proud of ourselves (physically and mentally) and grateful for having each other, good health, and this amazing opportunity to thruhike the CDT. We’re healing through the powers of good coffee, town food, a bed, and a bathtub.
Tomorrow we head to Yellowstone! 185 miles of hiking with only one brief stop to pick up a resupply box.
To quote Bubbles, “I’m hardcore now!!!”
*A new thing we started that morning, drinking coffee and eating breakfast after we’ve hiked away from camp. No coffee=very grumpy Beth.