Much of the time since our last post from Lake City (southern Colorado) has been spent trapsing in and around the Colorado snow. Although we avoided snow storms like the one we experienced in the San Juans, we have used our snow shoes nearly every day between Pagosa and Steamboat Springs - a distance of about 550 miles. As beautiful as Colorado was, we were a bit relieved to finally trade in the high alpine landscapes for the arid sage brush lands of Southern Wyoming.
The new state greeted us with sunny skies and a good dose of Wyoming hospitatlity:
The first person we met on the "trail" in Wyoming -- a rancher out tracking down his cows -- pulled up and offered us two beers from the well stocked cooler in his pickup bed. We were hot and thirsty, and the first few gulps of the ice cold Bud tasted like heaven. The last sips didn't go down as easy, but they did help us get a few more miles down the trail.
The Infanger family (friends of Jim's dad) have graciously offered to drive over from Jackson Hole to meet us in South Pass City (they must not know how bad we smell!).
This afternoon, we hike out of Rawlins and into the Great Basin -- an area where the continental divide splits to create an enclosed basin. The Great Basin is known for being both arid and very warm -- daytime temperatures will hover in the 90's. So it is back to siphoning water from stock ponds and the occasional spring - much like our first miles in Southern New Mexico. But the trail is flat and wide, and we expect to cover the 120 miles to South Pass City in around four days. From there, we will head back to the cooler alpine confines of the Wind River Range (and enter our first Grizzly country!).
We hope this finds everyone well, and we look forward to detailing our Wyoming adventures in our next post (someplace in southern Montana!).
The highlights of our past four weeks:
Friends joining our hike - Rachel Tobey, Leland Fuhrig and Scooter (Jesse's dog) jumped on for a very adventurous hike (river crossing, dog throwing, bridge building, bushwhacking, log jumping and GPSing) around Steamboat Springs.
More Trail Angels - Matt, Michael and Tracy Brend met us in Grand Lake; Leland and his house-mate Ryan stepped up with accomodation and a bar-b-que in Steamboat Springs; and Lisa continued her altruistic service by driving up from Albuquerque for two nights of deluxe car camping.
Some pristine weather and the early signs of a late Spring highlighted the beauty which had eluded us for much of Colorado.
Signs of Spring, like fields of wildflowers and an abundance of newborn elk, deer and moose.