I overuse the word challenging when writing about our CDT hike. So I’m hitting the thesaurus to describe our last five days of hiking.
The last five days of hiking in the Wind River Range have been 1. Beautiful, 2. Rewarding, and 3. Demanding, taxing, formidable, arduous, and effortful.
We are now in grizzly bear country, so we headed out armed with bear spray and a heavy five days of food packed in our Ursacks (bear bags). Our hike began with a gradual 1,000 foot climb back to the CDT red line and continued uphill for another five miles before we camped among the clouds and granite spires of the Wind River Range.
In talking about the more 3. Demanding, taxing, formidable, arduous, and effortful parts of our journey, I worry that I may sound like a bit of a whiner. No shame. I hereby declare that one can be appreciative and a whiner at the same time.
The first evening we encountered hail and rain (comment: raincoats and rain pants are a bit of a joke since we always end up wet through and through). Stopped early at the very top of our climb and set up our tent, scrambling to cook dinner between rain showers. Since we entered grizzly territory, all of our cooking is done far away from the tent, very different than previously when we’d cook and eat in our tent.
But one thing about rainy weather, you gain an immense appreciation for being dry and warm. That night we told one another several times how great it felt to be dressed in our woolies, snuggly in our down sleeping bags. Followed by the next morning, when we put our cold and wet clothes back on and packed our precious dry woolies safely in our packs.
If we had brought along a novice backpacker with us, I truly doubt they would have ever backpacked again after this particular experience. Hiking in hail, cooking and eating in the rain, and putting on cold, wet clothes the next morning. As seasoned hikers, we expect days/nights like these but know that they are followed by sunshine, dry weather, and all of the other rewards that come with using your muscles, heart, lungs, and positive thinking to move through this beautiful world. Good times/bad times.
We had originally planned on hiking through to Yellowstone but diverted to Dubois, WY, so I could visit Urgent Care to check on a suspected UTI. Pretty sure I had an infection but by the time we reached Dubois, it seemed to have run its course. $150 to receive the green light that I was indeed in tip-top shape.
We have collected all of our back country camping permits and are ready to be Yellowstone tourists! Fun times ahead.